6 Holy and Blameless in his Sight



A meditation on Ephesians 1:4


We are so focused on ourselves and our own spirituality that we read these words - 'holy and blameless in his sight' as something we have to do or to be. Then we either respond to them with diligent effort to achieve holiness and blamelessness, or we respond with avoidance, blocking them out, because we are overwhelmed by the impossible standard they seem to be demanding.

Here we face an incredibly important question: When Paul tells us that God 'chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight' [1:4], what is he talking about? Is he talking about what God wants us to be? Or, is he talking about the already accomplished result of God saving us in Christ?

There are scripture texts that do exhort us to holiness; but is this what Paul is saying here in this passage about the totality of the spiritual blessings we have in Christ? Are there any other texts in which being holy and blameless is seen as a part of our salvation?

Ephesians 5:25-27 teaches that the result of the sacrificial death of Christ for his church is 'to make her holy, cleansing her … and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.' This is obviously the effect of Christ's death, not the effect of the church's striving.

Colossians 1:22 teaches 'But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight without blemish and free from accusation'. Again, this perfection is the result of the death of Christ.

Hebrews 10:10 states 'And by that will we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all' and 10:14 refers to being 'made perfect forever'. Again the effective cause is the death of Christ.

When Christ died all of our sin and guilt was laid upon him. It is no longer held against us. Everything unholy, everything worthy of blame, everything attracting and incurring guilt – every spiritual spot, wrinkle and blemish was dealt with by his death. God no longer sees them. God no longer relates to them. God no longer takes them into account. The perfect righteousness of Christ now covers us. When God looks at the person who is united to Christ by faith he sees only Christ.

This is a blessing of incredible and unexpected magnitude and significance: that we, sinners though we still are, are, in Christ, holy and blameless in God's sight.

Copyright Rosemary Bardsley 2006, 2010