God will Finish His Work
Remember that there are two kinds of perfection that the Christian needs—the perfection of justification in the person of Jesus, and the perfection of sanctification accomplished in him by the Holy Spirit. At present, corruption still remains even in the hearts of the regenerate—experience soon teaches us this. Within us there still are lusts and evil imaginations. But I rejoice to know that the day is coming when God shall finish the work that He has begun; and He will present my soul not only perfect in Christ, but perfect through the Spirit, without spot or blemish or any such thing.
Can it be true that this poor sinful heart of mine is to become holy even as God is holy? Can it be that this spirit, which often cries, "Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?"1 shall get rid of sin and death—that I will have no evil sounds to vex my ears, and no unholy thoughts to disturb my peace? May this happy hour come quickly! When I cross the Jordan, the work of sanctification will be finished; but not until that moment shall I ever claim perfection in myself. Then my spirit will have its last baptism in the Holy Spirit's fire.
I think I long to die to receive that last and final purification that will usher me into heaven. An angel will not be any purer than I shall be, for I shall be able to say, in a double sense, "I am clean," through Jesus' blood and through the Spirit's work. We should extol the power of the Holy Spirit who makes us fit to stand before our Father in heaven! Yet we must not allow the hope of perfection there to make us content with imperfection now. If it does this, our hope cannot be genuine; for a good hope is a purifying thing, even now. Grace must be at work in us now or it will not be perfected in us then. Let us pray to "be filled with the Spirit,"2 that we may increasingly bring forth the fruits of righteousness.
1Romans 7:24 2Ephesians 5:18
verse 1 Isaiah 14
verse 2 1 Peter 2
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From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.