The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked -Jeremiah 17:9
But God commends His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us – Romans 5:8
I was cleaning the mirror in my bedroom. I thought I’d eliminated every spot and as I was putting away my cleaning supplies, the sun came out and the light shone on my mirror. I was dismayed to see that the light was exposing a multitude of specks and smudges that I had missed.
When we stand before Jesus it is like standing in direct sunlight. He sees into the depths of our hearts. When we think we are doing well He sees the details of our motives and the multitudes of inner sins; sins that we are not even aware exist, because compared to God’s holiness, “all our righteousness are as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6).
When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, all mankind inherited the disease of sin that has been passed down from generation to generation like a birth defect. We are born marred and there is absolutely nothing that we can do to change our inherited sin natures. We must be covered by Christ’s perfect righteousness, for we have no righteousness’ of our own that can be accepted by God. Only when grace is appropriated by faith and we are saved, can the Holy Spirit begin to work within us to change us into the people God wants us to be.
This is why The Apostle Paul taught that we are delivered, we are being delivered and we will be delivered (II Corinthians 1:10). Our salvation is in three tenses – past, present and future. We are justified by faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ when we receive Him by repentance and faith. Our salvation is a completed act in the first tense, our sin natures are cleansed and God can no longer see the specks and smudges for our condemnation, for He is now beholding the Holy Spirit of His Son in us (Romans 8:9).
Once we are in this position of unity with God, the Holy Spirit begins the second tense, the sanctification process which works to conform us to Christ’s image, the image of a human soul that is in total union with the Divine in all things. “Not My will but Thine be done” – (Luke 22:42).
This process takes a lifetime and we are building on the finished foundation of our salvation in Christ. Some build with fine materials, others with wood hay and stubble (I Corinthians 3:12,13). Some become vessels fit for the Masters use, others do not (II Timothy 2:20,21). Our salvation is not contingent on the degree of our spirituality, but our rewards are based on the quality of our obedience.
We are pruned and refined through this lifetime until the completion of our faith in the third tense when this life is finally over.
In the meantime, we look into the mirror of the Word of God and see the reflection of the person He desires us to be, the perfection reflected in the face of God’s Son. He is smiling because He knows that with God all things are possible and no matter how speckled and smudged the mirror of our souls seems to be, when we are willing to completely yield to the workings of His Spirit within us, the God of miracles is able to present us faultless with exceeding joy; a bride without wrinkle, spot or smudge – even when we are standing in direct sunlight.
copyright 2007 by H.D. Shively
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