“For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy.”
It’s a gobbledygook.
The lily, I mean.
She has six petals. She has lots of colour. Her parts are all there.
Her form, though.
It’s – off. The petals are all askew. There is no symmetry. The top petal isn’t the right shape or size. The others are curled in (and they shouldn’t be).
In other words, she’s – well, far from perfect. She wouldn’t take the lily show, I’m telling you.
Isn’t she beautiful?
She’s a stunner, imperfect as she is.
Out of all the lilies blooming in my garden tonight – and there are many – she’s my favourite.
I think it’s because she gives me hope.
See, there’s this tension. We all live with it. The desire for perfection, running smack into the reality of our imperfection.
It’s enough to drive you to distraction.
And then this gem of a verse lands right in the middle of that discomfort, that interior tug of war, and tosses in a new Chinese puzzle box.
What a conundrum.
A perfect sacrifice on behalf of imperfect humans, and we frail creatures are considered perfect.
Yet we know we aren’t, don’t we?
We are stuck here in our earthly bodies, in our earthly dimension, feeling the weight of our sin and the sins of all who came before. We may have the desire to be perfect, but we sure as shooting are not.
Yet because of what Jesus did for us on the cross, heaven considers us to be holy. Morally upright. Without blemish. Fee of guilt or contamination.
In other words, perfect.
God lives in His own dimension. He lives outside of time and space. To Him, our glorious future is indivisible from our present status.
To Him, we who are being made holy (the process called sanctification) are already holy. The work of Jesus on the cross was final, for all time. So heaven already considers us perfect.
Even though in our present reality, we aren’t.
I make mistakes.
(If you know me, you may have noticed this on your own.)
I’m certainly not perfect. My ‘petals’ are out of whack, like that lily. I have that skew, that inner bent toward selfishness and blindness towards the needs of others that mars my beauty.
But oh, the amazing truth of God’s grace – that by faith, my sins have been cleansed. My faults and weaknesses have been covered. I am already considered perfect, because when a perfect God looks at me, He sees the perfect work of Jesus.
Like this lily, whose imperfections are no longer her defining characteristic.
It’s her beauty that shines out in the middle of the imperfections that is so endearing.
Dare to believe in the delight of this truth with me?
Father, how astonishing it is to be considered perfect. How astonishing is a love that would substitute His life for mine, in order to declare me perfect! Work in me, continue to recreate Your characteristics within as I follow You by faith. Amen.