A Work In Progress

A friend once described his new son-in-law, Robert, as “a work in progress.” The trouble is, Robert used drugs, was having an affair and occasionally beat his wife. I had to lock my car doors at church because Robert had a habit of pilfering from those who were close to him. To my way of thinking, Robert was more like a train wreck in progress.

Being dishonest and choosing to harm others is not being a work in progress. It is not the same as learning to sit still in church. When Christ said, “It is finished” he was declaring that He had accomplished something in those who put their trust in Him. 

From the days of Isaiah, God declared that His people’s righteousness would be of Him. He revealed His intentions for this world when Isaiah wrote, “My righteousness will cover the earth as sea.”

But this righteousness is not just saying that you believe in Jesus or that He was raised from the dead. Instead, righteousness is an actual change in who you are, through a real relationship with the Father and Messiah. Your old heart of stone is removed and you receive a heart of flesh, in which resides the Spirit of God. This transformation has one purpose, according to Ezekiel. It is to make you able to obey the laws of God. 

Jesus said our righteousness is to be greater than the Pharisees’, who strove to obey even the smallest point of the law. The Savior of Israel declared that until the heavens and earth pass away, not one jot or tittle will be removed from the law. He did not call us to struggle through life apart from the law, but to live wholly within it. He called us to abandon everything and follow the voice of the Holy Spirit, fulfilling every one of the commandments of Yahweh. 

Every one of the LORD’s children is a priest. Today. This hour. This minute. If the Holy Spirit is in your heart, you are to live your life as a priest of the Living God. This is a life of holiness, defined and crafted by the love of God. This love of God has been shed abroad in the hearts of saints by the Holy Ghost. Out of our bellies flow rivers of living waters.

No where does scripture describe the righteous as a work in progress. We are required to do justice, love mercy and walk with humility before God. No where is the river of Life described as a trickle from a garden hose. No where does it say that we are to fit God into Sunday morning while we reserve the rest of the week to live for ourselves.

As long as we see people as a work in progress, we will accept and excuse sin in others’ lives. We will also become comfortable with sin in our own lives. Sin kills. CS Lewis said that human kindness is cruel. Our lack of judgment concerning sin is cruelty. Mercy without judgment abandons the innocent to the cruelty of the wicked. Instead of bringing justice to the oppressed, we will pray for the wicked, stopping our ears to the cries of their victims.

We do not need to fear judging evil. Our bad thoughts are not moral equivalents of adultery, child molesting, domestic abuse or drunkenness. 

Righteousness, truth and love will destroy everything but themselves. Indeed, we are the righteousness of God, and because we have the heart of the Father and the mind of Messiah it is impossible for us to freely harm others.  Indeed, it is inevitable that we will rise up to passionately defend and protect the defenseless and the oppressed.