Last night at small group we were talking about “God’s rest” from Hebrews 4. Over the course of the evening the discussion weaved in and out around the theme of salvation. We saw how salvation wasn’t really centered around making sure I’m okay with God so I go to heaven when I die. Rather, salvation is entering the divine life of God so that every moment of my life is viewed and acted upon from “above” (Col 3.1). That’s because salvation is being transferred in real, practical everyday ways from the dominion of darkness and into the kingdom of Christ (Col 1:13). Therefore, God’s rest (salvation) is a choice to be entered into as my obedient faith engages God’s grace in each circumstance throughout my day.
At the end of the end of the meeting, Mark mentioned that this salvation was “freedom.” Immediately a verse that I’ve always associated with salvation leapt into my gray matter — “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). In this portion of Jesus’ sermon, he’s talking about God’s love and then concludes with that sentence. As Mark said salvation has given us freedom, this thought hit me, “I’m free to be perfect/mature in love like my heavenly Father is perfect/mature in his love.”
That means I get to do the impossible! I get to become LOVE like God is love (1 John 4:16). I have been freed from every obstacle and hindrance that would hinder me from the fullest expression of salvation — being perfect as my Father is perfect. No wonder the writer of Hebrews later says, “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.” That race is becoming love as God is love. To achieve that salvation in God’s grace, I must throw off everything that hinders because I’ve been freed to run this race. And I must keep my eyes on Jesus, who issued the command, modeled it and now coaches me to pursue it as well (1 Cor 14:1).
Father, thank you that you have freed me into a life and eternal existence that is so vast and grand that I only see a shadow of it now. And forgive me for not even living up to that shadow. May my life be completely consumed with this solitary pursuit — to be perfect as you are perfect. To be love as you are love. To be holy as you are holy. Let my mind be renewed by this constant thought. Let my heart be enflamed with this constant passion. And let my body be trained for this constant pursuit.