I’ve been so focused on the resurrection aspect of the gospel that I have not fully considered the significance of the crucifixion.
I know my last article, The Gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven presented an idea that many disagree with. The idea of perfection. I want to attempt to explain this better. It’s all about applying the crucifixion to our daily lives. It’s about the imputation, which I have almost lost in my striving to grow in the things of the kingdom of heaven and focusing on the resurrection aspect of the gospel.
Since writing that article yesterday, I’ve been trying to wrap my mind around the imputation. Here is what it means for me as of now.
The blood of the Son of God that was shed on the cross forgives us of our sins if we believe in Jesus, right? We are also told that his blood covers our sins and imputes his righteousness to us. What is the righteousness of the Lord if not perfect righteousness? If then his righteousness is imputed, are we not perfect?
Now, let me explain further. None of us are perfect. As Christians, we should be striving to grow in the things of God. From our perspective, we should continue on and “run the race” as Paul the Apostle wrote. However, I think we should also understand that from God’s perspective, our perfection was completed the day Jesus was crucified. To God, you are perfect. Otherwise, we could not approach God. It is the perfection of Jesus that is imputed to us.
If we have faith in this imputation, then I do not see anything wrong with believing that we are perfect. To do otherwise, I think, is almost like unbelief that Jesus was perfect and his sacrifice sufficient to cover our sins. Is it easy to believe this? Probably not. It isn’t for me. I see my sin (or a lot of it. I’m sure there are sins still hidden from me).
Here is my perspective on this.
It’s not like some rose colored glasses have been placed on my eyes and I no longer see my sin or that of others. However, there is a new shift in perspective that I think will make my growth less hindered. Let’s see if I can explain.
Believing that to Jesus, I am already perfected, reduces my doubt and fear over my sin. It helps me to more boldly approach the Lord with faith that he will continue to perfect me, because Jesus is faithful. If he sees me as perfect, it is only his perfection and it’s like a promise that he will complete this work. I don’t have to complete it. It’s all going according to his plan for my life.
At the same time, I see the drastic difference between the perfection of Christ that is imputed and my actual state that is observable in my present life. That makes his grace and mercy all the more real to me. It is his righteousness that covers me, and it is his that will continue to manifest. It’s actually very humbling.
Believing that other Christians are also already perfect in the eyes of God also affects how I look at them. I understand this is a new thing, so I will have to live it out and write about this later. However, I think it will give me more patience and shift my focus towards their positive traits rather than their sin. It will help me lift people up and encourage them, letting them know that they really are not bound to the sins that they hate. Jesus will free them. In-fact, he already has, and that freedom will manifest itself at a time he deems is best.
Also, consider this. I believe that God is in control of all things. If we sin, God allows it. If we do righteously, it’s only because the Lord is working in us for good. It’s his goodness, not ours. All things are working together for the purpose of raising the children of God. When we grow in the things of righteousness and freedom from sin, it happens as God would and at a time when He deems. Therefore, where we are presently is exactly where we are meant to be. So, in that sense, we are perfect where we are. However, where we are right now might not be where we are an hour from now, and certainly not a year or more from now.
Each phase of our life, our old self is passing away and we are being transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is the present-day resurrection. Meanwhile, however, our sins are covered by the crucifixion, so all things that come to pass, sin or righteousness, are counted as perfection because it is part of God’s plan to raise us all up. If that is confusing, let me know and I will try to explain this better.
I feel it is needful to emphasize that this does not mean we cease from striving. We live according to our very limited perspective, so we should try to push on and live righteously with faith and understanding that this is the work of our salvation. If we overcome, ultimately it is because Jesus is working in us. The imputation is grace. Freedom from sin that manifests itself tangibly is also grace. “Should we sin more so grace can abound? God forbid.” Right?
All this time I’ve been writing about the “full” gospel because I have strongly believed that we are not at large applying the resurrection to our lives as we should. I’ve come to realize that it is also true for the death of Christ. We need to apply that to our lives more fully also.
I suggest reading Romans 1-6. The message of this article and the last is the same as what you will find here, just perhaps condensed and maybe simplified or clarified.
I agree, and yes it is all very humbling. There is such depth to the crucifixion. As you know Jesus suffered, intense excruciating pain on our behalf. I hope I can explain what I’m thinking. When we love others their sins that we need to forgive can “feel” so intensely painful at times. We must die to our selfish desire for them to be perfect NOW. In order for the patience and love and forgiveness that must grow within us can happen. We must die too, not just to our own sins, but in order to love and forgiveness others, as we wait for their perfect timing of God’s imputed righteousness. Peter the apostle was full of faith and loved the Lord. Yet people witnessed him denying the Lord. Incredible, and this was part of the Lord’s perfect work in him. The Lord’s ways are past finding out! Thank you for the study, it really helps!
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There is much depth to the crucifixion of Jesus. And I hope I don’t give off the impression that what I wrote is all there is to it, or even how it applies to our lives. I like what you wrote about the pain of the cross and the pain we feel when learning patience and love. In this article, I’m just considering the present-day imputation because I haven’t really considered it fully. I’m sure I still don’t. I also hope this does not seem as selfish desire to see others as perfect now. I see it as a perspective that helps to escape that selfish desire by understanding that all things are working according to God’s will and timing, and having faith in their perfection for them. That does not mean their sins will stop hurting us, but I do think it will help us to patiently endure. The Lord’s ways are for sure past finding out, but I’m thankful that if we seek, we will continue to grow in all regards. Thank you for the comment. There is always so much to consider!
You definitely didn’t give off the impression that’s all there is to the crucifixion! I just like to share my thoughts on it. Things I’ve learned, there’s always more to learn, I don’t think I’ll ever think I’ve learned it all. I’m thankful for your writings they get me thinking on good things. The present day implication is such a living thing going on in us. Righteousness by the blood of the lamb, His Holy Spirit in us leading us and teaching us righteousness, being conformed to His image. It’s all so amazing and wonderful!
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Also, hoping and praying for others righteousness and perfection is a good thing. It’s when our impatience or unforgivesness, or bitterness gets in the way of the Lord’s timing for others that it becomes selfish. This is something I use to struggle with. I so badly wanted the ones I loved to be “right” NOW that it became selfish and I lost sight ofthe Lord’s perfect timing. I became focused on others righteousness and didn’t keep my eyes on Jesus. I’m thankful to have been exercised in this. It’s so important . Now I have more peace, I understand God is in control, the struggles others have with sin the Lord will work out for them when it’s His perfect time. Also, looking to others righteousness, instead of keeping our eyes on Jesus can lead to disappointment. The Lord never dissappoints. He’s always perfect. We definitely should hope and pray for others, for the imputed righteousness to become alive and active in their lives.
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It’s a struggle of mine, especially when the imperfections of others affect those I love. I hope that struggle is passing and being replaced with forgiveness and patience. I agree with what you say about keeping focused on Jesus. He is the only thing that is perfect. Any perfection we have came from Him, so who are we to be impatient with the imperfections of others? Or even our own. I’m so thankful for this understanding. It’s been a long-time coming. A little here and there. I think my struggles in this are finally coming to an end, and it affects so much. Including my struggles with Christian corruption and the like. I look forward to life and ministry with this perspective.
“Believing that to Jesus, I am already perfected, reduces my doubt and fear over my sin. It helps me to more boldly approach the Lord with faith that he will continue to perfect me, because Jesus is faithful.”
This is a great word. I have an internal dialogue at times because I feel sheepish in approaching God’s throne. Sometimes I let my doubt overshadow the fact that Jesus gave me every right to approach God in prayer.
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Same here. I’m so thankful that our salvation is totally dependent on the Lord, and His mercy is so vast. It’s almost unthinkable. Thank you for the comment!
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