November 5, 2012

Nobody’s Perfect (yet): The Inevitable Messiness of Being Human Pt 3

by Clint Archer

My wife and I once ended up with an unexpected (and unearned) blessing of being in the Hilton Hotel on Embassy Row in Washington DC. We were a financially challenged seminoid couple at the time. Upon arrival, giddy with delight, we tried not to look wide-eyed or star-struck (it’s a 5 star hotel, I believe) as we attempted to acclimatize to the luxury. But when we came to our room we noticed the bed was unmade, and there was a dirty sleeveless undershirt draped on the bedside table. Although I was new to this whole luxury hotel experience, I surmised that the hotel frontdesk would want to know about it.

They instantly upgraded us to the opulent Presidential Suite with a view of the Washington Monument. We had the whole floor to ourselves, and needed a special keycard to access our exclusive domain. It was like living in Donald Trump’s über ostentatious golden penthouse. I could get used to this. Trump's room

I hadn’t caused the first room’s uncleanliness, but I instinctively knew its condition was sub-par for the Hilton. The most I was expecting was a simple “Oops, we’ll get that bed turned down in a jiffy” and perhaps a biohazard team to remove the abandoned undergarment. But when the upgrade was presented there was a distinct sense of “Now that’s more like it!” It is, after all the Hilton.

Although we are grateful for our fearfully and wonderfully made bodies, we instinctively know that they are not exactly perfect. We long for an upgrade to the perfection suited to a sinless, Curse-less eternity.

This post is the third and final installment of the Inevitable Messiness of Being Human miniseries. We have seen that:

1. God Makes us Messy - Since the Curse we are not meant to be comfortable. Our physical, emotional, and spiritual makeup is marred and dysfunctional, which makes us restless enough to seek rest in a better place, or more accurately in a Person.

2. God Wants us Clean - Even though “it’s only natural” God still has the prerogative to declare what is acceptable to Him.

Today we wrap up with the symmetrical solution that…

3. God Makes us Clean

Nobody’s perfect. That’s not an excuse, it’s a diagnosis.

broken robotWe were created to be perfect and enjoy perfection. Our minds can grasp that, but our bodies michieviously sabotage the endeavor.  Jesus chided the narcoleptic prayerlessness of His apostles with these sage words, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Our minds crave contentment in God but our bodies, still plagued with gremlins from the Curse, play the role of mischievous saboteur thwarting our quest for relief from sin.

We all manifest our uncleanness in different ways. But I think that’s the point of Leviticus. We need to be holy like God is holy. God doesn’t grade on a curve. This makes us long for a repair job, and upgrade to the standard we expect for a sinless eternity.

Perfection is what we groan for, along with the rest of the fallen universe (Rom 8:22). We need a body that is working with us, not against us, in our quest for holiness and wholeness. As Paul says with thinly veiled frustration,

Rom 7:18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.  19  For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. …22  For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being,  23  but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.  24  Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?  25  Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Amen! It is only in Jesus that we can expect to be fixed forever. So, God made us messy, then calls us unacceptable, but then in His grace He makes a way for us to be clean. Just like in Leviticus 15.

Lev 15:30 And the priest shall use one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering. And the priest shall make atonement for her before the Lord for her unclean discharge.

God made a way to be clean, and it involved the death of an innocent animal.

The reason God gave you a broken, leaky, smelly body is because He wants you to realize you need fixing, you need cleaning up, and that it only comes through Jesus Christ. Christ’s death on the cross is what makes us clean, and His resurrection from the dead started a process that brings about our resurrection to a glorified, perfect body.

Rom 6:5  For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.

The question hovering in a thought-bubble over every New testament believer’s head is:

How do these laws apply to us?

Answer: We need to realize that there are things that are natural, but still shameful. This should cause us to repsect privacy, to dress modestly, and to long for a leak-proof body, thanks to Jesus.

So yes, nobody’s perfect…yet. But watch this space.

[Clint Archer]

Clint Archer

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Clint is the pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church. He and his expanding troop of Archers live near Durban, South Africa (and pity anyone who doesn't). When he is off duty from CGate, his alter ego blogs at Café Seminoid, clintarcher.com