Pure and Undefiled

The idea that we can live undefiled before God on this earth at this time in any way is beyond impossible. There’s nothing that any of us can do this side of glorification that would qualify us as perfectly pure. This is because we are inescapably impure, banished to a body of death. Justified? Yes. Declared righteous by God’s amazing grace? Thank the Lord! But we are, as Martin Luther put it, simultaneously declared righteous by God and sinful by nature. It won’t be until we receive glorified bodies that we will be untainted. Thus, everything we do has a little death in the pot. It was a sinner who did it.

That is not to say, however, that there aren’t actions that in and of themselves, independent of us, are not good, pure, and right. Sinners can, by God’s grace, do good things. We can do what is right. We can perform pure acts. In heaven, I will do the perfectly right thing for the perfectly right reason. But here on earth, I can still make right choices and do good things, just nothing that isn’t done by a sinner.

Telling the truth is a beautiful and right act, even if a sinner does it. Yes, we are tainted by sin, and at some level of motive or desire, we all sin continuously. But telling the truth is, as an action, good. It conforms to the law of God.

Today, I witnessed some sinners do a really good thing. In fact, James calls it “pure and undefiled.” I witnessed the Jolly family “visit an orphan.” I was present, along with about 30 other family, friends, and NRBC members when Ankur and Corrinn swore before a judge to take Ethan as a son, responsible to care for him as if he shared the same genes as their biological children.

There were accolades from social workers, commendation from the judge, hugs, tears, hand shakes, and high fives. And according to God, it was pure. It was undefiled. This is a good step in the right direction for a church who wants to care for children with special needs. Thanks, Jollys (and Kidders and others!) for setting an example, for showing us that sinners can do pure and undefiled things on this earth.