John Piper: Why Christians Should Rejoice as 'Imperfect Sinners'

John Piper
Pastor John Piper. |

Christians can rejoice in knowing that God's sacrifice will save us as imperfect sinners, John Piper wrote in a recent post.

Piper, who is the founder of and chancellor of Bethlehem College and Seminary, sought to analyze Hebrews 10:14 in a recent blog post, explaining that the verse gives Christians hope and motivation to turn away from their sins and move toward their faith.

"By one offering He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified," the verse reads.

Piper contends that the verse lends an interesting perspective on the idea of perfection and forgiveness for Christians.

Evidently, no one is perfect because of sin, but the verse implies that those who "are being sanctified," or "being made holy," can move away from sin and imperfection and improve in their faith.

"'Those who are being sanctified' are not yet fully sanctified in the sense of committing no more sin. Otherwise, they would not need to go on being sanctified," Piper writes.

Thanks to Jesus' sacrifice for us on the cross, although we are not perfect, we can be forgiven of our sins, Piper continues, because "when [God] looks on us, he does not impute any of our sins to us — past, present, or future. He does not count our sins against us."

"What this means is that you can know that you stand perfect in the eyes of your heavenly Father, if you are moving away from your present imperfection toward more and more holiness by faith in his future grace," Piper continues. "Hebrews 10:14 means that you can have assurance that you stand perfected and completed in the eyes of your heavenly Father, not because you are perfect now, but precisely because you are not perfect now but are 'being sanctified' — 'being made holy.'"

Piper adds that Christians can see Hebrews 10:14 as motivation to move away from sin and seek to change themselves in holy ways, for they are perfect in the eyes of God.

"You may have assurance of your perfect standing with God because by faith in God's promises, you are moving away from your lingering imperfections toward more and more holiness. Our remaining imperfection is not a sign of our disqualification, but a mark of all whom God 'has perfected for all time,'" Piper concludes.

The website has discussed the topic of perfection and sin before, with David Mathis, executive editor for the blog and pastor at Cities Church in Minnesota, writing in January 2010 that there is a connection between grace, perfection, and forgiveness.

While some may mistaken the concept of "perfection" as being "justice," perfection is actually seen in God's grace.

"[...] Jesus says about his Father, 'He makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust' (verse 45)," Mathis writes.

"The kind of perfection that Jesus says comes from his father – and the kind he calls his disciples to pursue – does not find its sense of completion in delivering retribution for wrongs done," Mathis writes. "Rather, it is the perfection of a heart that finds so much fulfillment and satisfaction in the God of grace that it is able to extend grace to those who don't deserve it."

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