The Imperfect, Perfect, Church
To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:
– 1 Corinthians 1:2
We are made righteous in the eyes of God when we place our faith in Christ. But we live as sinning saints until the day we die or He returns. We are saints being sanctified. We are imperfect being perfected.
It is difficult to imagine a worse off church than the one in Corinth. They were overlooking perverse sin, refusing to come together for the Lord’s supper, and had out of control worship services. And yet, they were saints with the rest of the churches. They were an absolute mess of a body and yet they were just that, a part of the body of Christ.
A mistake that many make is to think the church is a place of perfection. This leads to two problems: 1. Those in the church with real problems refuse to talk about them and, instead, pretend as though everything is fine. 2. Those who are too loud about their own sin are made uncomfortable by those who pretend nothing is wrong.
We want to be a church that is always being sanctified, perfected, washed by the water of the Word, and made more and more like the perfect, spotless bride of Christ. We do not want to pretend that we’ve already arrived. We want to be a humble church, willing to acknowledge our sins and repent as we grow up together into Christlikeness.