Referencing Eph. 5:27. How can a Christian know if they are without blemish, etc.?
closed as not constructive by wax eagle♦ Aug 23 '12 at 15:34
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The context of this verse is both immediate and a foreshadowing of the coming age.
Currently, Jesus washes us with the water of His word in order to purify us and sanctify us. Salvation is given to us once, and after that we are sanctified continually to be made like Jesus (Heb. 10:14). We are set apart and continually being likened to His image. Not that we become God, as some religions say. But His nature is more evident in our lives. His virtue permeates our being. His peace, love, joy, (etc) become our peace, love, joy (etc.).
This also refers to a time when Jesus presents the bride to Himself. In Revelation 19:6-9, we see a beautiful picture of the Bride of Christ. She is adorned in white and is pure and spotless. As the end continually draws near, great darkness will (and already has) cover the Earth. People will become progressively more and more evil. God counters this by raising up His people in true humility and righteousness. A people that are strong and deeply rooted in Him. A Bride equally yoked with Jesus. Doing His works, and preaching His Gospel. The Bride of Christ speaks to us both personally and as a whole, since the individuals make up the Bride.
Hope this made sense and helps :)
Warning, extremely Catholic Answer
this answer contains mariology and a veiled reference to purgatory
It is the calling of the whole Church to be without stain or blemish, not just a personal thing. The Mystical Church is the spotless bride of Christ. We can't corrupt it by out faults.
Furthermore, there is only one human, living in the time of Christ, who has ever been free from the stain of original sin, the Holy Mother of God. That is why Mary is the model of the Church and the model of sanctity.
It's not without reason that Catholics place Mary a little higher than the Angels. She was created without blemish, having attained by God's singular grace salvation, through Christ, before her birth.
But what we can tell, is that it's Christ's desire that His church be spotless
So, it's not so much that we can know that we are without blemish, or that for any amount of time after our baptism we will be without blemish, or even if we are without blemish that we will be free from the effects of sin. Until, of course, we are reunited with Christ in Heaven, in the Church Triumphant.
(Warning: this is a rather Catholic answer as well)
St. Augustine and others explain that "without blemish" refers to the doctrine, sacraments, discipline, and practices approved by the Catholic Church. In the same way that the Jews were protected from teaching error before Christ, the Catholic Church, by the power of the Holy Spirit, is protected from teaching error (even if a great many members of the Church fall into error personally).