One of the biggest criticism of Christianity is that its followers are hypocrites – their lives don’t reflect the Gospel message. Now and again, a church leader is in the news for all the wrong reasons. But I don’t need to look at the headlines to know that something is wrong. It’s enough to look at my heart. All this leads me to ask the question: does the moral failure of Christians mean that Jesus failed in his mission?
If God had sent Jesus to make us perfect while we’re living on earth, then it would be fair to say he messed up. But that was never his plan in the first place. He never intended to turn us into faultless beings, probably because he knew it would be impossible. Our sin doesn’t negate Jesus’ actions because God never expected us to be blameless while still in our present bodies.
So, what was God’s plan? First of all, we must remember that his viewpoint isn’t limited by the constraints of time. Christ’s death on the cross impacts all the way into eternity. As to the present, his goal was to reconcile humanity to himself by taking away the punishment for sin. And yes, he does intend to make us perfect, but only after we pass over to the other side of death.
We can look forward to perfection, but not in our lifetime (long sigh). Don’t get me wrong; this doesn’t mean that we can sit back and sin to our hearts’ content. God hates sin, he has given us every tool necessary to defeat temptation, and he disciplines his children who are disobedient. I would go so far as to say that if someone is indifferent to God’s moral standard, that person should evaluate whether they know the Lord at all. Having a relationship with God should result in a desire for a righteous life. He can help us enjoy many victories over temptation, but it’s unrealistic to expect a sinless existence.
What conclusion can we draw from this? Let’s never doubt the victory over sin that Jesus has accomplished on the cross. It may not be totally evident yet, but someday we will fully reflect Christ’s triumph over all wickedness.