The celebration of Christmas and the birth of the Christ is behind us and for many that brings on the holiday blues. Fun is over. Bills will come in. The extra weight is here to stay.
But while the celebration is over, the reality is that Christmas is still here. In fact, everyday Christ is active in this world. Our celebration should be all the year through.
Hebrews 12:2 is our reason to give thanks everyday:
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
There is a lot there for which to give thanks. But my eyes today, in the shadow of Christmas, are on author and perfecter.
The NIV uses author, in the ESV it is translated founder. Either way it means that Christ is the enabler of the value of our faith. He’s the foundation. This is the theological idea of justification.
Few of us seem to have a problem giving Jesus charge over this aspect of our salvation. By the sinless life, sacrificial death and resurrection, we are declared righteous. Christ is essential. He’s the author.
But this verse does not just declare Christ as author of our faith. Giving us a new status. It also declares him the perfecter. This is sanctification, the process of being saved.
This is where we have trouble. For we often function as if perfecting our faith is up to us.
Here are three quick observations about this idea of Christ as perfecter:
1. If he is the perfecter, that means Christ is active. He is always involved in the process of the development of our faith. Chipping away the false self, polishing and refining us. Less centered in self, more centered in Christ.
He is not satisfied with good enough, there is not a certain point that he’ll be happy if we attain, the goal is perfection.
2. If he is the perfecter, making something perfect, that means there is a plan. This is not a random process – nor a “we’ll know it when we get there”. We were created in the image of the Creator. It is that image that is being restored.
3. If he is the perfector, that means the process is guided outside of us.
I cannot perfect my own faith. I cannot just try harder to be faithful.
It is not your job to perfect your faith – that it Christ’s role; it is your job to remain in Christ.
We are clay. Clay that is hard will shatter and break; clay that is soft can be skillfully molded into something beautiful.
Fixing your eyes on Christ. Developing openness; surrendering your will to his.
That way you can be perfected.
Are you allowing Christ to be the perfecter of your faith?