“Be perfect, therefore, as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
“What shall I render to YHWH for all His benefits to me? I shall take up the cup of salvation and go into the House of YHWH.”
“The blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin.”
“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.”
“God made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
“If we confess our sin, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
“Rejoice in the Lord. I will say it again, rejoice.”
“Your righteousness must exceed that of the scribes and the pharisees.”
“I press forward to the prize of the upward calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
“All things are lawful, but not all things are edifying.”
“For them I sanctify Myself, that they too may be sanctified in Truth.”
As Christians, we are not content with anything less than spotless holiness. What we want is to be like Jesus Christ, our Master and Redeemer. The Holy Spirit lives in us, and we hate sin – we hate sin to the death, literally. We would crucify the flesh and its passions. Indeed, we want to be perfect for our God: anything less than absolute, pure perfection is abominable to us, as it is to Him. It is for this reason that I hate the term, Christian morals. There is no such thing. Christianity is not about morality. Even the strictest code of morality is minimalistic from our perspective; we do not want to be moral, but holy. We are not content with rules we can pass; it is our desire to be spotless, perfect and righteous throughout our entire being, in our thoughts, in our attitudes, in our words, in our actions, in all things. The absolute holiness of Jesus Christ Himself is our standard and our desire. Any imperfection, any falling short, seems to us a horror and sin of unfathomably abominable evil. We detest and hate it. Anything other than the glory of God is unsatisfactory and must be thrown away. We have begun to see God, and so we are beginning to see reality from God’s perspective.
When we fall short, we cannot live with it. We must be perfect and holy. In our inner being, we agree with God. It is His holiness, He Himself, that we want. Yet, we fall short constantly. The imperfection we hate with all our might lives in us, and we do not know the extant of this abomination that seeps into everything we try to do, and mars the inmost attitudes of our hearts. It is not a matter of ‘Am I saved?’ or ‘Will God let me into Heaven?’ (Such a thought may even appear nonsense to us.) It is a matter of, ‘God is holy. I must be holy because my God is holy.’ It is a matter of, ‘I am in love with Jesus. I am enthralled by my Savior. I must be like Him.’ (This is why I would never preach morality. The point is not repentance from sins, but turning to God and repentance from sin.)
When we are plagued by our failure, by our abominable imperfection which we hate, where do we turn?
The salvation which God offers us in Christ Jesus is exactly what we want – and more. It is, more importantly, what He wants. It is in accordance with His nature. What Jesus Christ died to do is to give us His own righteousness. When He sends His Holy Spirit into our hearts, He makes us new creations. The reason that He became sin on our behalf was that we might become the very righteousness of God in Him. In Colossians, we read, that “you are perfect in Him.” When God says something, it is true, it is truer than we can understand. His word is truth. In Christ Jesus – which means, in truth – we are the perfect, spotless, holy righteousness of God. We are the reward and the righteousness of the Savior who became sin in our place. We are more righteous and holy than we will ever be able to understand.
Yet, we see sin everywhere in our lives. We hate it and struggle against it, and we know we would rather die than continue to sin, and yet we sin. Our love is imperfect. Sometimes, we are afraid to trust that we really are the righteousness of Christ, perfect in Him. We would not only cry for an hour about this horror of imperfection, but we feel like sitting in misery over our failure, our abominable inadequacy, the unspeakable evil of the sin which still infects us. We do not want to rejoice.
We rebel against trusting and believing God, living in the freedom that He has bought for us, and rejoicing in what He has done because of pride.
On the cross, the perfect Son of God took upon Himself all our sin. In some sense, remaining wholly innocent, pure, and righteous, He became our sin. When He was crushed, sin was crushed. When He died, sin died. When He was destroyed, sin was destroyed. He did away with our sin, so that it is no more. When He rose, He had filled death by His life – His blood – and sin by His righteousness – His blood. All our imperfections are simply gone in the sight of God – which means, in truth. He won the righteousness of God for us – this is absolutely amazing! We do not have the righteousness of a mere creature, but the righteousness of God Himself – of God as Man. This is more than we could have ever imagined, ever imagined that we longed for, and yet, honestly, anything less than this would be unsatisfying to us. God made us for Himself.
In the light of this, we have no right not rejoicing. Jesus, by the price of His own blood, saved us from sin and hell. He suffered what no mere man can ever suffer. He did everything, He paid the greatest price. God Himself died. Think about that! God Himself – always righteous and holy – was made sin for us. This is the most horrible, the most terrible, the most glorious, and the most beautiful thing that ever was done! The righteous and ultimate Man was forsaken for us. He DIED. It would be the greatest insult to His sacrifice and His love not to rejoice in what He has done for us. It would be to say, ‘No, what You did isn’t enough. I am not content with this gift You give me.’ Is that not a horrific insult to pay to Love Himself? It would be say, ‘No; I am not content with You. Your righteousness is not good enough.’ Could there be a more terrible insult to pay the Eternal King, the All in All, the Righteous One? It would be to say, ‘No; I don’t believe what You did is real.’ Can there be a more abominable insult to pay Truth?
Whatever we may feel, however we may fail, Jesus Christ is the Faithful and True. We really were crucified with Him. We really were buried with Him. We really were raised with Him. We really are seated in the heavenly places with Him. This is the truth. Let us rejoice in Him! Look to Him and what He has done. It is satisfactory. It is more than satisfactory. It is real! “Let God be true, and every man a liar.”
We rejoice because He deserves that we rejoice. He is enough.
Let us rejoice in everything – even our view and experience of our own abominable imperfection – because it helps us to see more truly the amazing wonder of what Christ has done for us and in us – that He makes sinners perfect saints – in every opportunity to trust Him.
“Worship YHWH with trembling; rejoice before Him with fear.”
Copyright 2018 Raina Nightingale