Holy and Blameless- Ephesians 1:4

In our previous post, we have seen that believers are holy and blameless in Christ, and that in Ephesians 1:4 we learn that believers are blameless as a condition of our existence. The word blameless means “without blemish or spotless” and this is what we are, and we will now briefly examine Romans 5:12-21 to see how we could posibly be called blameless and what it means in our daily lives. Paul begins, in verse 12, by telling us that sin (and death as its consequence) both came into human reality through one man (Adam), and that through Adam sin was passed on to all human beings, this being seen in the fact that all human beings sin and die. He then tells us that sin is more than merely a violation of the law, since the law did not come until Moses’ time and people died before the law was given. Paul’s point in all of this is that human beings are sinners not just by behavior but by nature, that we are sinners because we sin and we sin because we are sinners. Our fundamental problem is not our behavior but our nature, we are born as sinners because we are born “in Adam”, and because we are sinners we stand under the sentence of death (verse 16). That is the bad news in all of this, but the good news here is that Adam is used here in direct comparison with Jesus Christ (verse 15-17). All human beings die eternally because they are born in Adam, and it may seem to some that it is somehow “unfair” that others are subject to judgement because of what Adam did, and Paul here goes somewhat out of his way to tell us that God is not unfair to condemn anyone because all of us deserve condemnation due to our own actions also, but this is not the primary point Paul is making here. What Paul really wants to get across here is found in verse 18, and the point is that what primarily separates human beings from God is not their behavior but their nature. Adam’s sin was passed on to all of his descendents, who are born sinners and separated from God due to their natures, and the only way they can be united to God is through a change in nature, and this is exactly what takes place in all who trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and savior, because they are now in Christ and no longer in Adam. This is confirmed in verse 19 through Paul’s use of the Greek kathistemi- to constitute. Something’s constitution sets forth its basic nature, tells us exactly what it is, and all who are in Christ are constituted “righteous”. The Greek word righteous here is dikaios- to be accepted or approved, to be judged as one who conforms to a standard, as one who “measures up”. This is where our concept of blameless comes into the picture. The reason we can be declared righteous is precisely because we are blameless, we confrom to the standard, we measure up because we are spotless and without fault, and we are these because Jesus’ blamelessness has been given to us by faith in Him. Because we are blameless, we may now draw near to God (for only one who is without fault may do so). We may grow to know Him more and more, and as we do so, we make verses 20 and 21 a reality in our lives, and sin no longer will reign, but rather grace will reign instead. We will remember from a previous post that grace is not only something but someone, that grace is the person of Jesus Christ and growing in grace primarily invloves growing to know Him. It is the fact that we are blameless that allows us to draw near to him, and the nearer we draw to Him the more we will grow in grace and will live more “blamelesly”, our ethical blamelessness will line up with our existential blamelessness. It is as we draw near that we allow grace (Jesus) to reign rather than sin, and it is only because we are blameless that we are able to draw near. Our next post will examine more closely this concept of drawing near, which also is where the idea that we are holy ties in, and see why holy and blameless are tied together.

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