Lord's Day Liturgy

On Being Blameless

The Bible speaks in a way that allows for us to call a man “blameless.” See Job, Noah, Daniel, along with the existence of the general category. That said, the Bible also tells us that even our righteous deeds are like filthy rags, and prior to our glorification we still need regular cleansing.

Elders in particular must be “above reproach,” the same idea as without blame, but we know no one is “perfect.” How are we supposed to fit these things together?

One part of wisdom is to see patterns, to look at the video rather than a still shot. It’s not exactly the same as just a “high percentage” of righteousness, with say a minority 5% of time spent in adultery. Weightier sins such as adultery or murder (or David who did both) take away a blameless status immediately even if that was one night in twenty years. Yet when a “blameless” man sins, even though it’s not a theological surprise, based on his usual practice it’s not what we were expecting.

Another part of wisdom is to see a pattern of humble and honest repentance. He should not be quick tempered, but when he does get angry, how quick is he to confess it? Impatience is not a virtue no matter how big his vision, but does he repent when his self-will steamrolls the group?

In John 3 Jesus teaches that “everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light lest his deeds should be exposed.” What is the opposite? It’s not “everyone who does righteous things.” Rather, “whoever does what is true comes to the light.” This reveals that when he did good it was by God’s help, and it reveals when He did not do good that he believes in Jesus for forgiveness and eternal life.

Walk before God (and men) in godliness and blamelessness.