Is there anything that you or I can do to add to perfection? Perfection by definition cannot be improved. We are helpless to maintain a relationship with God by our human efforts. That’s not bad news, it is very Good News because Christ provided perfectly what we could never provide for ourselves. He died once and for all to save all who would believe in Him. He came to perfect that which was imperfect. Before Christ came, animal sacrifices were made in the temple over and over again because they were not sufficient to provide forgiveness for all sins for all time. But Christ’s sacrifice was perfect so that every single sin ever committed past, present, and future was forgiven at the cross. From the cross, Christ uttered these three words: “It is finished”. Finished means that Christ has paid our sin debt in full, there is no longer any sacrifice left on your part or my part and there is no need any longer for animal sacrifices. All of our sins and the guilt, shame and condemnation that goes with them are gone, now that is truly Good News!
If that were not enough, there is still much, much more. Not only are we separated from sin so that we are assured that God will not judge us for what we truly deserve… we are actually changed at the moment of our acceptance of Christ. Before Christ, we were dead in our sins. But, through Christ, we are actually born again into eternal life as God’s children. 2 Corinthians 5:17 puts it well. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come”! At the moment of salvation, a Seed enters our heart and takes up residence forever. That Seed, of course, is Christ. 1 Peter 1:23 puts it this way: “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God”. We who believe have accepted the Seed and have begun a new life in Christ. That Seed takes root in our being and grows up to produce much fruit to bring glory to God. We are grafted into the life of Christ as adopted children. “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent nor of human decision or a husband’s will but born of God” (John 1:12-13). All of us at one time were separated from God as foreigners. But through Christ, we are actually accepted into the family of God.
It does not matter how much you have sinned. It does not matter how badly you have sinned. The Perfect Sacrifice is given for our sake to break the power of all sin for all time for all people!
2 Corinthians 5:21
What do we have to do? Work hard? Sacrifice some more? Trying to be good enough for God is an absolute impossibility but millions down through the centuries have taken the mistaken path of religion to try to get to God. Religion seeks to earn God’s acceptance through our own sacrifices. If this way was possible for anyone then Christ would be unnecessary. But all of us are imperfect, all of our sacrifices are imperfect too. No imperfection exists in heaven so we need help from God to do for us that we cannot do for ourselves. That new way revealed by Christ is grace (the gift of eternal life through faith not our works). God makes us fit for heaven by taking our sins away (that is the gift of mercy) and then coming into our very being to live inside us (the gift of Himself). All of this is totally undeserved and unmerited on our part. Our big problem is that we think that we must contribute something to deserve heaven. Unfortunately, that thinking blocks most people from receiving grace. If we contribute anything, the gift ceases to be a gift. No, heaven is only given on the basis of our faith with no value placed on our human efforts including our religious merits. Until we come to God with empty hands recognizing that we cannot do a single thing to qualify for God’s grace and mercy, we will be trapped in religion and separated from God.