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.