“The sins of some men are conspicuous, going before them to judgement; but the sins of others appear later.” I Timothy 5:24 (NIV)
We can all list names of men (and women) whose sins were found out. Internationally-known Christian leaders who had invested their lives in building the kingdom and then who were discovered in moral failure have often left many people wounded, even devastated, and besmirched the faith to the watching world. Perhaps you have known pastors or leaders in your own community who were “outed” for one thing or another with much the same effect.
The truth is, we will all be outed one day. Paul tells us in this verse that all of our sins will be known one day, whether before or at the judgement. I’m pretty sure he meant the sins of all of us, every last one of us. The effect of this knowledge, at least for me, is the desire to be as pure as possible, but how?
Purity is a co-op between me and God. It is my job to pursue purity, but His to purify me. The connection between hope in God and purity is obvious in I John 3:2-3, “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.” God has provided the hope in Christ and this hope works in me the will and desire to be as He is, pure.
The good news is that “if any one does sin, we have an advocate with the Father” (I John 2:1). I have sinned, you have sinned, but we have an Advocate, One who stands in on our behalf before the judgement seat of God pleading our case and providing forgiveness, freedom, and purity in God’s eyes. It is this knowledge that inspires in me the desire to be whole, holy, and pure, whether you see it or not.
In the meantime, I pray often the ancient Jesus Prayer, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God; have mercy on me, a sinner.”