30 July 2014

Flawed Saints

Contrary to the image we often try to portray to others, Christians are messy. We may directly or indirectly communicate that we have life all together, but none of us do. It seems to me that we are all flawed saints. 

What do I mean when by "flawed saints?"  I mean that we are people saved by grace. We bring nothing to the table. God saves us in the midst of our mess, not apart from it.  On the sanctification road, we remain flawed.  We are selfish, critical, irritable, lustful, angry, boastful, and proud. Even when our flaws are not evident to us, they are to others. I believe that our flaws are most evident in how we relate to others.  Others may feel rejected by us, hurt by us, or criticized by us, even if that is not our intent. 

But we are also saints. In 2 Corinthians 5:17, Paul says that we are a "new creation." We are no longer merely flawed.  We are saints. Paul repeatedly refers to those in the church as saints, which means we are the set apart ones, set apart for God.  Not only were Peter and Paul saints of the church, if you claim the name of Jesus, you too are a saint.

And so we live in this tension, having been set apart by God, but also demonstrating our flaws to ourselves and others. Martin Luther referred to this as "simul iustus et peccator"--we are at the same time justified and sinners.  In other words, flawed saints.

My vision is that we would learn to live in that reality. That we would recognize that we are new creations in Christ and that other Christians are as well, but that we would also recognize, that we will continue to stumble this side of heaven. I hope that means we will give more grace to ourselves when we fail and to others when they fail us. 

No comments: