In my last blog, “10 Ways God Judges Christians,” I explained how amazing God thinks His children are. It’s hard for the human mind to conceive the magnitude of what Jesus accomplished on the cross for us. But somehow, it changed everything. When He said, “It is finished,” He bowed His head and gave up the spirit (John 19:30). In that moment, He made us right with God.
How can God think I am so righteous, holy, or perfect when I can take a good look within myself and know that is far from true? Is He naive? Has He convinced Himself to believe a fantasy?
Perhaps it’s not God that is wrong here.
The thing we have to understand is that each person is a triune being. We are made up of spirit, soul, and body (1 Thessalonians 5:23). The spirit is who we are, we have a soul, and we live in a body.
What God has done on the cross has been immediately established into our spirit—which is who we actually are. When Jesus said, “It is Finished,” it became a done deal in the spirit of the believer. In spirit, we are holy; we are righteous; we are perfect! That has become our nature and our truth.
The problem is that what we generally see in our own lives and the people around us is the exterior layer. It’s easier to detect the attitudes of the soul or the actions of the body than the state of the spirit.
But don’t forget, “The LORD looks at the heart,” (1 Samuel 16:7). Just because we can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not real.
The issue is that what has happened in our spirit is like a seed that must germinate and grow through the soil of our soul. And then it eventually sprouts forth the fruit that we can see outwardly from the body. His work truly has been finished. We are just waiting for the soul and the body to catch up to our internal reality.
The soul is made up of the mind, will, and emotions.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” (Romans 12:2).
As we sync our minds (soul) with the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16), we become transformed into His image, which has already been formed into our spirits.
Meditating on God’s thoughts germinates that seed of the “finished work” in our spirit and grows outward, bringing transformation through the soul and eventually through the body in our behaviors.
Ephesians 1:4 says God already sees us as holy and blameless. But 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 explains that Jesus will establish our hearts blameless in holiness at His coming as we love people.
Hebrews 10:10 says that through Jesus’ sacrifice, we have been sanctified (made holy). But Hebrew 10:14 says that we are being sanctified.
Hebrews 10:14 says that we have been perfected forever. But Philippians 3:12 says that we haven’t been perfected yet but need to press forward to greater things.
Is the Bible contradicting itself? Only if you don’t understand that God has already established the finished work of the cross into our spirits. Only if you don’t understand that the soul and the body need to catch up to the completed reality that already exists within the spirit. What has been accomplished already in the spirit requires process to be worked out through the soul and body.
What am I getting at with all of this?
Don’t be so hard on yourself. The true you, deep down in there, looks a lot more like Jesus than you think you do. Believe that Jesus has truly done a good job getting Himself into your spirit.
Meditate on what God believes about you until your mind agrees with Him. (You can refer to “10 Ways God Judges Christians” as a helpful resource.) Act upon these beliefs until your behaviors match those of Christ who lives within you.
The truth is, you can’t make yourself a better Christian. God isn’t looking for that, anyway. He wants you to discover that you and Jesus are already one. You can’t be any better off than that.
What you can do is discover how much like Christ you already are, and that will bear the fruit you are looking for.