On March 27, 2020, police in the Czech town of Lazne Bohdanec responded to reports of a gathering of people violating the law. It appears that half of the 150 persons were not complying with government requirements to wear face masks.
The police forewarned the violators to wear masks and maintain social distancing to prevent the spread of the Corona virus. The violators complied and thus, no arrests were made.
What made this incident newsworthy is that, after donning their masks and complying with the law, everyone was otherwise completely naked. This event was actually a gathering of nudists who were previously sunning themselves. While it is true that they were “law abiding” in this aspect, they were also as indecently attired as possible.
This reminds me of people who believe themselves to be religious because they observe one aspect of faith – perhaps attending Mass or a worship service – but live like any other sinner the rest of the week. Can you imagine the how irresponsible this reasoning would sound?
“I’m obeying the law by wearing my mask. Who cares if I’m also showing off my flabby, wrinkled, and ugly body by not wearing a stitch of clothing?”
“I’m a good person because I attend church. Who cares if I don’t give God a thought the rest of the week?”
“I’m a kind person because I love my pets. Who cares if I treat the human beings made in God’s image like dirt?”
Both Paul and James condemned the false confidence of people who pride themselves on keeping one or two aspects of the Law, while violating others. Such people are still lawbreakers in God’s sight (Romans 2:17-25; James 2:10-11). This is why Peter commanded us, “Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone” (2 Peter 1:5-7, NLT). In the words of Jesus, “You must be perfect even as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).
This truth also applies to many Christian believers who think might think, “If I can just overcome this one weakness in my life, I’ll be good to go. If I can just overcome my violent temper, my addiction, my sinful habit, my arrogance, my impure thoughts and motives, my pride, my lust, my greed, my bitterness… then all my problems will be over.” It’s certainly a good start to overcome that one problem. But we’ve only progressed as far as a nudist putting on a face mask. We have a lot more of God’s virtues to put on.
Therefore, as long as we live on earth we’ll never have any reason to be self-righteous. There’ll always be another problem staring us in the face, another enemy stronghold to overcome. As we grow in our spiritual journey, we will only become increasingly aware of our desperate need for God’s forgiveness, grace, and power. Humility and compassion for others are the true indicators of spiritual maturity.
Let us then strive to be like Jesus (1 John 2:6). While we we may fall short in one area or another, we must have faith, and always rely upon God’s grace and Christ’s atonement. Despite our human nature, believers should continually pursue perfection, as we are called to act like our heavenly Father in everything we do (Matthew 5:48; Ephesians 5:1).
Dear Father in heaven, I humbly acknowledge that without Your grace, and the free gift of Your righteousness through Jesus, I am poor, wretched, blind, and naked. Please forgive, cleanse, and renew me. Please search my troubled heart, diagnose my problems, and administer Your cure. Day by day, little by little, make me more and more like Jesus, I pray. Amen.
(Information from: https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/czech-nudists-virus-police/index.html)