May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thess. 5:23)

Methodists are sometimes wrongfully accused of teaching that it is possible to live without fault in this life. In my sixty-three years of being associated with the Wesleyan denomination, I have never heard any pastor, denominational leader, or professor say faultless living is possible. The only person who has or ever will live without error is Jesus. All the rest of us will, at some point, fall very short of that standard of absolute, holy living.

But there is a significant and important difference between living “faultlessly” and living “blamelessly.” Clearly our key verse for today indicates it is possible to live blamelessly. The distinction between faultless and blameless is seen in Psalm 19:13, which states that blameless living is not being involved in willful sin. At conversion, and further reinforced by the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, Christ-followers can live in such a way that they do not willfully choose to disobey the known will of God (see James 4:17). A child of God may stumble, falter, err, mess up, forget, neglect, or even disappoint God or others, but the God who sees the heart’s intent knows the difference between conscious rebellion to his will, and those who simply expressed human frailties.

Together, we can be thankful that we serve a God who looks on the heart more than on the outward appearance.

Look more at the heart intents of others, rather than their actions.

Stephen Elliott serves as national superintendent of The Wesleyan Church of Canada and part-time teacher at Kingswood University. He is a happy grandfather of four girls.

© 2019 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.