The ongoing cleansing

Faith & Inspiration

Did you ever stop to notice how you envision your own salvation? Do you conceive of it more as a state: abstract, unchangeable, transcendent, above time, impervious to your choices? Or as a growth: growing, changing, developing, affected by your choices?

Speaking for "state," we recall that we received, all at once, the imputed righteousness of Christ by His vicarious death. This resulted in the "forensic" (as they say) judgment of God that we are accepted in His Son.

"For our sake, he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21).

But do you envision anything else after that invisible translation into a new legal state? Or do you see yourself as merely inhabiting an abstract membership that is remote if vaguely comforting?

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Then what does the Apostle John mean by telling Christians that if they confess their sins, God will cleanse them from all unrighteousness?

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).

How can we be cleansed who have been cleansed once and for all?

The answer seems to be that besides the imputed righteousness of Christ there is another dimension of getting rid of unrighteousness that is ongoing and progressive and accumulative and teleological (if I may put it that way):

"But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day" (Proverbs 4:18).

"And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image, from one degree of glory to another" (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Here is language of "degrees." The following verse captures both dimensions: "For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified" (Hebrews 10:14). The front end of the verse talks "done and forensic"; the back end of the verse talks "process."

The reason this is such good news to me is that it proves the Lord is interested in not only giving me a clean legal status, but is as gung-ho as I am in getting rid of all the junk in my fixer-upper of a heart that I can see and everybody else can see. He wants to clean out as much of it as I will "confess" to Him.

Legal and imputed righteousness is wonderful. But how much more wonderful to watch the bondages, bad language, and covetousness get hauled out with the trash.

Andrée Seu
Andrée Seu

Andrée is the author of three books: Won't Let You Go Unless You Bless Me, Normal Kingdom Business, and We Shall Have Spring Again.


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