Exalting in Yahshua, the scripture exclaims, “For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are sanctified” [Hebrews 10:14, Christian Standard Bible]. It is a statement to take the breath away! An awe-inspiring climax to the writer’s discussion of Yahshua’s High Priestly ministry. The Word of Yahweh declares we are perfected now and forever! Do you feel perfect? I doubt it! We can more readily relate to Paul who wrote, “I do not consider myself to have “arrived”, spiritually, nor do I consider myself already perfect. But I keep going on…” [Philippians 3:14, J.B. Phillips NT emphasis added]. Are these men of Yahweh speaking opposite things? Is the Bible contradicting itself?
Writing to his spiritual son, Timothy, Paul urged, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to [Yahweh], a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” [2 Timothy 2:15, emphasis added]. The scriptures must be understood in context. Most of us will sympathise with Paul, feeling exactly the same, so is it possible to accept as truth two apparently contradictory statements? Can both be correct? Let’s try to ‘rightly divide’ them.
When we turn to Yahshua in repentance, the power of His sacrificial blood is such that all past sin is cleansed, past demeanours forgiven, and the total record of wrongdoing is cancelled. At that moment we stand before Yahweh ‘perfected forever’. Since forever means evermore, “…our standing before [Yahweh] is the standing of perfection. And we are always perfect, always fit to come before the throne of [Yahweh], whatever our doubts, whatever our sins” [C.H. Spurgeon]. There is no sense that we will not be accepted, for our status is that of a forgiven, cherished child.
That which applies to our status, however, does not apply to our character. This is the part of me which Yahweh, through His Spirit, will continue to work upon to cleanse, renew, and sanctify. For this reason Paul could urge the Corinthians to ‘perfect holiness in the fear of [Yahweh]’ [2 Corinthians 7:1]. It is why he could say, “…nor do I consider myself already perfect …”; it is why both are speaking truth!