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The Gift of Imperfection

March 06, 2021

“That is why [Abraham’s] faith was ‘counted to him as righteousness.’ But the words ‘it was counted to him’ were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.” - Romans 4:22-25

Brené Brown wrote an enlightening book entitled The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are. Just the title of this book is challenging and yet inspiring. Are there really gifts to our imperfections? Those things which we hold up as our great failures, are there redeeming characteristics or things that God will do through our perceived failures?

Abraham was chosen and called to be the father of many nations. He obeyed but not perfectly. He lied. He laughed at the promises of God. He doubted at times. He committed adultery to try and produce the promised heir. Abraham was not righteous on his own; Abraham was declared righteous through his faith in God. This righteousness was a gift from God; it was not something that Abraham earned through his own merits and work.

Abraham is remembered not for all these imperfections but for his faith and the righteousness credited to him through that faith. God used Abraham despite his imperfections. Abraham did not consistently look back to all that he had done wrong, but he continued to walk with the Lord and to choose faith. His imperfections were a gift because they pointed beyond himself. Abraham alone was not the father of many nations. Instead, Abraham, through the call and work of God, was the father of many nations. Abraham was not perfect, but the one who called him was perfect.

Paul referred to Abraham as an example of imputed righteousness. Like Abraham, we all struggle with imperfections; we all fall short of the glory of God. However, through faith in the salvific work of Jesus Christ on the cross, we become the righteousness of Christ. Through the waters of baptism, we die to our sin nature, and we are resurrected to our new nature in Jesus – the nature that is holy, new, and fully righteous. We are justified through Christ, meaning that we are made perfectly clean, whole, and holy. When the Lord looks at us, he does not see our sin; he sees the righteousness of his Son. What an amazing gift!

The gift of our imperfection is that it reveals our need for a Savior. We cannot cleanse ourselves, fix ourselves, or heal ourselves. Thankfully, God can and will do all those things. Our imperfections are our invitations to come humbly before him, to confess the ways in which we have gone astray, to ask for forgiveness for those sins, then to experience power through the Holy Spirit to turn from sin.

How do you view your sin and imperfections? How would the Lord have you view them?

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