“holy and without blame”
Holy. Without blame. Pretty high standards, right? Those are words often used to describe Christ, so it’s a little daunting to realize that in this verse, they are speaking of us.
The first part of this verse is so beautiful and encouraging. Paul tells us that God “chose us in Him before the foundation of the world.” Isn’t it wonderful to imagine God, the Creator of the universe, knowing us, loving us, choosing us, long before He created the world ~ which is, of course, way way before He created us. He chose my personality, He chose your character traits, He chose our calling and our service to Him. Psalm 139:16 says, “Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.” The knowledge of God’s thoughts for me ~ His love for me ~ both elates me and comforts me.
But the verse continues. He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, “that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.”
Whoa! Back up the truck of good intentions there, Paul! That’s asking a lot. I can handle being chosen to be a wife and the mother of my amazing kids. I can even handle being chosen for a particular trial or challenge, but holy and without blame?? The only time I can accomplish that is when I’m asleep!
But… well…. I guess also maybe when I’m taking communion at church. I probably come pretty close then, too. I am clean at least for a few moments, having confessed in my heart. My thoughts are in remembrance of Him, focused on His death, His resurrection, and my salvation.
And maybe I can count some of the nice things I do for my family, too. Not the times when I’m quietly whining about having to do their laundry of course… but the times I take true joy in serving them. When I stop thinking about how “righteous” I am, and I’m only thinking of the look of joy on their faces, or how much they’re going to love something I’m doing for them. Jesus said, “Whatsoever you do for the least of My brothers, you do for Me.” So that might count as holy and blameless, mightn’t it?
And I suppose, too, when I’m praying. My thoughts are about His praise and glory, thanking Him and honoring Him. And then my thoughts are about my friends and family. I pray for their needs, or their salvation or their growth, and I take a brief break from selfish thoughts for a few minutes. So maybe, briefly, I am holy and blameless before Him then.
Just as He chose my height and hair color, so He chose my purpose and my goal: love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength, and love my neighbor as I love myself. And in so doing, I do indeed stand before Him holy and without blame, in love ~ which is to say, in God.
~ “to the praise of the glory of His grace” ~
Answers to Thursday’s quiz:
1. a – the temple (Mark 11)
2. c – Capernaum (Mark 2)
3. b – Nazareth (Matthew 13)
4. c – in a pig pen (Luke 15)
5. a – at a well (John 4)
6. d – the River Jordan (John 1)
7. d – Bethesda (John 5)
8. c – Jericho (Mark 10)
9. b – Cana (John 2)
10. b – the Sea of Galilee (Mark 4)