One inclusive thing that arises from the Lord is whether a vessel fulfills the specific purpose for it or whether it has lost it in a desire for just general usefulness. The Bible would not have been written if the Lord were simply taking the view that no one can be perfect and that being nominal-minded is acceptable. We may be thankful to the Lord for anything that there is in this world which is good and is of Himself, and we are grateful that the Lord should have any witness in a world like this; but, oh, so far as His own people are concerned, so far as the Church is concerned, that never satisfies Him. Of that we may be quite sure.
Many people say: ‘No one can be perfect and it is fruitless to try to get perfection! Why not be satisfied with what is commendable about the Church today? Take it as it is! Accept it and be thankful that there are so many who belong to the Lord and bear His name in a world like this!’ I find that this record does not allow of that. God knows that we are grateful that there are believers in this world, be they but poor ones. You are thankful for the smallest thing that speaks of Him. Oh, but when you come to see God’s purpose, when you see that what He has designed for His Church is the occasion of His call, His choosing in Christ, you can never be satisfied with nominalism, or with general goodness.
None of the New Testament Letters would have been written if the Lord was satisfied with the merely nominal. There has never been anything perfect, but the serious matter is that of our attitude, to “not having yet attained”. Paul said: “I am not yet perfect, but…”, and very much hung upon that “but”. The churches in Revelation had accepted their imperfect condition.
The Lord has reservations when it comes to the question of fulfilling the purpose for which a vessel was raised up. God will not commit Himself wholly to that vessel viewing its past history of divine blessing and usefulness or great reputation for good works, or any such good thing. None of these things is an adequate justification for the Lord to commit Himself.