‘Love never fails. But whether there are prophesies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away (1 Corinthians 13:8).’
All of us are born failures because we are the offspring of Adam who failed God big time. God gave him and his wife Eve (cf. Genesis 3:20) a paradise in which to live, with one condition: they were to obey Him (Genesis 2:15-17). Both of them failed (Genesis 3), and Adam was held responsible (3:16), not only for the failure of his wife, but also for his own failure (3:17-19). The outcome for them and their progeny was spiritual and physical death (2:17).
Although they died spiritually and physically, their souls [Heb. nephesh] did not – since a person’s soul lives forever (Isaiah 55:3; Ezekiel 3:21; Habakkuk 2:4) and it is destined either for heaven or for hell (Psalm 16:10; 86:13). After death the body putrefies and returns to the earth from whence it came (Genesis 3:19). Death is the failure of the spirit [Greek pnyoo’-mah] with a small ’s’, which is the life-force that sustains the body. Jesus, the unique Man, whose physical lineage is traceable to Adam (Luke 3:23-38), voluntarily gave up His spirit (John 19:30). Only God the Son could could have done this; for He is Life (John 14:6), the One who gives life to all (John 5:21; 6:33) and takes it away (Deuteronomy 32:39). His death on the cross was a triumph, not a failure; since His Father raised Him (Acts 5:30) with a spiritual body (1 Corinthians 15:44, 45, 49) to sit at His *right hand.
Moses failed God at Meribah when he disobeyed Him by speaking to the people before striking the rock for water (Numbers 20:7-12). God told him to speak to the rock – not to the people, and He did not command him to strike the rock with his rod. The price he paid for his failure to ‘hallow’ God (v. 12) was death and exclusion from the promised land (Deuteronomy 34:1-6).
King David failed God in his adultery with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11:4, 5) knowing full well that what he did was against God’s commandment (Exodus 20:14). Furthermore he arranged the death of her husband Uriah (2 Samuel 11:6-17), so that he would be free to marry her. The upshot was that God caused their illegitimate son to die (12:15-19). David pleaded to God for forgiveness for the evil he had done (Psalm 51).
King Solomon failed God by having for himself seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines (1 Kings 11:3), and because of them ‘his heart was not loyal to the LORD his God, as was the heart of his father David (v. 4).’
The Bible records a catalogue of failures, not least, the failure of His chosen **people who disobeyed Him (Isaiah 1:2; 65:2-5, 11, 12; Romans 10:21) and lacked faith (Hebrews 4:2) in Him.
Perhaps the most well known failure is the Apostle Peter. After promising Jesus he would lay down his life for Him (John 13:37, 38) he was found wanting when Jesus was brought before the high priest. On that stressful occasion, Peter denied knowing Him three times (18:17, 25-27).
The good news is that God restores and builds up failures who ***repent of their sins. He forgives them, and accounts them righteous (Romans 4:5-8; 2 Corinthians 5:21) through the substitutionary sacrifice of His Son on the cross. God perfects them in Him (John 17:23), and in due time they will dwell with Him in the new heaven and earth (Revelation 21:1-7) where there will be no failures.
*At the Right Hand of God
**Biblical Perspective – God’s People