Done and in Process
I hope all of us will readily admit we are a work in progress. We may have gained our footing in one area yet know we’re on shaky ground in another. But can we be both done and in process in the same area at the same time? According to Hebrews 10:14, we are and will be until we breathe our last breath: For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. (ESV)
What in the world does that mean? Perhaps the word perfected has a different connotation in Greek, the original language of most of the New Testament. I checked. It doesn’t: to carry through completely; to accomplish, finish, bring to an end: … to complete (perfect) … to accomplish… (Thayer's Greek Lexicon).
Hebrews 10:14 isn’t a verse we can chalk up to not understanding this side of eternity. The truth of it is actually crucial to our faith and walk with the Lord. So let’s take a closer look.
The single offering refers to what Jesus did on the cross. He took on all the sin that was and ever will be committed, along with God’s wrath or just punishment for it, and died in our place. For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. (I Peter 3:18 NIV also see Rom 6, Heb 7:27, 9:11-12,24-26) When we receive His gift of salvation, we are declared righteous, made holy, or as Hebrews 10:14 says, perfected. People way smarter than I call this positional sanctification. As a child of God, we are sanctified (or set apart) and headed to heaven. Hallelujah!! It is our position or standing with God through the precious blood of Christ.
But we all know firsthand that when we were saved, we didn’t stop sinning. In fact as we spend more time in the Word and draw nearer to our Lord, we realize things we’re doing that we never knew were sinful. As we do, we confess them (agree with God that they’re wrong), repent or turn from them, and are forgiven. That’s the being sanctified part of Hebrews 10:14. Theologians refer to it as progressive sanctification.
It’s not something that just happens, as I’m sure we can all attest. We don’t just automatically see our sin, have a desire to be cleansed from it, and start to look more like Jesus just because we prayed a prayer. This process takes place as we press in closer to our Lord, surrender more and more of ourselves to Him, and walk in obedience in the things He shows us.
Let’s not rest on our perfected-ness, but continually seek being sanctified as Hebrews 10:14 describes. As we do, we will experience more love, joy, peace… and the rest of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23), as well as the abundant life that is only possible in Jesus (John 10:10).
Just something I’m trying to remember and walk out day by day.