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Perfect Identity vs. Imperfect Practice

"For by a single offering He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified." (Hebrews 10:14, ESV)

There aren't too many better times to reflect on the sufficiency of Christ's one sacrifice then after having slipped briefly into old patterns. At the pinnacle of feeling not at all perfect, I read the marvellous words of Hebrews 10:14 and realise that by His one sacrifice Christ really has made me perfect once and for all.

So how does perfection of identity exist with imperfection of practice? How does the promise flesh out that I am among those made perfect, but still being sanctified? I think maybe the answer is in my response to the imperfection of practice.

The truth the Lord has spoken over me is that I have been made perfect already. Because He said it, it is true and nothing can change it. So beating myself up over some imperfection that leaks out reveals my lack of faith in what God has said. Why would I beat up someone who has been made perfect? Nonsense. If being sanctified is like gold being refined, then imperfection or sin or whatever, is nothing more than a bubble of impurity coiling up through the molten gold of my soul. When it gets to the top, gross stuff comes out, but then just gets skimmed off by the Refiner. Believing this scripture basically means keeping failure in perspective.

As I have been learning lately, I am nowhere near strong enough to derail God's redemptive plan with my foolishness, no matter how catastrophic or how innocuous. The worst damage I can do is to rob myself of the joy of working on a project with Dad. Christ's sacrifice has made me perfect. I can choose in every situation to rejoice in that and love God and others freely in response to this staggering truth, or I can choose to believe the lie that I somehow need to make up something lacking in His work. With this present moment's clarity, I know which I would rather pick.

Warmly in Christ, Fred Swartz

For Reflection: "And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." (Philippians 1:6, ESV)

  1. What most provokes in you the tension between perfect identity and imperfect practice?

  2. What is your significance to the unfolding of God's redemptive plan?

  3. How do you respond when old habits creep in?


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