Yes, we come in our sin, as men who are but dust. Yes, the best men are just men, and we all stumble in many ways, and there will always be this flesh that does not submit to God and is not able to—flesh that is, as I’ve heard it said, “unredeemed and unredeemable” (Rom. 8.7). The best kinds of Christians to be around are Christians who know that, who understand what it feels like to be weak and to fail.
But we don’t come together only wallow in our sin and commiserate, coddling each other in our sin week after week after week, month after month, year after year.
“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love” (Eph. 4.11–16).
In other words, the purpose of corporate body life is not to merely bemoan our sin together, but to grow together into Christ-likeness in every single way. It’s literally right there in the text; I’m not making this up.
So…in what ways is Jesus like Jesus, and in what ways am I not? What was Jesus like in purity, in truth, in courage, in patience, in principle, in grace, in faithfulness, in selflessness, in consistency, in doctrine? The answer to that question is the goal of the Christian life, and the accomplishment of that goal is inherently corporate, because we are members together of his body.
I am so thankful for the brothers around me with whom I can share my weakness, who understand that they are just as miserable as I am. But what I am really thankful for is that they don’t allow me to stay there. They encourage me to get back on the horse, to be encouraged by what God is doing in my life and in the lives of those around me, and they push me to press on in Christ.
The goal of corporate honesty is to press on together into maturity.