Assurance for the flawed and incomplete

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One of my most popular and most discussed posts concerns the Mercy Me song ‘Flawless’ – with the statement ‘the Cross has made you flawless’. You can remind yourself of the song here.
Today I’m sharing a post from John Piper which explains the certainty of our salvation in Christ. This salvation is not flawed – though we most certainly are. But the question remains: Has Christ truly perfected us for all time? Now?

Assurance for Incomplete People

Article by John Piper Scripture: Hebrews 10:14 

By one offering He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. (Hebrews 10:14)

Two things here are mightily encouraging for us in our imperfect condition as saved sinners. First, notice that Christ has perfected his people, and it is already complete. “For by one offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” He has done it. And he has done it for all time. The perfecting of his people is complete and it is complete forever.

Does this mean that Christians don’t sin? Don’t get sick? Don’t make mathematical errors in school? That we are already perfect in our behavior and attitudes?

There is one clear reason in this very verse for knowing that is not the case. What is it? It’s the last phrase. Who are the people that have been perfected for all time? It is those who “are being sanctified.” The ongoing continuous action of the Greek present tense is important. “Those who are beingsanctified” are not yet fully sanctified in the sense of committing no more sin. Otherwise, they would not need to go on being sanctified.

In What Way Are We Perfect?

So here we have the shocking combination: The very people who “have been perfected” are the ones who “are being sanctified.” We can also think back to chapters 5 and 6 to recall that these Christians are anything but perfect. For example, in Hebrews 5:11 he says, “You have become dull of hearing.” So we may safely say that “perfected” inHebrews 10:14 does not mean that we are sinlessly perfect in this life.

Well, what does it mean? The answer is given in the next verses (Hebrews 10:15–18). The writer explains what he means by quoting Jeremiah on the new covenant, namely, that in the new covenant which Christ has sealed by his blood, there is total forgiveness for all our sins. Verses 17–18: “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more. Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin.” So he explains the present perfection in terms (at least) of forgiveness.

Christ’s people are perfected now in the sense that God puts away all our sins (Hebrews 9:26), forgives them, and never brings them to mind again as a ground of condemnation. In this sense, we stand before him perfected. When he looks on us, he does not impute any of our sins to us — past, present, or future. He does not count our sins against us.

Finding Assurance in Perfection

Now notice, second, for whom Christ has done this perfecting work on the cross.Hebrews 10:14 tells us plainly: “By one offering He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” You can put it provocatively like this: Christ has perfected once and for all those who are beingperfected. Or you could say, Christ has fullysanctified those who are now beingsanctified — which the writer does, in fact, say in verse 10, “By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” Thus verse 10 says, we “have been sanctified.” Verse 14 says, we “are being sanctified.”

What this means is that you can know that you stand perfect in the eyes of your heavenly Father, if you are moving away from your present imperfection toward more and more holiness by faith in his future grace. Let me say that again, because it is full of encouragement for imperfect sinners like us, and full of motivation for holiness. Hebrews 10:14 means that you can have assurance that you stand perfected and completed in the eyes of your heavenly Father, not because you are perfect now, but precisely because you are not perfect now but are “being sanctified” — “being made holy.”

You may have assurance of your perfect standing with God because by faith in God’s promises, you are moving away from your lingering imperfections toward more and more holiness. Our remaining imperfection is not a sign of our disqualification, but a mark of all whom God “has perfected for all time” — if we are in the process of “being changed” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

So take heart. Fix your eyes on the once-for-all, perfecting work of Christ. And set your face against all known sin.
http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/complete-assurance-for-incomplete-people

Flawless . . . Clever visual clip from Mercy Me

“No matter the bumps, No matter the bruises
No matter the scars, Still the truth is
The cross has made, The cross has made you flawless
No matter the hurt, Or how deep the wound is
No matter the pain, Still the truth is
The cross has made, The cross has made you flawless”

This clip has just been released by Mercy Me, for song Flawless. Watch to the end to understand the paint…and why it has disappeared.

I have previously discussed the virtues of this song here:
https://sevennotesofgrace.com/2014/05/14/the-cross-has-made-you-flawless/

Blessings!

 

Grace comes like a flood from our faithful God


“Finish What He Started”

I don’t have to know you
To know that you will go through hard times
It’s just part of life
Don’t let that moment blind you
And don’t let it define you
Take heart, that’s not who you are
Our God is able, more than capable
To be faithful to the end
He’ll finish what He started

No matter what you’ve done
Grace comes like a flood
There’s hope to carry on
He’ll finish what He started
No matter what you face
His mercy will not change
He’s with you all the way
He’ll finish what He started

Remember you’re forgiven
So there’s no need to give in
To the lie that you’re disqualified
Our God is able, more than capable
To be faithful to the end
He’ll finish what He started

This work He started in you now
He’s faithful to complete it
The promise was sealed when He cried out
It is finished
He’ll finish what He started

No matter what you’ve done
Grace comes like a flood
There’s hope to carry on
He’ll finish what He started
No matter what you face
His mercy will not change
He’s with you all the way
He’ll finish what He started
He’ll finish what He started

By Mercy Me

Watch “MercyMe – Greater (Official Lyric Video)” on YouTube

Greetings from school holiday land (aka teacher prep time). I’ve previously written a post about the lyrics of this song, but have just found a neat new official lyrics video that I thought I would share. It is such an uplifting and joyful tune. Blessings to you.

I JOHN 4:4-6
“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.”

Greater is the One living inside of me

mercy welcome‘Cause I hear a voice and He calls me redeemed
When others say I’ll never be enough
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world

These lines are the chorus of a really lively and encouraging song on the latest Mercy Me album. The song is titled Greater. It explores the fact that the Great One – Jesus Christ himself – lives in us by grace, through faith!  From His perspective we are redeemed, we are fully accepted by Him, with all our guilt and pain. Though there are days we lose the battle, “grace says it doesn’t matter”.  He is living in us and He is greater than the world that would condemn and discourage, and call us fools.  I pray that your joy and strength may be renewed in the Lord as you sing along.  Below you will find the lyric video, the story behind the song and the lyrics themselves. (If you don’t have a copy of the latest Mercy Me Album, this site says it is just 5.99 on iTunes for a limited time: http://mercyme.org/)  Blessings to you!

GREATER (Mercy Me, Album: Welcome to the New)

Bring your tired and bring your shame
Bring your guilt and bring your pain
Don’t you know that’s not your name
You will always be much more to me

Every day I wrestle with the voices
That keep telling me I’m not right
But that’s alright

‘Cause I hear a voice and He calls me redeemed
When others say I’ll never be enough
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world
In the world, In the world
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world

Bring your doubts and bring your fears
Bring your hurt and bring your tears
There’ll be no condemnation here
You are holy, righteous and redeemed

Every time I fall
There’ll be those who will call me
A mistake, Well that’s OK

Chorus:

There’ll be days I lose the battle
Grace says that it doesn’t matter
‘Cause the cross already won the war
He’s Greater, He’s Greater

I am learning to run freely
Understanding just how He sees me
And it makes me love Him more and more
He’s Greater, He’s Greater

Songwriters: Barry Graul, Bart Millard, Ben Glover, David Garcia, James Bryson, Jim Bryson, Michael John Scheuchzer, Mike Scheuchzer, Nathan Cochran, Robby Shaffer

You would probably also like this song from the same album: Flawless
https://sevennotesofgrace.com/2014/05/14/the-cross-has-made-you-flawless/

 

Shake like you’re changed

Mercy Me has produced another fun song with Shake (video and lyrics below) but the message is most significant! God’s love is real and we can’t stay the same as we were before. If we are in Christ there will be a noticeable difference in our lives, our attitudes, our reactions, our level of contentment, thankfulness and joy. This is the confidence we have, that God is committed to his project of changing us to be more like His Son. “He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)
(Another great song you might like to look up on this topic of change is an older one from Steven Curtis Chapman: The Change?)

 

I just can’t believe
Where my life was at
All that I know is that my heart was broken
And I don’t ever wanna go back

Ain’t no explanation
How I saw the light
He found me and set me free
And it brought me back to life

Blame it on the transformation
Changed down to the core
His love is real
And I can’t sit still
Cause my name’s not shamed no more

Great God Almighty, gonna change this
Great God Almighty, He gonna change me

You gotta shake, shake, shake
Like you’re changed, changed, changed
Brand new looks so good on you
So shake like you’ve been changed

Come on and shake, shake, shake like you changed
Shake, shake, shake like you changed

Maybe He came to you
When everything seemed fine
Or maybe your world was upside down and hit you right between the eyes
No matter when it happened
At 7 or 95
Move your feet ’cause you are free
And you’ve never been more alive

You gotta shake, shake, shake
Like you’re changed, changed, changed
Brand new looks so good on you
So shake like you’ve been changed

Come on and shake, shake, shake
Like you’re changed, changed, changed
Brand new looks so good on you
So shake like you’ve been changed

Come on and shake, shake, shake like you changed
Shake, shake, shake like you changed
Shake, shake

Great God Almighty, gonna change me
Great God Almighty, He gonna change me
Great God Almighty, gonna change me
Great God Almighty, He gonna change me

No matter when it happened
At 7 or 95
Move your feet, ’cause you are free
And you’ve never been more alive
You gotta shake, shake, shake
Like you’re changed, changed, changed
Brand new looks so good on you
So shake like you’ve been changed

The Cross has made you Flawless

mercy me welcome to newThanks to the band Mercy Me we have another way of appreciating what the cross has achieved for us, by grace. In Christ we stand before our heavenly Father as perfect, flawless people. We are wrapped up in Christ’s righteousness. What a great image. We have done nothing to deserve this grace, nor can we do anything to deserve it. The song is called Flawless, from the album Welcome to the New.

FLAWLESS

There’s got to be more
Than going back and forth From doing right to doing wrong
‘Cause we were taught that’s who we are
Come on get in line right behind me
You along with everybody, Thinking there’s worth in what you do

Then Like a hero who takes the stage when
We’re on the edge of our seats saying it’s too late
Well let me introduce you to amazing grace

No matter the bumps, No matter the bruises
No matter the scars, Still the truth is
The cross has made, The cross has made you flawless
No matter the hurt, Or how deep the wound is
No matter the pain, Still the truth is
The cross has made, The cross has made you flawless

Could it possibly be That we simply can’t believe
That this unconditional Kind of love would be enough
To take a filthy wretch like this
And wrap him up in righteousness
But that’s exactly what He did

Take a breath smile and say
Right here right now I’m ok
Because the cross was enough

Then Like a hero who takes the stage when
We’re on the edge of our seats saying it’s too late
Well let me introduce you to grace grace
God’s grace

Chorus:

No matter what they say Or what you think you are
The day you called His name
He made you flawless, He made you flawless

Chorus:

 

Won’t you be my love?

This is a great song from Mercy Me, which brings a reminder of the unique position we are in as Christ’s followers. We are his hands and feet, his representatives on this planet, shining his brilliance and pointing people to Him.

“Won’t You Be My Love”

[Verse 1:]
When you fall asleep tonight
In your warm and cozy room
Know that I’m awake
And I’ve got no shelter and no food

[Pre-Chorus 1:]
I am not alone
My friends are broke and lost
Looking for someone to lead them to my cross
I need your help, I need your help

[Chorus 1:]
Won’t you be My voice calling
Won’t you be My hands healing
Won’t you be My feet walking into a broken world
Won’t you be My chain-breaker
Won’t you be My peacemaker
Won’t you be My hope and joy
Won’t you be My Love

[Verse 2:]
The other side of the world
She is just a few days old
A helpless little girl
With no family of her own

[Pre-Chorus 2:]
She is not to blame for the journey she is on
Her life is no mistake
Won’t you lead her to My cross?

[Chorus 1:]
Won’t you be My voice calling
Won’t you be My hands healing
Won’t you be My feet walking into a broken world
Won’t you be My chain-breaker
Won’t you be My peacemaker
Won’t you be My hope and joy
Won’t you be My Love

[Bridge:]
To those I call My own
To those I’ve set aside
As spotless without blame
The chosen ones My bride

[Chorus 2:]
We will be Your voice calling
We will be Your hands healing
We will be Your feet walking into a broken world
We will be Your chain-breaker
We will be Your peacemaker
We will be Your hope and joy
We will be Your love

All of Creation, sing with me now, the veil is torn!

temple curtain“Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings. . . “ (Hebrews 10: 19-22)

For me one of the most striking events of Christ’s crucifixion is that moment when the temple curtain is torn from top to bottom. I always wonder who heard or saw that, who were witnesses to that moment?  And what an astounding occurence, coinciding with the death of the one who was Son of God, Son of Man, the promised King of the Jews who would reconcile God and man. But this is no happy coincidence or accident or furnishing fail! It is God’s clear and powerful object lesson. Listen to what Spurgeon says (1888):

“The rending of the veil of the temple is not a miracle to be lightly passed over. It was made of “fine twined linen, with Cherubims of cunning work.” This gives the idea of a substantial fabric, a piece of lasting tapestry, which would have endured the severest strain. No human hands could have torn that sacred covering; and it could not have been divided in the midst by any accidental cause; yet, strange to say, on the instant when the holy person of Jesus was rent by death, the great veil which concealed the holiest of all was “rent in twain from the top to the bottom.”

This supernatural event says that sinful man, who could not look on the glory of God, could now access God by the death of his perfect Son on the cross. Without being zapped or burnt to a crisp we sinful humans can now see the “glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Cor 4:6). We can have direct access to a Holy God by trusting in the death of His Son for us, by His Spirit poured into our hearts, making us right with Him!  Until this thick and weighty ‘veil’ was torn we were separated from God and knew only guilt. We had no hope. But from this point on we can have the certainty that we are acceptable to God because of Christ. This is amazing grace!

I love what the band Mercy Me have done in their song “All of Creation” – which takes us from this point where hope was born to singing out in praise to God. It calls for all of creation, both people and the natural world, to join and sing to the glory of their Creator. All creation is groaning, waiting the complete restoration when Christ returns, when the sons of God will be revealed (see Romans 8:19-24) – well I know I am!  What better way to pass the time than to sing out praises to the one we wait for?

Mercy Me

Separated until the veil was torn
The moment that hope was born
and guilt was pardoned once and for all

Captivated but no longer bound by chains
left at an empty grave
the sinner and the sacred resolved

And all of creation sing with me now
Lift up your voice and lay your burden down
And all of creation sing with me now
Fill up the heavens let his glory resound

Time has faded and we see him face to face
every doubt erased forever we will worship the king

The reason we breathe is to sing of his glory
And for all he has done
Praise the father, praise the son and the spirit in one
And every knee will bow oh and every tongue
Praise the father, praise the son, and the spirit in one.

You may also like:

The Great Unveilling
Creation calls – are you listening? 
Science and God – still playing on the same team

New Mercy, just like the first time

“The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!”
(Lamentations 3:22-24)

Screwtape Letters Chapter 2 (C.S. Lewis)
“Work hard, then, on the disappointment or anticlimax which is certainly coming to the patient during his first few weeks as a churchman. The Enemy (God) allows this disappointment to occur on the threshold of every human endeavour. . . It occurs when lovers have got married and begin the real task of learning to live together. In every department of life it marks the transition from dreaming aspiration to laborious doing. The Enemy takes this risk because He has a curious fantasy of making all these disgusting little human vermin into what He calls His “free” lovers and servants-“sons” . . . Desiring their freedom, He therefore refuses to carry them, by their mere affections and habits, to any of the goals which He sets before them: He leaves them to do it on their own.”

There are few Christians who do not feel some loss of their ‘first love’ for Christ. When our eyes are first opened to the truth of who God is, who we are in relation to him and what trusting in Christ’s death means, our lives and our thinking are radically changed! Even if you grow up in a Christian or church-going family there is a time where faith becomes your own. At first the blessings and presence of God are so tangible. We feel like our love and our passion will never grow cold. . . But then there is passing time, then there is the pressure of the everyday, the kids, the mortgage, the settling in to what is acceptable or expected. And we can lose that first love, that deep appreciation for the things of God. (In fact this is one of Christ’s complaints of the church at Ephesus: “You don’t love me or each other as you did at first!” Revelation 2:4.)

MercyMe_-_The_Hurt_And_The_HealerIt is comforting to know that in C.S. Lewis’ opinion (Screwtape Letters) there is some element of God’s design in this. To grow our faith he allows us to experience the disappointment that comes in every aspect of life, once the shiny and exciting veneer of “new” has worn off. God grows us as he deepens our reliance on Him. We come to know His grace more as we see our failings. And for these failings His mercy comes, new every morning. Each day the opportunity is there for us to appreciate anew the reality of God’s love for us in Christ. His grace and mercy pours to us through His Word and His Spirit in us. We also have His body, His people, and we can gather together in Him. We can serve, and in serving, receive encouragement!

The band Mercy Me has captured something of this new deep appreciation of God’s mercy which comes as we mature in the faith. (Watch and read the lyrics below: “The First Time”). As we go through the ups and downs of life we realise the unfathomable depth of God’s love. We realise the worthlessness of our own attempts at self-righteousness, and cast ourselves on Him. This is the grace we rest in, and are refreshed by, each day.

The First Time (by Mercy Me)

“Day after day, I try to explain you, like I can contain you in so many words
You are the ocean, I’m on the shoreline, thinking I know you, like you could be learned
It’s so amazing, that you’d ever save me . . .

I thought I knew your face, I thought I tasted grace
But I have never felt anything close to this.

Just when I’d seen it all, new mercy breaks the door.
With eyes open wide, it feels like the first time, first time.
it feels
like the first time, first time.

After all of my searching, all of my reaching,
I’m left with nothing, nothing of worth.
You treasure the broken, over and over,
And give me a hope that can never be earned.
It’s still amazing, that you’d ever save me.

And your beauty no eye has seen, Your majesty overwhelming
You love for me is healing, O God!

I thought I knew your face, I thought I tasted grace
But it was nothing like this.
Just when I’d seen it all, new mercy breaks the door.
With my eyes open wide, I feel alive for the first time, first time.
Just like the first time, first time.
I can see like the first time.

2012 – Songwriters: Muckala, Daniel John / Millard, Bart / Bryson, Jim / Cochran, Nathan / Graul, Barry E / Scheuchzer, Mike / Shaffer, Robby / Ingram, Jason David 

You may also like:
More great grace songs                                             The Unexpected Timing of God’s Grace
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