In Progress or Completed?

For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.—Hebrews 10:14  

It’s satisfying to finish a job. Each month, for instance, one of my job responsibilities gets moved from one category to another, from “In Progress” to “Completed.” I love clicking that “Completed” button. But last month when I clicked it, I thought, If only I could overcome rough spots in my faith so easily! It can seem like the Christian life is always in progress, never completed.

Then I remembered Hebrews 10:14  . It describes how Christ’s sacrifice redeems us totally. So in one important sense, that “completed button” has been pressed for us. Jesus’s death did for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves: He made us acceptable in God’s eyes when we place our faith in Him. It is finished, as Jesus Himself said (John 19:30  ). Paradoxically, even though His sacrifice is complete and total, we spend the rest of our lives living into that spiritual reality—“being made holy,” as Hebrews’ author writes.

The fact that Jesus has finished something that’s still being worked out in our lives is hard to understand. When I’m struggling spiritually, it’s encouraging to remember that Jesus’s sacrifice for me—and for you—is complete . . . even if our living it out in this life is still a work in progress. Nothing can stop His intended end from being achieved eventually: being transformed into His likeness (see 2 Corinthians 3:18  ).

Adam Holz

Jesus, thank You for giving Your life for us. Help us trust You as we grow into followers whose lives look more and more like Yours, knowing that You are the one who makes us complete.

God is at work to make us who He intends us to be.

INSIGHT: The words “It’s finished!” can mean different things to different people. For the student, they might mean, “I’m finally graduating!” For the Jewish leaders at the time of Jesus, these words could mean they had succeeded in killing Jesus (John 11:53  ). For the Roman soldiers, it could describe the death penalty they had successfully carried out (19:16-18). For the disciples, these words could mean that their hopes of the Messiah delivering them from Roman bondage were dashed (Luke 24:19-21  ). But when Jesus uttered, “It is finished” (John 19:30  ), He was declaring He had completed the work the Father gave Him to do (17:4)—to be “an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:10  ). K. T. Sim