Standing Before God Without Fault

dan delzell opinion page

Who among us is without fault? Who among us has never broken any of God's commandments? Who among us is righteous in all of his ways? If you cannot find even one person that passes this "perfection test," then how in the world can Scripture declare the following:

"To Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy — to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power, and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen." (Jude 24,25)

In writing to believers, Jude concluded his short letter with that doxology. Talk about an earthshaking declaration!

It is truly astounding to think that you and I and all believers in Jesus can stand before God one day "without fault" in His eyes. How is that even possible? How could lawbreakers like us ever be seen by God as perfect in His sight?

Once you know the answer to that question, you will understand what Jude meant at the beginning of his letter when describing "the salvation we share" and "the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints." (Jude 3)

The term "salvation" gets thrown around a lot these days, but just what does it mean to be saved? And what does it mean to be "without fault" in God's eyes?

Well, there are only two possibilities to consider. Either man is capable of living perfectly, or God is able to apply grace to man in such a way that it removes the stain of sin from his record. That is, it clears his account and washes away the stain whereby man is suddenly declared "not guilty."

Robert Lowry wrote a Gospel song almost a century and a half ago that has become a classic. Lowry described God's power to forgive sin this way:

"What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus;

What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Oh! precious is the flow; That makes me white as snow;

No other fount I know, Nothing but the blood of Jesus."

That, my friend, is the essence of the Gospel.

In Christ and through faith in Him, a believer is cleansed of his sin by the blood Jesus shed on the cross 2,000 years ago. And so your soul is now as white as snow in God's eyes. You are forgiven. You are clean. You are without fault.

The apostle Paul wrote, "In Him (Christ) we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace." (Ephesians 1:7) And "since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through Him!" (Romans 5:9)

A believer's justification isn't limited to Judgment Day. It has actually already been established. You are already justified before God through faith in Christ. You are already clean. You are already without fault in the eyes of your Creator.

The blood of Jesus not only washes away sin, but it also frees us to live for God as His forgiven children. In fact, everyone who is cleansed instantly desires to begin living for Christ. It's an automatic and supernatural response. Once the Lord takes up residence in your heart, you sincerely want to please Him with your life.

And you don't view forgiveness as a license to go out and commit sin. Instead, you view it as the greatest gift man could ever be given. When you were spiritually reborn, you received a new heart and a new approach to everything you do. (2 Cor. 5:17) Jesus is now at the center of it all because you know that without His shed blood, you would still be condemned before God rather than justified before God.

And so there are only two ways that God sees people. You are either completely sinful in His sight, or without fault in His sight. So how does God see you today?

Jesus would never have been sent from heaven to redeem our souls unless it was the only way for us to be saved. In fact, "if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!" (Galatians 2:21)

If we could be good enough to be accepted by God, then why did the Messiah go through the extreme pain of the cross in order to pay for our sins? The truth is that not one of us is good enough to save ourselves.

"There is no one righteous, not even one." (Romans 3:10)

God demands perfection. And so in His love, God did what we were incapable of doing for ourselves.

Isaiah wrote about it 700 years before Christ was born of a virgin in Bethlehem: "The Lord looked and was displeased that there was no justice. He saw that there was no one, He was appalled that there was no one to intercede; so His own arm worked salvation for Him, and His own righteousness sustained Him." (Isaiah 59:16)

In other words, God provided the sacrifice that was needed in order for our sin to be removed.

"Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God." (1 Peter 3:18)

We deserved to pay for our own sins, but Jesus took our place.

"The punishment that brought us peace was upon Him." (Isaiah 53:5)

That is, the death of Christ on the cross was the payment for our sin, and it allows us to stand before God without fault.

"The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin." (1 John 1:7)

Those who are cleansed of their sin are now faultless before God. That doesn't mean we no longer sin, but it does mean that God sees us as perfect in His sight.

And because we are "alive in Christ," (Romans 6:11) we do not view this "place of grace" as a green light to charge into sin. Through the power of the Holy Spirit living within us, we long to do what is right and holy and we hate to do whatever is wrong in God's sight.

The Psalmist declared, "I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart." (Psalm 40:8)

While that desire was strong within some of God's people in Old Testament times, just think how strong this desire becomes in the lives of believers today since we have the Holy Spirit living within us! God entered our physical body the moment we were born again, saved, justified, redeemed, and forgiven on the front end of our relationship with God. (1 Cor. 6:19)

"No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God." (1 John 3:6)

That is to say, no one who is born again will continue to live a life of deliberate and pre-meditated sin. Believers repent of their sin, and seek to live for Christ rather than for sin. Our new nature propels us in this godly direction, even as we still struggle against sin and temptation.

We are far from perfect in the way we continue to live, and yet, God nevertheless sees us as being without fault. And this miracle of God's grace brings everlasting benefits.

"We have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." (Hebrews 10:10)

"By one sacrifice He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy." (Hebrews 10:14)

We are perfect in God's eyes, and this grace is working in us to make us more like Jesus in the way we live and the way we treat others.

Your beliefs produce your lifestyle. Another way of saying it is that your beliefs produce fruit. And your beliefs nail down whether God sees you today as sinful, or as holy and without fault in His eyes.

So what do you believe about Jesus? What do you believe about your sin? And what do you believe about the one-time sacrifice Jesus made on the cross to make believers perfect in God's eyes?

Dan Delzell is the pastor of Wellspring Church in Papillion, Neb. He is a regular contributor to The Christian Post.

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