Did Jesus make us ‘flawless’ at the Cross?

According to the popular Christian song, “Flawless”, when Jesus went to the cross he made us ‘flawless’. To be fair, the song has a catchy tune, excellent instrumentation, and is really well sung! The song also speaks highly of God’s Amazing Grace:

Well let me introduce you to amazing grace. . .

Could it possibly be
That we simply can’t believe
That this unconditional
Kind of love would be enough
To take a filthy wretch like this
And wrap him up in righteousness
But that’s exactly what He did

That believers are sinful human beings clothed in the righteous of Jesus Christ is one of the greatest truths in all of scripture!

At the same time there is the often-repeated chorus that says. . .

No matter the bumps
No matter the bruises
No matter the scars
Still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless
No matter the hurt
Or how deep the wound is
No matter the pain
Still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless

So here’s the question for which I have been accused of ‘theological nit-picking: Is being ‘wrapped up in righteousness’ the same as being ‘flawless’?

To that question I must answer with a resounding ‘NO!’ ? I submit to you that although in Christ we are ‘wrapped up in His righteousness’, but we are far from ‘flawless’.

The term ‘flawless’ literally means perfect, without a blemish, without any mistakes or shortcomings. Folks, that’s not me, you, or anyone else. I’m sure you would agree with me.

We might be wrapped up in the flawlessness of Christ as we stand before God, but in no way are we ‘flawless’. We still sin daily in countless ways.

So what’s the big deal? Just a couple of things:

1. Even if the song’s author didn’t intend the literal meaning of ‘flawless’ in the song, but was talking about the believer’s flawlessness IN Christ, most listeners either cannot or will not pick up on that distinction. They will listen to and love the song because it tells them (over and over again) that the Cross has made THEM flawless. Regardless of what the song’s author might have intended, the words say otherwise.

2. It is Christ who is flawless, not us. We will all die as flawed sinful human beings. But for the righteousness of Christ with which we are clothed, we would spend eternity separated from God in a very dark and painful place.

3. The song ends up being man-centered and not God-glorifying at its core. The hearer is encouraged to focus more on his/her ‘flawlessness’ than God’s righteousness and the great sacrifice of His Son on the cross.

Theological nit-picking? Maybe, but I don’t think so. The man-centeredness of this song typifies much, if not most of contemporary Christian music. Some if it is really good, but most of it is about ‘us’ in one way or another.

So here’s my final question. Is man-centered Christian worship music, or man-centered Christianity, really ‘Christian’?

I’ll leave it there.

“Of course  it’s true, it’s on the Internet!”

We laugh at that notion, as if no one with of a functioning brain would swallow such a ridiculous idea! Only a complete idiot would believe that!

At the same time, some of us who profess Christ would subscribe to a slightly different notion:

“The music is fantastic, it MUST be a great church!”

Well, don’t we? (Rhetorical question) Whether it’s tender lyrics that make us feel all loved and warm inside, electric guitar riffs accompanied by loud pounding drums reminscent of our non-believing days, or somewhere in between, we automatically assume we’re in a great church!

But is it true, or are we getting ‘Hooked on a Feeling’, like B. J. Thomas used to sing. (aging myself?)

At ths point I have to admit that I have two specific ‘churches’ in mind, Hillsong and Bethel. I recently visited family in Texas and the music of both was glowingly spoken of. A friend at work, when I asked him if he had a good weekend, said yes and going to the recently released Hillsong movie was part of it. If you don’t know, it was billed primarily as ‘experiencing’ worship. You can hardly find a church thesemdaysmthat doesn’t play Hillsong and Bethel music on a regular basis.

In case you think / this a Hillsong/Bethel bash fest, don’t worry, it’s not. I’ll leave it to you to investigate their respective ‘doctrines’, vision statements, etc.
Some of you won’t have an issue with Word of Faith, the prosperity gospel, glory clouds, gold dust, dead raising teams, etc.. If you are one of those, I encourage you to read the Bible, in context, and ask yourself if they are biblical.

In fact, I would ask us all to be a bit more discerning when it comes to both contemporary Christian music and the doctrine(s) held by the churches who have laid classical theology rich hymns aside in order to attract more of the ‘unchurched’. Hillsong and Bethel aren’t the only ones dispensaing spiritual junk food.

While you’re examining the church behind the music, also ask yourself if the preaching there is more about you and your felt needs, or God and his glory.

Happy discerning!