“For by one sacrifice, He has perfected forever those who are being made holy.” (Hebrews 10:14)
To me, this is one of the most fascinating verses in all of the Bible. Think about what it is really saying… “One sacrifice… by the Lord Jesus… has perfected forever… those being made holy (i.e. those receiving what Jesus has done for them; v. 10).” One act by our Savior has completed/finished the work that needed to be done in us – to make us fully prepared to do what God has called us to do. Those who have committed their hearts to Jesus have been perfected by Jesus’ work on their behalf.
This is the story (and magnitude) of grace.
We don’t often think about being perfected. It just sounds a little too… perfect. And if there is anything we are certain we are not… it is perfect.
But we need to understand what perfection (in this case… and in all of the Bible) really means. It is not referring to perfect performance. It is not telling us that we won’t be tempted. It is not even telling us that we will never sin again.
What the writer is saying is that one act of God’s grace (through Jesus) has accomplished everything that needed to be done for us – and that one act has forever and completely enabled us to be holy, righteous, and accepted by God.
The emphasis is on Jesus’ work – and the fact that it is a completed work… and there is nothing left that needs to be done. Ever.
And we are the recipients of that finished work. There is nothing we can do to add to it, because it is full and finished and complete.
We tend to think the Christian life is about doing things for God. But the true message of the Christian life is that it is God doing things for us. It began in what He did for us through Jesus. And it continues through what God does in, and through, us.
Jesus’ work on the cross made us holy. Set apart. Fully adequate for divine service. Fully ready for God Himself to come and make His home in us.
It is the work of Jesus, and His work alone, that has made us perfect for God’s indwelling – and perfect for how He wants to work through us the rest of our days.
We thought Jesus’ work was about wiping the slate clean… so we could have a new start (a fresh chance not to mess it up again!) – but it was always about, in one act of amazing grace, making us perfect vessels for divine habitation.
It really is a new life. Not just a new beginning. But a whole different kind of living. Christ in us… “the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). God in us, working through us “according to His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).
This is the real Christian message. It is the message that alone can transform our lives.
And all because God chose to shower His amazing grace upon us.