I was a sophomore at Alabama Christian College when my teacher, Dr. Rex Turner, Sr, said to a classroom of young men who were planning to be preachers of the gospel of Christ that “All men have clay feet.” I thought to myself, what a profound saying, but what does it mean?” Now after decades of dealing with humanity, I have learned what he meant. Regardless of the status, prominence, position and power a person may have, many have proven that “all men have clay feet.” Kings, presidents, governors, senators, legislatures, mayors, yes, and even preachers have proven that all men have weaknesses and flaws in their character. How often have we heard of great leaders and influential persons who have been found guilty of acts of immorality and dishonesty and have brought shame and reproach on their families, friends and even their country. Now there is Joe Paterno, legendary football coach at Penn State University, a man whose reputation for some 60 years has permeated the world of athletics and has been known for his gentleman ways and fairness. A person we all respected and felt like it was an honor that our favorite football team could have the privilege of playing against him and his teams. How sad that his lengthy career should end in such a dishonorable fashion. But, coach Paterno, like the rest of us, has proven beyond the shadow of a doubt, that “all men have clay feet”.
The apostle Paul in writing to the church in Rome stated that “There is none righteous, no, not one”: and, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:10, 23). Even Paul had personal problems and he had to practice self-control, lest he should bring shame to the name of Jesus Christ. Read carefully what he wrote in 1 Corinthians 9:27: “But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” The apostle of love, John, wrote concerning the children of God: “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us”; and, “If we say that we have not sinned; we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” (1 John 1:8, 10). In short, “all men have clay feet”. The only person who has lived on the earth and who did not have “clay feet” was the sinless Son of God, Jesus Christ. Oh yes, He was “in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Matthew 4:1-11; Hebrews 4:15). Jesus Christ died on Calvary and shed His precious blood that we all could be forgiven of our sins (Ephesians 1:7; John 3:16; Hebrews 2:9). To the sinners on Pentecost who became believers in Jesus as being the Christ, the apostle Peter instructed them to “repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sin; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:36-38). And Christians who falter along life’s way and sin, we have this blessed assurance: “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin”; and, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:7, 9). Perfect people, we are not, but thanks be to God for His infinite grace, love and mercy, we can be forgiven.