Word choice always matters. In some interpretations of scripture the word "perfect" is used in places where the word "blameless" is the perfect fit. Sorry, I could not resist the word play. Now for those who permit the Holy Spirit to lead their scripture studies, such subtle differences in word choices are of no consequence. They will apply a proper bible balance to their studies.
Yet there is a difference between the word "perfect" and the word "blameless".
The New Merriam-Webster Dictionary (.1) describes the word "perfect" to mean: 1) Being without fault or defect; 2) Exact, precise; and 3) Complete.
WordNet Search (.2) delivers the following definition for the word "blameless": S: (adj) blameless, inculpable, irreproachable, unimpeachable (free of guilt; not subject to blame) "has lived a blameless life"; "of irreproachable character"; "an unimpeachable reputation"
Note that to be perfect is to be without fault while to be blameless is to be free of guilt, or not subject to blame.
By missing this subtle difference between words, many bible teachers have condemned some Christians to a life of frustration and guilt. I write regarding a doctrine that teaches that born again Christians, while yet captured in these fleshly bodies, can live an absolutely sinless life.
Now keep your guns in the holster until you finish reading this article, least you miss the simple truth. I do not promote a freedom to sin. I promote a Christian life that is based upon submission to Christ and a full faith in his finished work on the cross.
Jesus is perfect. We are blameless. He is the only man who ever lived a perfect life. Our perfection comes only through his perfection. "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us," (1-John 1: 8).
The doctrine that teaches that born again Christians, while yet captured in these fleshly bodies, can live an absolutely sinless life always ends up with a statement to this effect: but we never do.
This is foolish talk. Insanity is the continuing effort to accomplish, in the exact same manner, something that continually fails. Wisdom grows, adapts, and learns wherein lies the error of the approach. “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth,” (Romans 8:33).
Because the scriptures apply the word "perfect" to the name of Noah, some bible teachers seek to proclaim that Noah was sinless. In so doing this, they deny the evidence of Genesis 9:21 which speaks of Noah's drunkenness. Drinking to excess is, of course, in clear conflict with Ephesians 5:18.
Now I known that this argument does not take into account that Noah lived in a time when there was no law. That is indeed the exact reason that the "blamelessness" of Noah cannot be taken into a context of legalism. If grace through faith is understood as the reason for Noah's blameless state, one can easily realize that it is not the law that determines his standing before the Almighty, but rather it is the mercy of God.
I write these words because we live in a sick nation. The name of the sickness is rebellion. We resist and defy all that God has given us through Christ Jesus. We seek always to make our own way. We do not need a pounding from bitter, legalist Christians. We need those who will walk a path of truth that is pure, honest, and filled with desire to help the loss souls, the hurting families, and the many Christians that are made dysfunctional by the condemnation of self-righteous heavy talkers.
Learn to walk in the freedom of God's mercy and grace. Then you will be able to help others, to lead someone else to Christ, to be a blessing and a light in a nation that has rejected the true God and lost its way.
"Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? " (Micah 6: 6-8).
Next time, we will look at Abraham who is also mistakenly counted as sinless because of the misuse of the word "perfect".
.1 The New Merriam-Webster Dictionary, © 1989, paperback version, page 541.
By RM Harrington
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