Past Tense

mirrorIt was 3:00pm and on this particular day, I had just made it to my bedroom to brush my hair thoroughly and put on a little make-up for the first time.  It’d been one of those days where there were too many things on my to-do list, too many arguments to referee, and just way too many frustrations.  And… this all followed one of those nights that was more about enduring and less about sleeping.

As I moved methodically through my make-up routine, my mind drifted back to a verse I’d read earlier in the day… Romans 8:30 – “… those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified…”

I capped my mascara and surveyed the fatigued reflection in the mirror…

Glorified?”  Hummmm.  Today, maybe not so much.

As I thought a little more, I couldn’t help but wonder … what kind of encouragement did the Apostle Paul intend when he described believers as already glorified? 

Obviously, on even our best days, most of us would not describe ourselves that way.  But before we breeze past that verse with a mental eye roll, I think when we understand the implications of God’s word, this description offers encouragement that can keep us moving forward in faith even when we’re at our worst.

I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty hard on myself when I make a mistake.  When I ignore the truth or deliberately choose to sin, the temptation to believe God levels the same sort of disdain at me that I heap on myself is high.  Some whole denominations emphasize that same kind of thinking, warning that personal failure will even jeopardize our divine relationship.  The clear and brutal message is “be good or else.” 

But God doesn’t accept us on a sliding scale of our faithfulness.  In fact, His relationship with us doesn’t depend on our conduct at all.  God receives us based solely on our relationship to Him through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross… and nothing else.  No amount of good behavior brings us to Him and once we are His, no poor behavior pushes Him away. We are fully “accepted in the beloved” (Eph 1:6 KJV) and “clothed in the righteousness of Christ.” (Is 61:10)

This is hard for most of us to believe because our shortcomings often blind us to the clear teachings of scripture.  But thanks goodness, God doesn’t see us the way we see ourselves.  From His vantage point, we stand in the purity of Christ, perfected by His finished work on our behalf.

That must be why the Holy Spirit instructed the Apostle to write the word “glorified” in the past tense.  Our relationship is so secure that from God’s position as righteous judge, He deems the process of perfection as already complete.  Our future home with Him is a settled issue.

A girl smiling, reflection in a mirrorSo the next time you feel condemned (even when you’re the chief accuser), remind yourself that your relationship with the Lord is never in jeopardy.  No matter what you see in the mirror, rest in the secure truth knowing that as God’s precious child, you are already glorified!

 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39

4 thoughts on “Past Tense

  1. I had one of those moments: I had a whoosh of identifying that although I wouldn’t teach it, wouldn’t have claimed I believe it–I was taught that! I do falsely “believe” I can jeopardize my relationship by what I do! Wow! Good to find that ugly rotten junk hiding in the corner! Time to sweep that out!
    Sometimes I forget and I think “glorified” means adding lettuce, tomato and cheese!
    Hmmmm…that makes this glorified woman of God hungry!

    1. I agree Dawna. I think we all need to do regular sweeping! It’s so easy to fall into the trap of believing God’s truth based on how we feel, but to live in victory that was purchased for us, it’s critically important to align our feelings with the unmovable certainty of God’s Word by renewing our minds every day! Thanks for reading!

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