He Has Perfected for All Time
One of the greatest misunderstandings among evangelicals is that salvation is a “get out of hell free” card. They treat “getting saved” as a point in time and leave it there. I do agree that regeneration, or rebirth through the Holy Spirit, is a singular event, though not always discerned by the one saved when it happens. But salvation is much richer than the way that evangelicals, and particularly Baptists, have often preached it.
The Preacher has been telling us how ineffectual the sacrifices under the law were for cleansing the believer’s conscience, which is exactly why they had to be performed over and over again. By contrast, Christ “offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins” and then “sat down at the right hand of God.” His exaltation at the right hand provides an explanation point to his earthly ministry and passion: It is finished; he need never offer himself again! His was the last sacrifice, the perfect sacrifice because he is the perfect Son. Thus, while the priests ministering at the altar stand, Christ sits—his work of redemption complete. He now waits for the time when he returns and his enemies are made a footstool for his feet.
Moreover, unlike those animal sacrifices which could not clear the conscience of the believer, Christ has “perfected forever those who are being sanctified,” for “we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ.” Understand that what the Preacher is saying here is completely objective: The believer has been sanctified and perfected forever; it relies not on his feelings. The one who has been born again has been forever sanctified.
But the believer is “being sanctified” as well. We must continue in God’s grace if we will grow in holiness. And this is where so many evangelicals miss the mark. Indeed, talk of “being saved” even frightens them. They want to know that they are completely saved now. And they are—“if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in [them],” as Paul says (Romans 8:9). And if one cares not for continuing and growing in that grace, crucifying the flesh, and engaging in the spiritual disciplines, then one must wonder if he or she were ever sanctified (born again) in the first place.
We have a wonderful Savior who has perfected us as only his blood can. Let us remain in that grace as he nurtures us in godliness and one day gathers us unto himself. It’s the least, and most, we can do.