Recently we moved into a brand-new house. I have never lived in a new house and so have discovered I had a few misconceptions. You may be like me and have thought that “new” means “perfect.” I have since learned otherwise!
The first hint of non-perfection came the day we actually moved our things in…the washer and dryer didn’t fit! This was a surprise to us, to our movers, to our realtor, and even our builder! Somewhere in the building process someone had made a mistake. It happens. The builder came and made adjustments thinning out some trim work and making corrections, and now our washer and dryer are snug as a bug!
Other minor imperfections have become apparent too – such as a plate cover not quite fitting, a door not closing correctly, sink-stoppers installed incorrectly, paint spattering where it shouldn’t be. These have been small things, but have reinforced the truth that “new” does not mean “perfect.”
This brought an even more eye-opening realization that I believe can bring great comfort into our lives as believers in Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us – “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature, the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” NASB
Nowhere in that verse does it say we are made instantly perfect; it says we are made new. I think many of us have the same misconception I had – that because we are made new, we should be perfect. We begin thinking we are “less of a Christian” when we compare ourselves to others. We let Satan convince us we have failed yet again and God is going to give up on us. That simply isn’t true though.
In Philippians 2:12, Paul challenges believers to “continue working out their salvation.”
“So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling;”
Paul is NOT speaking of working to earn our salvation; Jesus paid that price in full by His death on the cross. He is referencing the continual process of the work God continues doing in us as we yield to Him, continue seeking & knowing Him, trying to walk as Jesus walked. (1 John 2:5) If we back up to Philippians 1:6, we see this.
“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Although salvation begins at the moment we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, it does not end there. It is a process God continues in us as we yield to His working in our life to make us more and more like Jesus; when Christ comes again, then we will be made perfect like Him.
This is of great relief to me, and I hope it is to you also! I am so NOT perfect. I make so many mistakes and still fail to make right choices. I disobey God. I still sin.
Satan wants me to feel hopeless when I fail and see all my flaws thinking I am supposed to be perfect just because I have been made new. Yes, God has made me new, but not perfect yet! He is still working on me; it is a process. There is hope!
Now as I find flaws in our “new” house, I just have to smile and remember – “New does not mean perfect!” And for that I am eternally grateful!
1 Peter 1:3-9
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.”
1 John 3:1-3
“See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”