Drawing Near

A Pastoral Perspective on Biblical, Theological, & Cultural Issues | The Personal Website of James B. Law, Ph.D.



August 2011



Integers or Fractions

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Recently, I read on the internet that one can get a fake doctor’s excuse for absences.  “Want a day off from work?  No problem.  Want to avoid a test at school?  We’ve got you covered.  Want to avoid a legal proceeding? No sweat. For $15 you can receive your genuine doctor’s excuse that you can print right off of your computer.”  One website made this incredible offer, “We will assign to you a Personal Alibi Specialist available 24 hours a day who will assist you throughout your case.”  A personal alibi coach? What do they do, help you keep your story straight?

As we look around us, we see a colossal slide of integrity in every aspect of life.  From the government, to the corporate world, to the institution of marriage, and even within the ranks of the church, we are witnessing an integrity crisis.

Not surprisingly, the Scripture has much to say about “integrity.”  The word itself is mentioned over twenty-five times in the Old Testament.  The Hebrew word means “wholeness” or “completeness”.  We understand the thrust of the word when we look to mathematics and see that an integer is a whole number, as opposed to a fraction.

This idea emerges from the Bible in that God calls us to integrity, to wholeness. In fact, only those who live in integrity abide in God’s presence and with God’s blessing (Psalm 15:1,2). However, this poses a problem for us, namely, we all face our own integrity crises.  We don’t keep our own resolutions, let alone God’s commands.  Honestly, we are all shot through with integrity breaches.

King David, whose sins of murder and adultery are showcased on the pages of the Bible, was nevertheless a man who pursued integrity even though he had failed miserably at times in his life. In Psalm 101, David declared, “I will walk within my house in the integrity of my heart.” He further stated that he would set no worthless thing before his eyes and that he would possess a zero tolerance for perversion and deception within the walls of his house.

How do we find our way back when we seem to have lost our way? How do we come to terms with our own failures and lack of integrity?  Nothing seems to drag more stubbornly than a sack of failures. In wrestling with that reality, I find incredible encouragement in John 5 as Jesus Christ said to a man who was crippled, “Do you want to be made whole?”

 In essence, that is the message extended to every one of us through the Gospel.  Like Humpty-dump, we have had a great fall.  But the heart of the Gospel is that God, in His grace, takes our fractured lives, and through the work of His Son begins to rebuild our broken world.

Warren Wiersbe once quipped, “In order to understand integrity, we must first realize that two forces are at work in the world today: 1. God is putting things together, and  2. Sin is tearing things apart.  God wants to make integers, Satan want to make fractions.”

 Which will you be?


  1. Jimmy

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