Saturday, February 13, 2016

Called to be Blameless

I’d like to discuss the call to blamelessness that is on the life of every disciple. This is not just for the elite or the professionals that are in ministry, but for all who follow Jesus.

The Lord Requires Us to Be Perfect
First of all, before I begin with the Scripture passages about being blameless, I’d like to mention that Jesus said, "Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Mat 5:48). Since we are to be perfect like the Lord our God is perfect, we know that this is not merely figurative perfection or anything less than actual perfection. It affects every aspect of our lives, not just the inward unseen parts. It does not mean that we cannot make mistakes, such as failing to remember something correctly. It is not speaking of intellectual or physical perfection, but about moral perfection.

What Jesus commanded here closely approximates similar verses found in the Law. For example:

“I am the LORD your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy.” (Lev 20:26, NIV; c.f., 11:44).

The apostle Peter quoted this when he wrote, “But like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, "You shall be holy, for I am holy." (1Pe 1:15-16). Just as Jesus taught us to be perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect, Peter taught us to be holy like the Holy One who called us. This removes all speculation that it could be a lesser kind of holiness. And once again, it applies to every aspect of our lives, since we must be holy in all our behavior.

The Lord Requires Us to Be Blameless
Having examined the requirements to be perfect and holy, let’s now look at what the Scripture says similarly about being blameless. The Scripture says, "You shall be blameless before the LORD your God.” (Deu 18:13).

The word blameless is from the Hebrew word “tamıym” meaning “entire (literally, figuratively or morally); also (as noun) integrity, truth: - without blemish, complete, full, perfect, sincerely (-ity), sound, without spot, undefiled, upright (-ly), whole.” This word was used to describe the kind of sacrifices God required, which had to be without defect.

God commanded Abram to be blameless. “Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, ‘I am God Almighty; Walk before Me, and be blameless.’” (Gen 17:1). In the KJV it says, "Be thou perfect."

Blamelessness a Condition for Eternal Life
While we are saved by grace through faith in Christ, once we repent and follow Jesus, we are required to live a blameless life, if we would inherit eternal life. The Scripture says:

Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain? The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart; whose tongue utters no slander, who does no wrong to a neighbor, and casts no slur on others; who despises a vile person but honors those who fear the Lord; who keeps an oath even when it hurts, and does not change their mind; who lends money to the poor without interest; who does not accept a bribe against the innocent. Whoever does these things will never be shaken.” (Ps 15. NIV).

Similarly the Holy Spirit also said, “Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? And who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood And has not sworn deceitfully. He shall receive a blessing from the LORD And righteousness from the God of his salvation.” (Psa 24:3-5)

“The LORD knows the days of the blameless, And their inheritance will be forever.” (Psa 37:18)

“Mark the blameless man, and behold the upright; For the man of peace will have a posterity.” (Psa 37:37)

“My eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me; He who walks in a blameless way is the one who will minister to me.” (Psa 101:6)

We Were Chosen to Be Blameless Before Him
Not only does the Lord command us to be blameless and require it as a condition for inheriting eternal life, this is the reason He chose us. Paul said, “Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.” (Eph 1:4a)

The Greek word that is translated as “blameless” in the New Testament is “anegkletos” meaning “unaccused, that is, (by implication) irreproachable: - blameless.”

Paul also wrote about the work of Christ in our lives, “That He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.” (Eph 5:27)

He Reconciled Us in Order to Present Us Blameless
Just as He chose us to be blameless, so has He also reconciled us in order to present us holy, blameless, and irreproachable before Him. “Yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach-- (Col 1:22)

Noah, David, and Job Were Blameless
Three examples of blameless men in the Bible are Noah, David, and Job.

“These are the records of the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God.” (Gen 6:9)

David said, "I was also blameless toward Him, And I kept myself from my iniquity.” (2Sa 22:24; cf. Psa 18:23)

“There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job; and that man was blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil.” (Job 1:1)

The LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil."
(Job 1:8)

The LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man fearing God and turning away from evil. And he still holds fast his integrity, although you incited Me against him to ruin him without cause." (Job 2:3)

The 144,000 Pure Virgins are Blameless
A good example of those who are blameless are the 144,000 who had been purchased from the earth. “And they *sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders; and no one could learn the song except the one hundred and forty-four thousand who had been purchased from the earth. These are the ones who have not been defiled with women, for they have kept themselves chaste. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These have been purchased from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb. And no lie was found in their mouth; they are blameless.” (Rev 14:3-5)

How to Be Blameless
Since we know it is required of us to blameless, it behooves us to know how to be blameless.

First of all, it is God who makes us blameless. “The God who girds me with strength And makes my way blameless?” (Psa 18:32). Without God making your way blameless or perfect, you don’t even have a chance.

Paul said, “He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (1Co 1:8-9)

Therefore, you must pray and ask the Lord to keep you from presumptuous sins and not allow them to rule over you, so that you will be blameless. David prayed, “Also keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins; Let them not rule over me; Then I will be blameless, And I shall be acquitted of great transgression.” (Psa 19:13)

Pray for a blameless heart in God’s statutes, so that you will not be ashamed. “May my heart be blameless in Your statutes, So that I will not be ashamed.” (Psa 119:80)

This is why Paul prayed for the Philippians that their love would abound more and more, so that they would be blameless until the end. He wrote, “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ;” (Php 1:9-10). Since the whole law and prophets hang on the two commandments to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself, then it's no wonder that being blameless is dependent on having an every-increasing love. Following Paul's example, you can pray this way for yourself and others, just as he did for the Philippians, in order to be blameless.

Although it is the work of God in you, the fact is that you must still do your part, as Paul did his best to always maintain a blameless conscience. He said, "In view of this, I also do my best to maintain always a blameless conscience both before God and before men.” (Act 24:16)

You must make every effort to be found blameless when Jesus returns. “So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. (2Pe 3:14, NIV)

If you want to prove yourselves to be blameless, you must do all things without complaining or arguing. “Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.” (Php 2:14-16).

Just remember that you cannot do this is your own strength, but only by the power of the Holy Spirit. “‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.” (Zech 4:6, NIV). That's why you need to be Baptized with the Spirit, as well as the powerful Holy Fire Baptism.

If we try to be blameless in our own strength, we would fail terribly and be a bunch of miserable Pharisees. The apostle Paul was a Pharisee before he came to Christ, and according to legalistic righteousness, he was blameless (Phil 3:6). But he was persecuting the Church, going from house to house to try and get people to deny Christ, and putting people into prison. Whenever the Christians were put to death, Paul was casting his vote against them. He was not blameless in heart, but only from a legalistic point of view. He was kicking against the goads until Jesus arrested him and changed his life forever. Then he became blameless and joined the ranks of those who are persecuted for Christ.

Choose the Blameless Way
You need to make a deliberate choice to conduct yourself blamelessly. As David said, “I will be careful to lead a blameless life — when will you come to me? I will conduct the affairs of my house with a blameless heart." (Psa 101:2, NIV).

That means you will need to exercise care to avoid certain things. David refused to set before his eyes any vile thing. He said, "I will set before my eyes no vile thing " (Ps 101:3a, NIV). There are many vile things to be found on the internet, in magazines, advertisements, television, and commercials, just to name a few. So if you would lead a blameless life, you must and determine beforehand not to set such vile things before your eyes.

God is Blameless
The reason we must be blameless is that God Himself is blameless, and we are to be godly. He is blameless in all His ways, including His judgments. David said, “Against You, You only, I have sinned And done what is evil in Your sight, So that You are justified when You speak And blameless when You judge.” (Psa 51:4)

Don’t ever blame God for anything. He does no wrong and is never at fault. “As for God, His way is blameless; The word of the LORD is tried; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.” (Psa 18:30; cf., 2Sa 22:31).

Some people choose to blame God for something tragic that happened in their life, and they go around being angry with God for years. This holds them back from experiencing His presence in their lives. And if they die in that state, they will perish.

Some people say things like, “If there is a God, then why is there so much evil in the world?” In saying this, they show they their own heart is evil and that they do not know God, because if they knew Him, they would realize that He is blameless.

“With the kind You show Yourself kind; With the blameless You show Yourself blameless;” (Psa 18:25)

The Blameless Are Hated and Persecuted
The blameless have always been hated and persecuted since the beginning. Abel was the first such person. Although he was righteous, his brother Cain murdered him.

This is what the evil one and his agents do. “To shoot from concealment at the blameless; Suddenly they shoot at him, and do not fear.” (Psa 64:4).

Job said, "I am a joke to my friends, The one who called on God and He answered him; The just and blameless man is a joke.” (Job 12:4)

“Men of bloodshed hate the blameless, But the upright are concerned for his life.” (Pro 29:10). This is how it will continue to be for the blameless until the Lord returns.

The Lord Delights in the Blameless
While the wicked hate the blameless, the Lord delights in them. “The perverse in heart are an abomination to the LORD, But the blameless in their walk are His delight.” (Pro 11:20). It doesn’t matter what the wicked think. What matters is that the Lord is pleased with their lives.

The Way of the Blameless is Guarded
“Righteousness guards the one whose way is blameless, But wickedness subverts the sinner.” (Pro 13:6)

He Sets the Blameless in His Way
David said, "God is my strong fortress; And He sets the blameless in His way.” (2Sa 22:33). Therefore, if you desire to be blameless, you should always rely on God, our strong fortress, to set you in His way.

The Blameless Are Blessed
There are many blessings reserved for those who are blameless. “How blessed are those whose way is blameless, Who walk in the law of the LORD.” (Psa 119:1)

The blameless will inherit good. “He who leads the upright astray in an evil way Will himself fall into his own pit, But the blameless will inherit good.” (Pro 28:10)

The blameless will remain in the land. “For the upright will live in the land And the blameless will remain in it;” (Pro 2:21)

“The righteousness of the blameless will smooth his way, But the wicked will fall by his own wickedness.” (Pro 11:5)

The Lord will not withhold any good thing from the blameless. “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.” (Psa 84:11).

What Blamelessness is Not
I have already mentioned that being perfect and blameless does not mean we never make mistakes. It also doesn’t mean that we are without sin.

Let me show you something in the twentieth proverb. Solomon said, “The righteous lead blameless lives; blessed are their children after them.” (Prov 20:7, NIV). So he commends the blameless. But then he said, “Who can say, “I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin”?” So he acknowledged that nobody can say they are without sin.

The apostle John said, “If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.” (1 Jn 1:10, NIV).

The cross has given us power over sin and the goal is not to sin.  But there is a remedy if you do. “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.” (1 Jn 2:1, NIV)

We must confess our sin and repent of it, so that we might receive forgiveness. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 Jn 1:9, NIV).

Putting it All Together
In the Scriptures, we find that the Lord requires us to be perfect and blameless. Blamelessness is a condition for eternal life. We were chosen to be blameless before Him. He reconciled us in order to present us blameless. This is what we were made for, and it's what we are called to.

We have a great cloud of witnesses who were and still are blameless. Among them are Noah, David, and Job. The 144,000 pure virgins purchased from the earth are blameless.

And the Scriptures teach us how to be blameless. The Lord is the One who does it in us, but we must pray for Him to do it and we must submit to the process, allowing Him to do it. We must do our best and make every effort to be found blameless when Jesus comes.  Choose the blameless way. Just remember that you cannot do this is your own strength, but only by the power of the Holy Spirit.

God is blameless. And although the blameless are hated and persecuted, the Lord delights in the blameless. He sets the blameless in his way. The way of the blameless is guarded by righteousness. The blameless are blessed.

And don’t forget what blamelessness is not. In your pursuit of blamelessness, you will need the blood of Jesus and the grace and mercy of God.

“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy,” (Jud 1:24)

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. Other Scriptures taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®, where noted. The "Rare treasure" painting is by my seventeen-year old daughter, C.V. Lacroix. You can find more of her lovely artwork at A Brush with Life.

Author's note: If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy Christian PerfectionAim for PerfectionHoly Living in a Perverted WorldWalking in the Perfect Will of God, Following in His StepsBaptized with the Spirit, Holy Fire Baptism, The Straight and Narrow Path, Striving to Enter the Kingdom of God, Pleasing the Lord, The Burning Ones, Only the Holy -- Three Shocking Testimonies, Ask for the Ancient Paths, The Knowledge of the Holy, Sins That Will Keep You From Heaven, Living a Life Worthy of the Lord, Keeping a Good Conscience, Separation from the World, Having a Servant's Heart, The Difference Between a Disciple and a Believer, Righteous Deeds and White Robes, Doing What is Right, Partaking of the Divine Nature, The Ways of Life, The Refiner's Fire, Whatever You Do, Do All Like This, Is Obedience Optional?, Obedience by the Spirit, and The Obedience of Faith.You can find more of my articles related to Seeking the Lord on the Home page of this blog. You may also access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master." Now I'd like to ask a very important question.

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission.

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