Sunday, January 27, 2013

Holy, Perfect and His Plan

I love early mornings with the Lord. 
This morning we are home from church, both me and my hubby sick and praying not to give it to our daughter or anyone else. And as much as I miss being with our church family, I would have completely missed this awesome word from God if we were on our usual pattern today. 

I was up before anyone else - my norm on the weekends - and as I was sipping my coffee by the fireplace, I picked up a John Piper book that I've been studying. 
Take a look at the scripture that truly leapt off the page at me:

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

Oh, how incredible is that?! 
Here, read it in the NIV84 translation:

"because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy." - Hebrews 10:14 (NIV84)

Christian! Are you excited by that statement?! 
Listen to what He is saying - We are perfected by our simple faith that Christ died for our sins and by our relinquishing control of our lives to Him - we are made perfect by His singular sacrifice! 

Not following me yet?
Here, read it from The Message:

"Every priest (that's us!) goes to work at the altar each day, offers the same old sacrifices year in, year out, and never makes a dent in the sin problem. As a priest, Christ made a single sacrifice for sins, and that was it! Then he sat down right beside God and waited for his enemies to cave in. It was a perfect sacrifice by a perfect person to perfect some very imperfect people. By that single offering, he did everything that needed to be done for everyone who takes part in the purifying process. 
The Holy Spirit confirms this:

This new plan I’m making with Israel
    isn’t going to be written on paper,
    isn’t going to be chiseled in stone;

(And don't miss this part!)
This time “I’m writing out the plan in them,
    carving it on the lining of their hearts.”

Not only has Christ's sacrifice of His own life made the way for our perfection in Him, He's making sure that we never forget what He's done for us. 
He's "writing out the plan in (us)". 
"Carving it on the lining of (our) hearts." 

You know, God doesn't have a Plan B for the world. 
It's ONLY through Christ's death and resurrection that we are offered salvation.  
WE are His plan. 
God chose to save the world - His creation - through the perfect sacrifice of His perfect son Jesus Christ. 
He's chosen to use us - the redeemed, the saved, the perfected - to share that salvation with others.
He's "writing out the plan in (us)."

But look - as exciting as that is, it's not what got me really excited over his word this morning! 
I know, right?!! Oh, it gets BETTER!
Here it is: 
Philippians 3:12 says "Christ Jesus has made me his own."

Now, read what John Piper wrote - 
"That very statement is the key to endurance and joy. "Christ Jesus has made me his own." All my reaching and yearning and striving is not to belong to Christ (which has already happened) but to complete what is lacking in my likeness to him." 

This means that yes, by Christ's sacrifice we are perfected, but because of our faith in him, we are being made holy. The Bible calls it sanctification.
I call it amazing! 

Here, read more of John Piper's words:
"One of the greatest sources of joy and endurance for the Christian is knowing that in the imperfection of our progress we have already been perfected - and that this is owing to the suffering and death of Christ."

"The joyful encouragement here is that the evidence of our perfection before God is not our experienced perfection (our salvation), but our experienced progress." (our sanctification)

Do you see??
It's SO awesome! 
NONE of us is perfect. No, not one of us. 
But we are made perfect to God by the saving grace and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. 

Our sanctification - the process of making us like him; making us holy, is a process in which we are becoming what we already are in him. 
Saved. Redeemed. Holy. 

Our lives in Christ are a journey of transformation. 
To transform our earthly selves into the holy likeness of Christ. 
A transformation that will only be complete when we are finally face to face with the one who made us and saved us. 

Christian - take heart! 
You are perfect because you love the perfect One, the sinless one who died so we, the sinful could be redeemed.
So when you mess up, when you drop the ball, when you fail and falter and stumble your way through this Christian life - take heart!   
It's part of the process. 
Because we are human, we, the sinful but saved, are the example of Christ's love for the world. He's written it on our hearts for all time and through our journey of being made like Him, others will be drawn to His amazing, saving grace.  

Now isn't that awesome news on a Sunday morning?! 

With a Courageous Heart, 

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