Perfect, But Not Yet

\”He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy\” are words found in Hebrews 10 (a great read, Hebrews 10 is, I recommend it). Who is He? He is Jesus. How did he make anyone perfect? Through His sacrificial death for our sin. The text goes on to say that His body was the curtain that was torn, which gives us direct access to the \”Most Holy Place\” (vs 19). Through Jesus, we sit in the immediate presence of God almighty. Such a close up and friendly spot requires cleansing and purification–something He did for us on the cross. So, Jesus did it, we\’re perfect because of Him.

But, wait a minute, the text also says we \”are being made holy\”, which can only mean we aren\’t perfect (I think we \’get\’ how we\’re not perfect, I don\’t need to unpack this, surely). In one sense we\’re perfect and in another we\’re still a work in progress, we\’ve got junk. So can both be true? I\’d say so. I mean, Scripture says as much, doesn\’t it? I have no wisdom on this paradox, for paradox just is, isn\’t it? One point of view helps us see one side and another point of view helps us see the other side. Marrying the two takes mental gymnastics–I personally enjoy the uneven bars, myself. :-)

What I wonder, though, is what point of view we see ourselves through, what point of view we linger on…do we see with the eyes of God that because of Jesus we\’re perfect, beautiful and whole and let that awareness seep into the way we live and breathe, into the way we move into His tomorrow for us? Or do we only see how wretched and ugly and unholy we are and focus on that? I think a healthy dose of both is in order, but the Western Church tends to focus on the latter. The Eastern Church the former.

I grew up in a home and tried to raise my kids leaning toward the former. Oh, trust me, errant behavior was dealt with–my brother and I learned boundaries and my husband and I instilled boundaries in Charlie and Emily (our kids). I\’m not talking about denial of darkness. I\’m just saying we have a choice, as we raise our kids, about how we view them. I\’ve found, anyway, that they tend to live up to what we believe about them, for often enough it becomes what they believe about themselves.

Jesus, of course, is the doorway to perfection and to being made perfect/holy. If we miss that fact, and don\’t teach it to our children then we sink…we miss Truth, we miss the One who was torn in two so that we might see God, so that we might live eternally perfect/sinless with Him, so that we might grow into His holiness. If we miss it, then we become our own gods or set in place a sweet smelling, yet foul idol. If we miss it, may God have mercy and set in motion that \’making us holy\’ bit.

I leave you with these words, which were read in worship this a.m.:

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:19-22)

(Contemplation update: been doing as I\’m going to bed–not a good idea! Prayer is not in the same place as sleep, psychically…sleep seems to win, though, at that time of night)

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