Yesterday I told you about the question my friend and his wife asked me over pizza: "Do you think of yourself as a sinner or a saint?" Between bites of pepperoni and extra cheese I murmured, "A saint." But even as I said the words, I felt a twinge of uncertainty inside. I mean, I know the Word of God calls me a saint, but I sure don’t feel like one most of the time!
And then, almost two weeks later, I saw the answer in Hebrews 10:14:
By a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified (emphasis added).
I get it! This tension I feel. The answer is . . . "yes" and "yes." Jesus Christ has perfected me (past tense), and I am being sanctified (present tense). I am a saint, and I am a sinner. Or, in the words of my friend, I am a saint who still deals with sin.
Does that sound like double talk to you?
Let me see if I can explain using an example from creation . . .
Is a sapling a tree?
Well yeeeees . . . but not nearly what it will be! It looks more like a puny twig than a tree. It will take years to grow into a mature tree. But, yes, it’s a tree. Even now. It just has some growing to do.
And you, if all your confidence is in Christ, are a saint. Right now. Even when you feel more like a sinner. Jesus’ bloody sacrifice took care of your sin once for all time:
And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. . . . For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified (Heb. 10:11–14).
Are you what you someday will be? Oh, no! But does God see you even now as the perfect saint He’s already made you? You betcha! Just like that sapling will someday reach full maturity, you and I will keep working—striving with all God’s energy that He powerfully works in us—to grow up into complete maturity in Christ (Col. 1:29).
To grow into what we already are.