I don’t know a perfect person. I only know flawed people who are still worth loving. — John Green
In seminary, my evangelism professor told us to share the Gospel with people who didn’t know Jesus. This was hard—everyone looked pretty saved to me. Finally, I approached a young woman and said, “I’m doing a survey. Would you mind answering a few questions?” She agreed and the conversation went like this:
“Do you believe in heaven?” I asked. “Yes, I do,” she answered.
“Do you believe heaven is a perfect place?” I asked. She thought for a second then said, “Yeah. God is perfect, so heaven must be perfect.”
“Do you think you’re going to heaven?” I asked. “I think I have a good chance,” she said.
“Have you lived a perfect life?” I asked. “Oh, no. But it’s better than some, worse than others.”
Then came my final question: “How can you go to a perfect place, after not having lived a perfect life, without wrecking that place?”
What my question lacked in sensitivity, it made up for in logic. “Then no one has hope,” she stated. “How can anyone become perfect?”
Most of us know the answer: Jesus shed His blood for us and rose again from the dead so we can be in His presence. But this idea of needing to be perfect—we struggle with how it comes to pass.
I’m convinced most new covenant believers live like old covenant Jews: We strive for perfect obedience, but partial obedience, delayed obedience, or disobedience is the norm. When we find ourselves in a cycle of sin, we get nervous: Will God really accept us? Maybe if we could dig ourselves out—then we’d please God. But that’s not the way of the new covenant:
For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. (Hebrews 10:14)
Our fear of imperfection is rooted in an incorrect understanding of the forgiveness and holiness available in Jesus. This week, we’ll discover that the work of perfection is His work, not ours, as He cements us in His love.
Lord, I was better than some, worse than others, but enough of a mess to wreck heaven. And so I thank You for inviting me as I am, making me acceptable on the spot. Remove the barriers to intimacy that I’ve constructed. Amen.