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The Gospel has the power to perfect you. The change is so radical because it is irreversible. When you accept God’s salvation by faith, you leave behind sin as part of who you are. Christians can believe they have been permanently set free or they can cling to their old self-image. But once you cross over to perfection, it’s impossible to return to imperfection.
Jesus is Permanently Perfect
Never having to worry about losing your salvation might seem too good to be true. But it is only possible because of who Jesus is, not because of who you are or what you have done. Jesus is Lord and He lives forever to intercede for all believers. Previous sacrifices by human priests had no power to save. Jesus paid the price for your perfection. He paid it one time, for all time.
And by [God’s will] we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.Hebrews 10:10 ESV
You are Permanently Perfect
Through Jesus, you are perfect for all time. That means your sanctification is guaranteed to be complete. It is inevitable. God considers you as sanctified and perfected, even though His work in you must continue throughout this life.
We have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.Hebrews 10:14 ESV
Therefore, you are both perfect and being perfected. You have been sanctified and are being sanctified. You are perfect in a way that you can’t reverse the process and become imperfect. At the same time, you are continuing to be sanctified.
Living By Faith Keeps You Perfect
God has the power to make you perfect, but you must do your part, too. You must activate the faith to see yourself through God’s eyes. You must agree with God and consider your sinful self (your “old creation”) as dead and your spiritual self (your “new creation”) as alive.
For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.Romans 6:10-11 ESV
Further along in Hebrews 10, verse 38 at first makes it seem like believers can fall away from their faith.
but my righteous one shall live by faith,Hebrews 10:38 ESV
and if he shrinks back,
my soul has no pleasure in him.”
“Shrinks back” and “has no pleasure” might not sound too severe, but the following verse clarifies that shrinking back can lead to destruction. Thankfully, it continues to clarify that those who have a genuine faith will preserve their souls. It is vitally important to not miss the word “if.” Because of verse 39, we can conclude that “if” indicates only a hypothetical possibility, not a definite occurrence.
But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.Hebrews 10:39 ESV
When you read Hebrews 10 you must recognize who you are. Do you identify yourself as a non-believer, who lacks the faith to believe in the gospel message? If so, you live as an enemy of God, with your sin blocking you from reaching perfection.
Or, do you identify yourself as a believer, incapable of shrinking back? If so, you preserve your soul through your believing faith. Keep your faith in Jesus. You are truly saved, safe, and secure when you entrust your life to Him. It’s not possible to be a believer and not live by faith. Living by faith is the very essence of being a Christian. Where there is faith and the Spirit of God, there is freedom and there is no longer condemnation for sin. Your sin can’t prevent you from keeping your eternal life.
Matt Pavlik is a licensed professional clinical counselor who wants to see each individual restored to their true identity. He has more than 20 years of experience counseling individuals and couples at his Christian counseling practice, New Reflections Counseling. Matt and Georgette have been married since 1999 and live with their four children in Centerville, Ohio.