Compelled to Attend

Do you ever take your salvation for granted?  In a sense, this is not incorrect, for in the economy of God’s providence, that is exactly how it came to you.  Salvation is granted. However, in the sense that we use the phrase “for granted,” do you ever rest too much on the fact that your deliverance was just a part of your being?  If you are like me, days pass where the only thought of your inclusion in the family of God is an assumed constant.  Like your family name or your nationality,  your salvation can become such a part of your existence that you forget how unlikely you were to have received it.

Assurance of salvation is truly a blessing.  By the power of the Holy Spirit you can be made to never doubt the fact that you have been renewed and transformed.  However assurance can be a double edged sword.  Knowing that you have no possibility of loosing your salvation can evoke a perilous situation where you become stoic in your faith and forget who you really are.  I am covenantal in my belief.  If you are not familiar with the term “covenantal” don’t be concerned, you are in the majority.  In a nut shell, without going deep into Covenant Theology,  my belief is that my inclusion into the family of God came through his promises to the biblical patriarchs of continuing his seed.  I must admit that though this belief system produces a wonderful strengthening of faith, if not properly monitored, it also tends to make one stale in the faith.  You can become so assured, that you forget you are truly of a class not worthy to be called children of God. You tend to forget that God had to powerfully and supernaturally force you to come to him.

In a sermon preached before the administration of the Lord’s Supper,  Boston reminded his congregation how God sought after a people most unworthy of being admitted to the feast, a banquet prepared for those whom he loves.  The sermon was exposited from  the Parable of the Great Banquet, Luke 14.  In this parable, Christ paints a picture of an exclusive class system that was broken wide open by a man shunned by those of his order.  In the story the master of the house plans a great banquet for his friends and associates.  As the time draws near he begins to receive regrets with a myriad of excuses from those he invited.  It is apparent that none see any benefit in being in attendance.

I have been just as guilty as those original invitees.  Many times I have regretted to invitations to functions I saw no advantage from attending.  I usually felt no obligation to attend.  I could usually convince myself that my absence would be of no loss to the host or me.

The master of this house then sent his servants to seek other guests.  They were told to go into the streets and ally ways and invite anyone they could find.  Then they were to go into the rural areas and invite those they found there also.  As you can assume from the nature of the places they were looking, these were not the socialites but rather the laborers, street urchins and sodbusters.

Proper interpretation of scripture requires that you read a parable as having one intended message.  From this particular parable we are to see what a stretch it was for Christ to reach out beyond the natural lineage of Abraham, the Jews, to us, the gentiles.  The Jews regretted to the banquet.  However, so would the gentiles had the Master not added an imperative to the invitation.

Yes, this is a wonderful story of Christ’s invitation to those who had no title to make them worthy to come.  Truly, Christ sought us while yet strangers, and welcomed us to the feast. But if you look more closely you will see an important, yet most often overlooked, portion of the parable.  This seemingly insignificant verbiage makes our salvation even more valuable.  Buried deep into the meat of the parable we come to verse 23. Christ instructs the messengers, “Go out to the roads and country lanes, and make them come in, so that my house will be full.”(Luke 14:23 NIV) I prefer the NIV for its more modern vernacular but the older translations say that the servants were to compel the people to come.  Is it any wonder that Boston titled his sermon on this parable “Gospel Compulsion”?  The people had to be forced to come to the feast.  We had to be compelled also.

Here I go again.  Let me warn you that I do not intend to offend or antagonize some you by what I am about to say.  I despise the practice of “Gospel invitation.”  You invite someone to church. You invite someone to your home for Christian hospitality.  You do not invite someone to believe the Gospel.  They must be compelled and that is outside of man’s scope of authority.  When Christ included in his parable the instruction to his servants to make the guests come, and the translators from the original chose the word “compel” or “make”, it was no accident.  If we simply us the definition of compel, we can see the true sense of its use here.  To compel is to force an action or to cause an irresistible urge to behave in a certain way that is especially against one’s conscious  wishes.  In reformed circles we say this God’s “irresistible grace”.  When God choses you, and calls you, you will come.  Another good term to know is “effectual calling”.  The Gospel message may constantly be preached calling all to come, but when one is effectually called by the combined work of God’s Word and the Holy spirit it is a done deal.  You will come and have no power to refuse.

Now, in light of what has been said about how you got to the party,  does it not change your appreciation of your salvation?  You were just like the all of the invited guests.  You were ungrateful and unwilling to accept your invitation.  You may have been hungry, sick, homeless, without hope, but you would not have reached out received the bounty of the master’s hospitality.  Only the Master’s desire that his house be full, and the power of his compelling will, could draw you in.  You can take no credit for your salvation.  That is why it is all about Grace.  Treasure the Grace of God.  It is what truly gives value to you inclusion in His family.

 

Advertisements

Take Heed to the Old Ways

As mentioned before, “The Complete Works of Thomas Boston” were compiled long after his death.  The editor of this extensive collection did a wonderful job of arranging the various writings not in chronological order but by the subject matter.  Though I have used these works for personal devotion for quite some time, my reflective writing on them is a relatively new endeavor.  However, in God’s good providence, the particular topic of this post fits nicely with my intentions for my blog.  I desire that the reader can use my efforts as a means inspiring meditation to assist in the struggle of living a life of faith and perseverance.

Religion today, partly due to a dispensational influence, tends to devalue the shadowy accounts of the life of the Church in Old Testament Israel.  Yes, we do still use the Pslams and Proverbs for guidance,  and tell the stories of historical events to Sunday School classes, but the actual ways of the old Church, the Jewish Church, seem to have been discarded like bath water.  The “New Testament Church” devalues what God places high value in.  The Gospels and the Apostolic correspondence has taken the forefront in biblical teaching, and has been interpreted to negate the importance or even validity of the pre-incarnation word of Christ.  In his work, “A Meditation on the Day of Expiation (Atonement) and the Feast of Tabernacles,” Boston uses two Jewish religious observances as examples for us.  Though no longer a legal requirement of the Church (Col. 2:16-17), they are still helpful for our spiritual benefit and appropriate for meditation.

God prescribed a very specific religious calendar for the Church in the time of Israel’s national formation.  Exodus and Leviticus give detailed accounts of how God wanted the Church to practice religion.  This practice was so specific that any deviation from the liturgy was a direct act of defiance.  In Leviticus 10 we read of the story of Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron and priests of Israel.  If you have never read this story, I encourage you to do so and to take heed to the sobering message therein.  Though their intentions my have been honorable and meant for the improvement of the worship service, they only angered God.  The use of a means of worship not prescribed by Him was not acceptable.  In respone God burned them to death.

God has been merciful in relieving us of the legal requirement of these specific observances.  At the same time God has not given us free reign to worship as we please.  During the rise of the Roman Catholic church apparently they paid no heed to Nadab and Abihu.  Like a reincarnation, the church began to invent new and innovative ways to worship God.  A new religious calendar was instituted without any biblical warrant.  Rites, ceremonies, and holidays, all with mystical undertones, mirrored the “strange fire” that ended so perilously for Aaron’s sons.  Sadly, the Protestant Church today seems to follow blindly what our forefathers suffered and died to protect against.  They saw the need to break away from the unrighteous practices of the Pope and to purify the Church.

Do you know why you worship the way you do?  For our purposes here, let us consider our Church calendar.  God ordered the Jewish calendar.  Who ordered yours?  Do you know how or when Christmas, Easter, or Lent came to be events in the Church?  Remember, I vowed not to be an antagonist with this forum.  So I must stop here.  (Just saying!)

Though God may not set anyone on fire for worshipping him in an unauthorized manner,  like while you light the Christmas tree or the Advent candle,  he has been fairly clear on the subject of worshipping him like the pagans worship their Gods(Deut. 12).  That being said, God has given us more than enough examples of how he likes to be worshipped.  We do not need to invent more.  I can assure you that, considering the busy pace of life today, you could not fit into your church calendar all means of worship God has already invented.  I am not saying you should build an alter and sacrifice livestock.  God has already abolished that.  What I am saying is just look at two observances and use them for your own benefit.

First is the Jewish observance of the Day of Atonement.  As I mentioned earlier, the Old Testament is a run up to or shadow of the New Testament.  The Israelites looked forward to the revelation of the Messiah and his atoning sacrifice for them.  Their repeated deliverance from sin, rebellion, captivity and oppression were fore telling Christ.  The Day of atonement was no celebration, at least from our perspective.  It was a time for self and national examination.  Mourning for sin, sacrifices, fasting and self denial were part of the day.  Though the efforts of the participants never actually atoned for their transgressions, they did serve a great purpose.  They were moved to adore their Savior, and to look longingly for His coming.  They knew their works could not save them.  Only Christ could recompense for their failings.

You do not have to schedule a specific day to still benefit from the observance.  You have the latitude to use the theme of the observance by merely meditating on your own need for atonement, your own need for a savior.  Blessed are those who mourn because of their sin.  Take time to reflect on your sin.  I had a Pastor once who strongly believed in practicing days of fasting and prayer.  He was truly convinced that this was still a very appropriate practice for the Church.  I did not disagree, I just wasn’t able or maybe willing to do it.  However, if you have an inclination to try I would encourage you to.  God did not make arbitrary suggestions.  He has purpose for all he ordains.  Every day could be a day of atonement, where we use even the smallest events in our lives to recalibrate our focus.

Along with Day of Atonement, God instituted the Feast of Tabernacles.  When the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness, without cities, homes or shelter, God still provided.  The feast was a celebration of that provision.  The people were instructed to build shelters out of tree branches for dwelling in seven days.  This was not an exercise of self denial. Rather, it was part of a festival of renewal.  A revival of the awareness of God’s promised deliverance from the wilderness to a permanent home.  Not a home made with hands, but rather the eternal home with God, Heaven.  He would ultimately deliver them from being strangers and exiles in a foreign land.  Most importantly, he would deliver them from the need for a Day of Atonement.  Maybe if you camped out under your Christmas tree you might could justify the religious use of it. (Food for thought?) You don’t have to physically perform these celebratory acts, such as building a wigwam.  What I mean is to build the concept.  Use the principle for your practice.  Every Lord’s Day could be your Feast of Tabernacles.

For practical application of Boston’s two examples of meditational observances, never take one without the other.  Whenever you meditate on your sin follow up with the acknowledgement of your deliverance.  Martin Luther, while in his days as a monk, was known for meditating long on his sin and unworthiness.  So much so, that he practiced harsh self denial and brutal self inflicted punishment.  He saw no way for his deliverance but to experience suffering to earn God’s pleasure.  This one sided view of God created a tragic existence.  When the Holy Spirit applied the Word to his mind and soul a wonderful revelation and transformation overcame him.  Now when mourned for sin he could rejoice in deliverance.

Whether you only have a few moments to reflect or can immerse yourself in devotion, use the situation you are in to apply the principles of these two and other Old Testament religious observances.  Be deliberate in your Christian walk.  I do not mean rigorous.  Allow flexibility, but not to the point of innovation.  There is nothing new under the sun.  Use what God has given us.

 

 

 

Question 6

Baptism is one of two sacraments or sacred privileges that were left to the church by Christ.  How these sacraments are practiced vary somewhat among the different denominations.  Thomas Boston, though a Presbyterian minister, answers the sixth question to himself using a broad brush, not mentioning the various denominations practices but rather dealing directly with the specifics of the right to the sacrament itself.  The question is, “Who have a right to baptism, and who are to be baptized?”

Many movements have entered the Church over the centuries.  Some of the most destructive have centered on the use of baptism and the nature of its efficacy.  There are many much more qualified than I who have written extensively on the topic of baptism and I dare not use this forum to elaborate or explain the various positions.  Rather, I will steer narrowly upon the course that Boston has taken.

One point that Boston makes early in this work is that in 18th century Scotland there were very few adult baptisms.  As the practice was then, and still is today in the Presbyterian Church, infants were presented for baptism by their parents.  It was unusual for anyone to grow up outside of the Church.  Nearly all people would have been baptized as infants and therefore the opportunity for adult baptism would have been rare.  Because the Protestants of Western Europe were connected by the religious practices of the Reformation, even those who descended from other countries, England, Germany, France, etc., would have been baptized as infants as well.  Only those with Anabaptist roots, which were generally associated with the more northern European people, the forerunners to the Mennonites and Amish for example, practiced waiting until the age of verbal professions of faith for baptism.  I have mentioned before the importance of a little familiarity with Church history for understanding your faith.  The practice of baptizing once as an infant, all the covenant people of God, has been the primary practice of the Church since Christ instituted the sacrament.  Confessional baptism is a relatively new practice except where the gospel takes root in pagan places.  The countries such as those of Europe and North America probably now fall into that category.  Wouldn’t Boston be surprised today.

That being said, Boston’s answer deals more from a covenant theology perspective, so I intend to make it more relative to you personally, regardless of your Church background.  We none spend enough time considering our own baptism.  Regardless of what age you were baptized, this was a very significant event.  Even more so than some conversion experience.  If you can verbalize exactly when and how you “came to faith” in Christ or were “saved,” then it is an event that you probably have recalled many times and shared with others.  However human nature tends often to creep into our “testimonies” and our perception of what happened tends to fall prey to imagination and embellishment.  However the undeniable fact of our day of baptism is indisputable.  What we often dispute in our own mind is our right to baptism.  Doubt based upon a season of backsliding or some false legalistic doctrine can shake you to the core.   I have known fellow believers who have doubted their right to their baptisms and the efficacy of them. They have fallen prey to Satan’s web of deceit. They say they could never have been a Christian because of some continuing sin or perceived sin. In turn some have been baptized again.  Their doubt about their first baptism is usually the result of their misunderstanding of what the sacrament is.

Not knowing the reader personally, I can only assume you understand your baptism.  Of course it is not necessary to understand your baptism for it to be effectual.  If that were the case not only could infants not be saved, but neither could the mentally handicapped, the deaf mute, nor the simply ignorant.  But for those who have no excuse for not understanding, there is a need for a basic clarification of what it is and is not.  First it is not a converting ordinance. Baptism does not magically transform you.  The act within itself does not cleanse you.  There are some within the visible church who would even contend that the place and method of administration is significant.  Whether you were dunked in the Jordan River or sprinkled in the Sahara Desert your baptism is the same. Baptism is a sign and seal of God’s promise to his people.  God says that he will be your God even if he is not now your God.  I would be safe in saying that many of you were baptized long before you were regenerated.  You required no do over.  Just think of someone you know who was baptized and then for many years lived a life of rebellion against every principle of the faith they once professed.  Some churches practice a form of recommitment of faith.  I can’t say that this is incorrect, though I see no biblical warrant for it.  What is wrong is when their is another baptism performed.  In that case you are saying that God needed a do over.  It would be better to say God used the time of rebellion to bring greater glory to himself in the eventual conversion of the person.  It should drive you to adore your baptism more if God chose not to thrust you into a time outside of the camp, if he allowed you to live continually in the light of his countenance from the time of your baptism.

The very fact that God commands you to be baptized and to baptize your children is cause enough to believe in your right to baptism.  Your duty to be baptized is a privilege of citizenship.  Circumcision was a duty commanded to the Israelites.  This rite was also extended to the children and the slaves and aliens living among them.  What a privilege to be marked with the sign of citizenship of the Kingdom of God, especially for those who were not naturally born.  Baptism replaced circumcision as the continuing sign for the church.  The right was extended to us, the aliens accepted by God.  Believers must wear their baptism as a banner.  We don’t need t-shirts or bumper stickers.  Our baptism is the clothing of white, the proof of God’s promise.

In the reformed faith we use the phrase “improve your baptism.”  By this we mean that we use our baptism for something other than just some tradition or rite.  We do not just perform the ceremony and move on.  It is to stay in the forefront of our faith.  When faced with temptation, our baptism is a weapon for the fight.  Being clothed in the battledress of Christ, our baptism, we should be reminded of our apparel and what it signifies.  When we witness another’s baptism we reflect on why Christ instituted it, and its benefits.  We are to be humbled by the experience and how our sin defiles it.  The assurance of God’s pardon is represented in it.  Baptism is a means of God’s Grace.  We improve our baptism by using it. Like reading our bibles, hearing the word preached, praying, partaking in the Lord’s supper, and fellowshipping with the church, baptism is a way of strengthening and nourishing our faith.  Like water flowing from pipe, if we stand back and don’t drink we will remain thirsty.  Take of the water and use your baptism along with all the other means of grace.  Like a vitamin deficiency if you are not using all of these means, for example improving your baptism, how do you expect to have a healthy faith?  I hear so often, “I’m just not growing at my church.  We don’t have enough activities. The worship is just not uplifting. (blah, blah, blah),”  my response usually is not what they are looking for.  I usually ask them how are they using God’s means of grace.  I can guarantee one, if not several of the six things I just mentioned, is missing.  Without fail, improving upon their baptism is always one.  It doesn’t take a PhD, MD, nor DD(Doctor of Divinity) to figure out what is wrong with them.  They are “vitamin deficient.”  They have left some of God’s grace on their plates.

Hopefully your baptism came with the complete package.  What I mean is, I hope your baptism came with the rest of Christ’s commission to the Church.  The Great Commission, Matthew 28:16-20 is most often understood to be a personal call to evangelism.  We certainly are to be witnesses for Christ, but this is not the verse to use as your personal call to do so.  This verse is directed to the leadership of the Church, as the intended original audience were the first Pastors.  Before this event the apostles were disciples. Now they are ordained to go plant churches and to carry the evangel, the gospel, to the world.  This included baptizing, discipling, and teaching obedience.  Sadly, the church today is typically lacking two of the three duties required to complete the mission.  There is a plethora of baptizing, but not much disciplined teaching.  With your baptism was discipleship included?  Were you directed to be instructed and sit under the tutelage of instruction in righteousness?  Probably not.  Yes, maybe you did have Sunday School class.  But more than likely this was fluff or some pooling of ignorance where their was more sharing than teaching.  The apostles walked with Christ for three years if intensive study.  The Church was what Christ instituted for the continuance of his instruction.  You were done a great disservice if you baptized and then left to fend for yourself.  The Church that does not disciple and teach is not by definition a Church.  It is a civic organization.

Don’t get me wrong.  This is not a reason to quit your body of believers.  You must first do your part to improve your baptism and to take advantage of what your church does offer.  You must be connected to a Church.  You cannot be a separatist and just church yourself.  That is not biblical, baring isolation not of your own making.  You must plug in somewhere, it is a right and a duty of your baptism.  The perfect Church does not exist in this life.  If you are looking for one and find it, don’t join.  You will ruin it by your need for perfection.

Take heed to your baptism now while there is time.  Use it for God’s Glory and your good.  Improve it by studying it and thinking often of it.  Do not forsake what God was so gracious and pleased to give you.

 

Question 5: Part 4

How we respond to sin in ourselves should always produce a sense of hatred and disgust.  The thrust of those emotions must however be properly directed.  The force of our response properly applied results in the God intended consequences of humbling and correcting us.  But how we respond to the sin of others is perhaps one of the most misguided aspects of Christian living.  Because all things work for the good of the believer, even the sin of others can, if properly evaluated, be a great help to us.

We are to always look mercifully upon those who are caught in sin, especially when they are brothers and sisters in Christ.  Quite often, like the Pharisee, our initial response is to think we are above or immune to the very same fault.  Though we may never verbalize it,  we have, at least, a small tendency to look down upon them.  Using David once again, we must always assume we are just as likely to commit the most vile sin as anyone else.  Never place yourself in the category of immunity.  Pride can infect even the most mature of believers and cause a greater injury when a fall does occur from such heights.  Humility will protect you when your fall occurs, and it will.

God uses the sin of others for his glory.  Particularly when the sinner is presumed to be an especially Godly person.  Even the greatest of the biblical examples in scripture have been used by God to prove this point.  As an exercise, think of the these examples from scripture. From Adam to Peter, God has provided examples how he glorifies himself from man’s failures.  Now think of examples that you have personally experienced.  Has even your pastor fallen before your eyes.  Tragic as it may seem, these ordained servants of God prove themselves to be only human.  Try as we might to place them in a category of immunity, they often fall in the greatest of sins.  How they and we respond to that sin is most important to the proper utilization of Gods providence.

An experience that affected me most notably occurred while serving as a Ruling Elder.  A pastor within my presbytery had been charged with adultery by the governing body.  This otherwise godly man, a longtime shepherd of his flock, in a time of great weakness, had an affair with a woman in his congregation.  We were asked by the judiciary committee to affirm their ruling in the matter.   The man was to be defrocked from the ministry.  Many tears were shed that day, as his wife stood before a room full of Elders, and acknowledged her forgiveness of her husband and their reconciliation.  Though I could not know the mind of all the men in attendance, looking around I could see the pain and empathy on many faces.  We knew that not one of us were immune from the very same predicament.  For we were all merely men, sinners justly deserving God’s displeasure.  If any could say they were never tempted or if tempted would certainly stand, they were under a delusion.

The sin of this one man served the Glory of God in a multitude of ways.  Men were humbled, justice was served, and warnings were heeded.  But even more moving was the evidence of God’s mercy.  Though many scars would remain from deep wounds, reconciliation was had.  The man was forgiven.  His wife forgave him.  The Church forgave him.  God forgave him.  Yes, he lost his calling and would never shepherd his flock again, but he received the mercy being wrapped in the loving arms of his wife, his brothers of that assembly, and his elder brother, Christ Jesus.  By the outworking of his sin, many would profit.  To God be the Glory.

Our response to Boston’s question, “Why the Lord suffereth sin to remain in the regenerate?”, must be tempered with caution.  God’s providence does not give license for sin.  We must never swing to the left and grant ourselves and others liberty in sin.  This has been a great evil in the Church since the dawn of time.  Though God allows sin to remain, we do not have authority to justify any transgression, whether by commission nor omission.  We must only submit to God’s sovereignty in the matter.  As Eli responded in the face of God’s sovereignty so must we say, “He is the LORD. Let him do what is right in His eyes.”

Boston has here provided a rare look at some reasons for why God has ordained the continuance of sin in his elect.  As this blog is designed to assist the reader in their struggles in the faith, let me say, that in studying and writing these last four posts I have benefited greatly.  If you struggle with sin then you are growing.  The thrill of victory will come in the end, but the agony of defeat will make you stronger for the fight.  Have joy and assurance in the fact that God grants you the fight.

Question 5: Part 3

As we have been exploring Boston’s fifth question to himself, “Why the Lord suffereth sin to remain in the regenerate?”, we have seen how God uses evil for good.  But have you ever considered of the level of heinousness of certain sins to other apparently benign sins.  For example, compare the violation of the fourth and sixth commandments.  Keeping holy the Sabbath Day verses murder.  If you conducted a man on the street survey, you would find that most would respond that murder is worse from God’s perspective than to work on Sunday.  But what if you asked the church the same question?  What if a regenerate person, who has the benefit of the illumination of the Spirit of God, being washed by the blood of the Lamb, and accepted by the Father into his family does, week after week, treat Sunday like Saturday.  Aside from spending a couple of hours at the church building, the rest of the Lord’s Day is spent as a day for recreation, and yard work just like the day before.  Now contrast the careless treatment of the Sabbath with a murder committed by the most vile unbeliever you can imagine.  Which sin is most heinous?  Which sin deserves the most wrath of God?

The sins of the regenerate man are far more heinous than those of the ignorant.  The unregenerate mind and soul is under a delusion, a barrier to their recognizing the heinousness of sin.  Though not an excuse to relieve the guilt of sin, the dead heart of the unbelieving murderer makes his sin less of an affront to God.  The believer who, week after week, fails to honor God by flippantly treating the Lord’s Day as some antiquated tradition rather than an imperative command, is so much the vile offender.  We, who are the called by God, can offer no excuse for our outright rebellion against God.  We do it with malice aforethought.  We conspire against Him, by making plans with ourselves as to the justification for what we do.  Just as Abraham told Sarah to lie about who she was to him if asked, we justify our sins by trying to downplay their seriousness.  Every sin we commit, knowing it to be sin, is felonious.  As the Pharisee should have been the first to recognize Jesus as the Messiah, the regenerate should be the last to turn a blind eye to the law of God.

Considering this perspective, how great is the power and glory of God to pardon our sin.  How wonderful his mercy and how endless his grace to look past our transgressions.  God loves to display his attributes.  How better to display them than the forgiveness of our sins, those of us who should know better.

God’s strength is manifested in the rooting out of sin.  God shows his power when, after many years of backsliding and continuing in deeply held sin, he pulls from the marrow of our bones, these idols of sin we have held so tightly to.  How glorious the savior appears when that day arrives and we can say God has delivered us from that body of death and the love of what God hates.

Our remaining sin and our struggle with it magnifies who Christ is and what he accomplished.  Christ’s sinless life should humble us and show us what weak creatures we are.  Our inability to go a moment without sin should prove to us the worthiness of Christ to receive all laud and honor.  Our weakness should cause us to be more inclined to forgive those who sin against us.  The remaining sin of the most devout follower of Christ is good for keeping him humble.  “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound. That saved a wretch like me.”