Hebrews 10:14–For by one offering He has PERFECTED forever those who are being sanctified.
Perfected!? Jesus has made you perfect. The gospel, clear as day, declares that those who have put their trust in Jesus have been made perfect because of his blood, his sacrifice on the cross. That’s a big deal. He does not say, “one day you will be perfect” but rather “he (Jesus) has perfected” you forever. That means it is his work; he did it for you by his grace. And that means it has already been done; it’s nothing you can earn or work towards. It’s done, paid for, accomplished, finished. And–it gets better–It’s forever!
So, what does “perfected” mean? Is this how God sees us; are we actually perfected? Or is there some hidden meaning in the Greek (original language of the New Testament)? Is it just some exaggeration or figure of speech? Let’s observe what the author of Hebrews describes “perfect” to mean by backing up and reading the context surrounding verse 14 (by the way you may want to read all of chapter 9-10).
Hebrews 10:1-4–For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach PERFECT. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.
First, the author explains that the blood of animals can never make us PERFECT (see verse 1). He then goes on to describe what perfection would look like in verse 2-4: purified, conscious cleared of sin, and sin removed from us. The law and sacrificial system in the mosaic covenant was intended to expose our sin and show our need for Christ; to remind us (verse 3). Paul makes this clear when he says, “Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith (Galatians 3:24).” It’s not the law that was the problem but our inability to save ourselves and walk in God’s ways (you can read more about this in Romans 7-8).
Before Christ, we were not perfect–far from it. We were filled with sin and dead in it. Because of sin’s defilement we did not have access to God. We were separated from him and his eternal life.
But then, Christ came. The author of Hebrews makes it clear that what Christ did was sufficient, complete, and effective. What we could not do, God did for us. Because of the blood of Jesus, we have been made perfect. And he explains what perfect looks like: sin has been removed, our conscious has been cleared, we have been purified, and we have access into God’s presence. Observe how he defines perfect in Christ here: ‘”Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” 18 Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin. 19 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus… (Hebrews 10:17-19).’
And so, because of Jesus you are perfect: your sin has been forgotten and removed, you have been purified and your conscious has been cleared. You are sinless in Christ! This is the truth, this is reality for those who are in Christ. The price has been paid, it is finished. God has already forgiven you and even removed your sin from you. You are pure, clean, right with God. You are holy and without blame in his sight. You can come to God with a clear conscious and with boldness knowing he loves and accepts you. And all of this is by his grace, not your works. In other words, it is somthing God has done for you, paid for with his blood, and not something you did or do for God, not somethig you have or can ever earn. You only receive it by faith. Like any gift, we simply say “thank you” and open the present.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
I am aware of what many think when they hear about this amazingly gracious gift of salvation. Many feel unworthy to receive or think “if this is true, then why do I still sin and/or struggle with temptation? And since I do, does that mean I’m not really a christian (I.e. Saved)?” l will explain this in more depth in another post but, for now, consider this: you struggle with sin because you are born again. You hate it. You are a bad sinner. Paul explains that our flesh and spirit are battling in Galatians 5:16-18. Though we are perfect in Christ (meaning sinless) we are still in process, still being sanctified. That is why it says, “He has perfected those he is forever sanctifying” (Hebrews 10:14). He did the perfecting and he is doing the sanctifying. It’s his ongoing work in us. And if he began the work in you, he will finish it (Philippians 1:8). If he perfected you and if he is sanctifying you, you can be sure he is for you and not against you. He is committed to your development, success, wholeness. You can trust him, follow him, enjoy him.
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