Growing up, we might have had a stage where we worried about perfection. We might have taken verses literally. For instance “Be holy, because your Father in heaven is holy”, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills, from where does my help comes from?”, “God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble”. What does this mean? Though we try our best to grow closer to God and portray an exemplary life before family and church trying to display perfection, our hearts have always felt miserable. We have been longing for the Lord to make some magic moves in making us right and united with Him. In the process, we have brought into the picture huge separation — a separation that causes us to think so lowly of ourselves. But what is the separation all about?
But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.Isaiah 59:2 (NIV)
It says, our sin came between God and us and created the gap. It made residence in our conscience that we were not able to see God. Therefore, to rectify this, God arises and speaks His justice. The typical image of God’s justice is corroded, where we pay for all our iniquities and sin. But let us look at a verse that presents God’s action plan of justice, forgiveness, restoration, and love.
Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the Lord will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you.Isaiah 60:1-2 (NKJV)
This was said to people who were distant from the Lord. Unlike a strict parent or a boss who rebukes when one falls short, the Lord begins by lifting these people from their helpless and guilty condition, followed by the reminder of who they are. These are the people upon whom the glory of God resides.
Even today, when deep darkness seems to have covered everything in and around you, know what the good Lord has to say. Even when we feel we have messed up, contrary to the notions of Him being angry and mad at us, He is still proud of His relationship with you. This relationship is not the result of Him feeling sorry about our condition. Instead, He always regards you as a child who is created in His likeness and image. Therefore, for Him, the image of you is where you are clothed in glory.
You being clothed in glory is not a private affair. He covers you with Himself today. He is seen all over you. This is His way of proclaiming our union wherein everyone can see His glory upon us! Despite all this, if we still feel we are grass, worm or dust, we are totally missing the heart of the true gospel. And this separated mindset will keep making us trust our efforts to achieve perfection.
On the contrary, the more we grow in the ultimate truth of union, the more our thoughts of separation will be extinguished. Another scripture reference that establishes our relational oneness with God is,
God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting people’s sins against them.2 Corinthians 5:19 (NIV)
It is so important to recognise that it says, “God was reconciling the world to Himself, and NOT “reconciling Himself to the world”. There is a big difference between the two. Nowhere in the New Testament will you read anything about God reconciling Himself to us because He never needed to be reconciled because He was never against us! It was us that needed to be reconciled to Him because we had become alienated against him “in our minds”, as it says in Colossians 1:21.
This takes so much burden off our shoulders. When we really understand this union, our primary concern will never be to achieve perfection but to walk in it.
Well you might ask, how can this all be possible? The answer lies in the Lord’s divine act which He committed 2000 years ago. Friends, the cross was not just a temporary fix but a forever open display of Him telling us we are one with Him.
As Jesus surrendered Himself to be slaughtered as an innocent lamb by the human race, He brought His oneness with the Father and the Holy Spirit. He came down to our most bottomless abyss of separation, where we wanted to perform and achieve perfection. Thus the incarnate, crucified, buried, resurrected and ascended Son secured His union with us once and for all, removing the threat of that nonexistent separation from Him, which is forever an impossibility.
Today, Jesus Christ, the Creator, meets us in our doubts and fears. He uses our bitter and separated minds to bind us in union with Him forever.
Written by Ashish Thomas and Blessy K. Benny
Photo by Ricardo Moura on Unsplash