34 • God uses Imperfect People
You may have heard rumors of Christians caught up in adultery; or who were greedy and did things which did not reflect the glory and holiness of God. You may therefore think that God’s people are hypocrites. However, God’s people are all human beings and none of them in this world is perfect (Philippians 3:12-15; 1 John 1:8). We all carry the weight of a sinful nature around with us (Romans 7:14-24). Some may sin, others more so; but that doesn’t mean they don’t belong to God. God is a God of mercy and grace and He knows that we are weak, earthen vessels, that break easily (2 Corinthians 4:7) and He knows our enemy, the devil, is prowling around like a lion to devour His children (1 Peter 5:8).
But there are also those who claim to be Christians, but in fact aren’t. Jesus said many will preach His word and do miracles in His Name, but they do not belong to Him (Matthew 7:21-23). Jesus said only those who do the will of God will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. In 1 John 2:17 it is written: ‘And the world is passing away, and the lust thereof, but he who does the will of God abides forever.’ We cannot live sinful lives, play around with sin and think we will not reap the consequences (Galatians 6:7, 8). But Jesus said some people are like wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matthew 7:15). We must beware of these people, who for instance want to be named ‘Christian’, but who in fact have ulterior motives (2 Peter 2:1-3; 13-15; 17-19). Many of them are in the church only for money, status, power or some malicious reason.
The track record of some believers in God isn’t good at all. Moses, for instance, God’s own prophet, was a murderer (Exodus 2:12-14). David, the man of God, committed adultery and murdered the husband of the woman he desired (2 Samuel 11:1-27). Paul, the great apostle, persecuted members of God’s church before he was converted (1 Timothy 1:13) and Peter disowned Jesus three times. But they all repented, and God cleansed them, transformed them, and used them to share His good news. King David, for example, had to bear the consequences of his sin and was betrayed by his own son. Jesus said in Matthew 6:15: ‘For if you forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you don’t forgive others their trespasses, God will also not forgive you your trespasses.’ We should look at people through eyes of mercy and forgiveness—just as God looks at us. We might find that some of the hardest criminals find mercy and grace from Jesus before they die. That is why in John 1:16 it says out of Jesus Christ’s fullness we all have received grace upon grace.
The Bible tells a story of a man who was demon possessed, cut himself until blood poured out, lived among the tombs and screamed and shouted all the time. But when Jesus came to him, He only spoke, and that man was delivered from a horde of demons. And this same man became an instrument God could use for His glory (Mark 5:1-20). If Jesus could change, forgive and deliver someone like that what can He not do for and with us? 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10 says: ‘…do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the Kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed…’ Jesus looked at us with eyes of forgiveness when He was crucified and died for us. As Jesus hung on the cross He cried: ‘Father forgive them for they know not what they do’ (Luke 23:34).
Questions to consider: Do you realize that you don’t have to be perfect to be used as God’s instrument; that you don’t have to expect perfection in God’s children and the world in order to love them? God uses imperfect people, but especially forgiven people who have been washed in the blood of the Lamb.
Read: Philippians 3:12-15; 1 John 1:8; Romans 7:14-24; 2 Corinthians 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8; Matthew 7:15, 21-23; 1 John 2:17; Galatians 6:7, 8; 2 Peter 2:1-3; 13-15; 17-19; Exodus 2:12-14; 2 Samuel 11:1-27; 1 Timothy 1:13; Matthew 6:15, 26:69-75; John 1:16; Mark 5:1-20; 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10; Luke 23:34