Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Perfectly Imperfect

"With one sacrifice he made perfect forever those who are being made holy."
Hebrews 10:14

I love this verse because it is a verse that actually mentions salvation and growth in the same sentence. Satan loves for us to be focused only on one aspect of our salvation at a time. When we focus only on the initial salvation--being saved from the penalty from our sin--we can be content in our sin knowing Christ paid for it. On the other hand, when we focus only on sanctification process of growth, we live in fear and don't enjoy our relationship with the Lord. Some even keep trying to earn salvation and never enjoy the peace that is available because of the finished work of Christ. When we forget about the future promise of being free from the presence of sin in our lives and in the lives of others we can end up feeling despair.

First, let's focus on the first part of the verse. With Christ’s death He made us 
perfect forever. Do we really believe that? Do we believe that Jesus took all of our sin in His body suffered God's wrath for our sin? John 1:29 says, "…the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world." These verses indicate God is not waiting for us to mess up so that He can write it in a book to hold over our heads. He is not keeping score. The truth is He has taken our sin away forever--never to use it against us. That is an amazing truth! Scripture talks about us being clothed in righteousness. A King has adopted us and when we arrived in His Kingdom we were given a new set of clothes befitting the King's kids. It would not make sense for us to have put these new clothes on top of our old dirty smelly rags. The king totally took our clothes of unrighteousness away! God totally takes our sin and clothes us in His righteousness. That is grace and mercy all rolled up in one.

What we do with the knowledge of His grace and mercy is crucial. Shouldn’t we become better

people? I would suggest that the answer to that questions is a resounding, “Yes!” But, it is not to secure or prove our salvation, it is a response of love to His radical love. Becoming better people won’t make us any more saved or anymore loved. When we trusted Christ, we were adopted and became His children. We were sealed by the Holy Spirit until the day of Redemption. Nothing we do will ever add to that and nothing we do can diminish that. We can have complete and perfect peace with God, because there is now no condemnation for those in Christ.

However, He has left us here on earth to glorify Him and to reflect our Father's nature to those in

the world. God could have instantly transformed us or taken us to heaven, but He chose not to. It is as we serve each other out of love that He is glorified. It is as our bitterness is transformed into forgiveness that He is glorified. It is as our anger is turned to peace, as our fear gives way to courage, as our selfishness is replaced by gratefulness that we will glorify Him. It is as our judgmental attitude is replaced with graciousness, as our condoning sin is replaced by speaking His Truth in love, and our hatred is replaced with sacrificial love that He is glorified. It is growth, not human perfectionism or remaining in sin that glorifies Him. It is as we are changed and molded into His likeness so that we reflect His character to the world around us that He is glorified.

God did all of the work for our salvation on the cross and is simply drawing us to Himself. He has instructed us to renew our minds with His word and instructed us to love each other. He has exhorted us to serve each other and to examine our hearts so that we can rid ourselves of the sins that entangle us. Is that too much for Him to ask, in light of what He has done for us? Sometimes we mistakenly think it is. We need to remember there is no shame in being human because Christ created us, He knows we are but dust. He knew we were born in a fallen state and we would sin every day and He still chose to die for every sin. Yet, He asks us to pursue Him, His kingdom, and His righteousness so men will see our good deeds and glorify Him. What is the benefit of it all? It is through a day-by-day, moment-by-moment walk with Him that allows us to become more holy and develop a deep intimacy with Him and it is through the intimacy that we experience His love and His power. Too often we forget the most important benefit of knowing God, is God Himself.

Are we basking in His sacrifice, but taking advantage of His grace? Or have we forgotten that His sacrifice was once and for all and trying to earn His "favor" through our lives, depriving ourselves of His peace? Hopefully, our pursuit of holiness is born out of a heart that is truly at peace with its Creator. Hopefully, our pursuit of holiness is born out of a desire to express love for Him and a desire to abide in the presence of His love. Hopefully, our pursuit of holiness is born out of a desire to make Him known through a lifestyle that reflects a heart forever changed by Love. We have been made perfect and we are being made holy; are we fighting the process or joining it?

Prayer: Lord, You are so gracious to have made us perfect forever. You are also gracious in making that holiness a practical reality in this life. Help us to keep our eyes focused on Christ and to never grow tired of growing. Help us to live in such ways that You are glorified in all that we do or say. Amen.

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Several years ago I realized that I often sped through my Scripture reading and gave it little thought. Yet, when I had meaningful conversations with friends or family members I replayed them over and over in my head. One day it occurred to me, that if I thought more about what God says in his word that I would not only know more about Him, but I would come to know Him in a personal way. I would know more about His thoughts, His character, His intentions, His passions, and His actions. So, I began to take one verse at a time and think on it and then journal about it. At the time I was served as a volunteer in youth ministry and shared my “Thoughts on God” with those girls. For a while I have been rewriting and posting them on this blog. I have realized when I am in the Word or move through my day focusing on God's presence that I have wonderful opportunities to Meet God in the Everyday. The Everyday can include storms, blessings, hard things, scary things, exciting things...just any where, anyplace, any time. I hope that you will be able to engage with what I write with both your head and your heart. I also hope you will be challenged to love, trust, and know the God of the Scriptures. It is my prayer that as you read you will experience Him at a deeper level and share pieces of your journey in the comments. It is my desire that we form a safe community of believers who pursue the God who loves us radically, eternally, and without reserve. As a precious pastor once told me, "Don't forget, Wendy, God is Good!" I find myself compelled by His Goodness and His Love to share so others can know Him through all the ups and downs of life. Please feel free to dialogue back and to share how each passage impacts you. If if there is a passage you would like me to write on or if you would like to be a guest blogger, please let me know. I am just learning to navigate this blog and appreciate the kind comments you have made in the past...I promise I will even try to respond if you leave a note. If you are blessed please share the blog with friends!