2008-12-29 - Are We There Yet?
Colossians 1:28, "And we proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, that we may present every man complete in Christ."
It is a famous phrase, "Are we there yet?" in the family vehicle, an hour into a 6-7 hour trip. It is not actually a common phrase among Christians, when they consider their holiness. For some reason, and with good reason, we all seem to realize, all too often, that sin is living and active in our hearts, and we are not there yet. We have not reached the point of perfection, and more than wondering about having arrived in our Christian walk, we are likely to be wondering how we are going to make it through the next 3-5 minutes without acting, thinking, or speaking in such a way that requires confession. So it might be a wonder what the Apostle is really thinking when He speaks of presenting every man complete (perfect) in Christ. God is perfect in everything, but we know ourselves, and we know such is not the case with us.
Everything we experience signals imperfection, incompleteness, and deficiency. Today at the market, I was purchasing some coffee that was 50% off. It rang up full-price. I told the woman attendant, and she gave a long sigh. Her tone changed. This little imperfection was a distraction to her, and her heart showed in her words, rolling eyes, and saunter over to check the price. It is the world we live in, and the incompleteness we experience in our personal lives is of a greater nature than coffee that is on sale. We grow sad, angry, impatient, weary, and frustrated, because the world we live in is imperfect, but also because we are imperfect - and we only add to the imperfection of the world. We know that while we are incomplete, God's demand for perfection remains. Left to ourselves, we are beyond hope. God must punish sin and we are sinners.
We can answer the question, "Are we there yet?" only one way. In Christ sin is punished, and all who are drawn by the Spirit and come to faith in Him are washed as white as snow (Isa. 1:18). We deny that we are perfect in any way (In our experience), and we decry all trust in ourselves, while placing all our hope in Christ. The sinner who comes to Christ is perfect in Christ. Jesus Christ fulfilled the Law of God perfectly and in His death for sin, He did two things. First, He took our sin, our imperfection on Himself, satisfying the justice of God. Secondly, He gave us His perfect righteousness, so that we are now complete in Him. Perfection is only in Christ, but He gives His perfect righteousness to all who come to Him in faith. Salvation in Christ is both a releasing from the penalty of sin, because Christ has paid the penalty, and it is also an obtaining of all His righteousness, such that we now possess His holiness rather than our profane sinfulness. So the answer for all that trust in Christ is that in a real sense, Yes! We are there! There is the continued struggle of our old nature warring with our new nature (Ephesians 4:20-24), but the reality is that Christ has already won the victory, and we are complete/perfect in Him.
Soli Deo Gloria,