Being “blameless” is a biblical goal for God’s people. Believers are exhorted to live blamelessly as lights in the world (Phil. 2:15), the Hebrew hymnbook declares a blessing upon blameless people (Psalm 119:1), and men who desire to shepherd the church (i.e., elders) and serve the church (i.e., deacons) are required to be blameless (1 Tim 3:2, 10).
Yet, I bet you’d admit with me that blamelessness seems practically impossible. Who hasn’t caused injury or brought pain to someone who would point at us accusingly and hold us liable? No doubt all of us know someone who could pin us down with the verdict, “This was your fault.” Sure, forgiveness reconciles, and restoration is a beautifully necessary pursuit in these kinds of times. Still, the reality that various kinds and degrees of trauma have occurred, and could still occur, due to the ongoing battle that is warring between our old and new natures, can leave us burdened under the weight of a goal that seems elusive and unattainable.
That very thought is why I delight so deeply in 1 Thessalonians 3:13, which assures us there is a day coming when our hearts will be established “blameless in holiness.” Take a moment and let the entire context of verses 12-13 wash over you:
“…may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.”
While Paul exhorts them to love one another more and more in the present, he is fully aware that the pinnacle moment when they will experience full and lasting blamelessness—permanent blamelessness—is in the future, specifically when Jesus returns.
Jude echoes this same truth, closing his one-chapter exhortation with this reminder: “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy…” (Jude 24). Jude uses the phrase “before the presence of his glory” to refer to the same majestic moment described by Paul as “the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.”
Both point the first-century believers—and us—towards Christ’s coming as a means of motivation, encouraging us to persevere and endure in their pursuit of blamelessness, knowing that our up-and-down efforts now are not the final word on the matter. That final word belongs to God who will, at the coming of Jesus, once and for all settle the matter for everyone who belongs to him. That word? Blameless. Fully. Finally. And forever.
So love strongly today. Seek unity fervently. Make amends quickly. Forgive readily. Yes, live as blameless as you can in a fallen world as a redeemed, yet fallen human being. But do so, not as a means of achieving God’s ultimate affirmation, but rather in anticipation of what he knows you already are positionally and will, at Jesus’ return, lavish upon you personally and practically: blameless.