Christians seek the true embrace. Are we victors in the war? For I confess that “the Scriptures [picture all mankind as sinners] shut up and imprisoned by sin, so that [the inheritance, blessing] which was promised through faith in Jesus Christ (the Messiah) might be given (released, delivered, and committed) to [all] those who believe [who adhere to and trust in and rely on Him]” (Galatians 3:22).
All tongues (as in our mouths), the Scripture says, are perverse and in sin. But the victory that Christians perceive with their spiritual eyes does not come from physical things. For the Christian “walks by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). And the Christian knows that the victory is not given to the “swift” or “strong” (Ecclesiastes 9:11).
Now, it appears that if Scripture imprisons all people under sin, that freedom and victory are impossible. If Scripture imprisons people under sin, it would appear that people’s mouths are imprisoned as well.
So are we to run to sin’s prison? Are we guilty, and can only turn ourselves in to the authorities of sin? Does a warrant for our arrest make us so earnestly turn ourselves in because of what appears true? Are we to make plans for our mouths’ imprisonment to sin’s profane chains?
The world would have us see our spiritual journey as this long defeat. It would have us understand our mouths as ultimately faulty and imperfect. “It’s okay to be content with a profane mouth,” the world says. “There’s no need to try to be perfect or speak Godly all the time. None of us,” the world expresses, “can speak Godly.” “God,” the world continues, “will still accept your imperfection.”
How the world always leaves out half of the truth and inserts just enough falsity to cancel the truth out! Because of people’s imperfection, the world tells people to embrace their imperfection. “Embrace who you are,” the world beckons. “We’re all different, so what some see as sin is really their inability to see humanness and uniqueness.” Therefore, people embrace differences and individuality over sameness and righteousness.
Because of people’s imperfection, people should embrace something, but individuality and uniqueness are not what to embrace. What achievement is our seeing personal imperfection and then taking comfort in it? Is this contentment not a selfish position to take? Rather, if one is imperfect (if one knows that he or she cannot speak with perfect speech), should not that same person take comfort in the opposite—perfection?
That is to say if one knows that the tongue causes sorrow, why would one take consolation in the sorrow-causing tongue? That is to say, if I know a specific painting in the museum makes me feel sad, I should not copy this painting and hang it on my wall. How can disconsolation be consolation simultaneously?
So we read “that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (Galatians 3:14, 18-19). The Christian knows the true embrace is not imperfection or individuality but Jesus as the very image of God and perfection. The true embrace is not superficial, like the world’s, which encourages people to embrace uniqueness. No.
The true embrace is on the spiritual level and does not, as the world does, finish its cycle in a one-way expression of superficial affection—as in the person to him or herself. No. The Christian embraces perfection with a hope that such affection will rescue his or her soul.
How the world’s embrace is cold and lonely (Ecclesiastes 4:11)! But the true embrace of the Christian is toward Jesus Christ who returns faith with a promise (Galatians 3:18; Romans 4:13-16). And so we read that “this is the promise that he (Jesus Christ) himself made to us: eternal life” (1 John 2:25). This promise is given to those who “confess with their mouths the Lord Jesus and believe in their hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead” (Romans 10:9). Who can be warm or find any consolation by hugging him or herself?
Should we not try to embrace Jesus Christ? For sure, God is so big that our embrace may look like outstretched hands that never wrap around anything. But this is exactly how God wants us positioned or gestured—with our hands out wide longing for all of Him!
Indeed, although this embrace (the true embrace for and from God) never ends on earth, it is definitely an embrace that leads to everlasting life, not “everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2). This embrace is an outstretched body, mind, soul, and strength toward Jesus Christ in an extreme show of faith—the ability to rely on God’s promise totally without our seeing it physically (Hebrew 11:1). The world encourages us to embrace ourselves in the most superficial way. But the Christian embraces outwardly and inwardly in the deepest way, the only way that can satisfy the soul.
The world is content with itself, but it’s better to do as the Christian who is discontent with the self (in self-renunciation), but also content with the perfection of another, Jesus Christ who returns such contentment (which is also a show of extreme faith) with a promise of eternal life.
To be sure, affection is necessary, but it’s better to show affection the right way and to the Way (John 14:6). When we embrace the Truth and the Way to eternal life, we do not become consoled with temporal life or its promises. We become dissatisfied with the world’s promises and only become satisfied with God’s promises, which always come true (2 Corinthians 1:20).
Therefore, although Scripture imprisons us and our mouths in sin (as the police and law imprison criminals), the Christian does not take comfort in this relationship of the law to the criminal. No. The Christian takes comfort in his or her knowing that Jesus Christ is the new Law who we have faith in to make us and our speech innocent once again.