Not perfect, just forgiven

November 4th, 2006

I remember a number of years ago I saw a bumper sticker on a car that said, “Christians are not perfect, just forgiven”. This is a simple statement, but one that is very true.

I was reminded about this sticker on the weekend as I was watching a show on the ABC about Jimmy Carter and his time just before he became President of the United States. For those who don’t know Jimmy Carter was a committed Christian and he tried to live his life in a way that reflected his faith.

On the show it spoke about Jimmy doing an interview with a magazine and he was trying to explain his faith and how at times he struggled to do the right thing. He spoke of how he had lusted after women in his mind at times and how he had committed adultery in his heart. The magazine jumped on this comment and printed it.

Needless to say his poll results fell when people read this and people wondered if he could be trusted. The question arose that if he commits adultery in his heart what will happen when he is put in the situation in real life? History tells us that the enough people voted for Jimmy Carter and he did become President of the United States. At times he even enjoyed a 75% approval rating by the American people.

So would I trust a man who says he commits adultery in his heart? The answer for me is a resounding yes if the rest of his life reflects his faith in God. I believe that Jimmy Carter understood the struggle it is to live the Christian life. He realised that while we profess a faith in God and have a high set of personal standards to live up to, but sometimes we all fall short. After all, that is why Jesus had to die to pay the price for our sins.

This brings me back to the bumper sticker, “Christians are not perfect, just forgiven”.

Here’s a couple of verses from the Bible that are worth meditating and praying on…

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:12-13)

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. (1 John 1:8-10)