Chapter Twelve: Perfected Forever
By Robert E Henson
Song of Solomon 4:7 says,
“Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee.”
In other words, the songwriter declares of his lover that she is perfect. Now, this was not an expression of some man fantasizing. The king, the husband, made this statement. It was said about his bride, his wife, with whom he had been intimate. He stated that she was all fair and without spot, blemish, or flaw.
The Song of Solomon is a love story in the Old Testament. The significance is that it actually reveals to us in poetic form the love that Christ has for His Church. It expresses by analogy the way God feels about His Church.
Against this backdrop, reflect upon the words of the writer Jude in the New Testament in Jude 24-25:
“Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.”
View again the phrase, “and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.” God, our Savior, is able to present you faultless before the presence of His glory.
God has the ability to present His Church, and the individual member, before His presence, totally and completely without fault!
This is nothing short of a miracle. In fact, there are three miracles in this verse. God is able to:
• Keep us from falling;
• Present us faultless; and,
• Enable us to finish our race with exceeding joy.
I can scarcely contain it. He is able to keep you and me from falling. What a miracle! Our journey will not end in bitterness and defeat. Another miracle! But right in the middle of those two is another miracle. He is able to present us faultless before the presence of His glory!
Now the truth is all the more astounding when we pause long enough to remember that, as a matter of fact, we do have faults. Even ministers have faults. God has a marvelous ability through His mercy and His grace to actually present us before the presence of His glory without a fault! Wow!
The process of individual transformation toward perfection all begins with what is often referred to as the new birth, being born from above, or being born again. Jesus made this dramatic change possible through His suffering and death on Calvary. A sinner can be spiritually regenerated into a new creation.
This is the precise message of the great missionary and apostle in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.
“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
Look at the list of those who are prohibited from inheriting the kingdom of God. Most of us at some time in our lives have found ourselves in at least one place on this list.
Then comes the phrase, “And such were some of you.” [Emphasis added] Oh, the mercy of God! He washed us! He cleansed us! He took it all away! He sanctified us! He justified us! And here are the power tools that liberated us and gave us a place in the Bride of Christ. We are sanctified and justified:
• In the name of the Lord Jesus and
• By the Spirit of our God.
Isaiah gives witness to God’s mercy in chapter 43:25:
“I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.”
Read it again. The Lord clearly stated that He took this redeeming action “for [His] own sake.” He did it just because He wanted to do so. He did it because of His awesome love for people.
Then the Lord added a most magnificent warranty. He boldly asserted that He would not remember our forgiven sins! That is phenomenal! We have an ability that God chooses not to exercise. We can remember some things that we previously did which are now under the blood. However, God doesn’t remember those things of which we have repented and that He has forgiven. There is wonder working power in the blood of the Lamb!
Consider with me the following additional evidence from Romans 5:6-11:
“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.”
The poignant point is this: He loved us enough to die for us while we were yet sinners. All the more, He will save us from wrath because we have been justified by His blood! Hallelujah!
The Washing of Water by the Word
Ephesians 5:25-27 says:
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
Focus for a moment on the phrase “the washing of water by the word.” The Word of God has a cleansing effect upon a true Christian. One of the things that transpire while we’re in church is that we get a spiritual bath or shower. There is a spiritual washing that takes place in our lives through the preaching of the Word of God. We are also sanctified, or set apart for the Master’s service, by that same anointed preaching and teaching of the Word of God.
The reason for this washing, cleansing, and sanctification is revealed in verse 27, “That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” It is important to notice that His bride will be holy and without flaw. Remember, the Church is a gift that God is giving himself. He doesn’t give us junk, and neither will He give himself something that is all ravaged, torn, or scarred. The Church will not be disfigured. It will be a glorious Church.
The apostle Paul emphasized in Ephesians 5 that when Christ presents the Church unto himself, it will be without even a spot. What are spots? There are actually two kinds of spots.
First of all, the word in the Greek that is translated spot can also correctly be translated as fault. Thus, it would be appropriate to say that the presented Church will be without fault. A fault is an inherent or an innate flaw. As such, it speaks of something intrinsically or internally defective. God’s Church will be neither deficient nor defective. It will be a glorious Church!
Secondly, there is another kind of spot. These are the spots that a Christian picks up as he or she walks through this world. These spots are the residue and stains that the world leaves on us in our everyday living. However, God has a washing process. The Lord God has a cleansing and sanctifying process in which He can absolutely bleach out every spot whether it is an inward fault or an outward stain. The reigning Church will not be spotted. It will be pure and triumphant.
Paul also stipulates that the presented Church will be free of any wrinkles. The Church of Jesus Christ will be ageless and forever youthful. It will not be wrinkled and deteriorating. God’s Church will be victorious!
This reference to the lack of wrinkles is also, no doubt, a notation of the superb condition of the attire of the Bride of Christ—the Church. How does a bride get wrinkles in her wedding gown? It happens just by sitting on it. God’s Bride will not have wrinkles in her wedding gown because she is not just a sitting showpiece. She is an active agent in this world, attending to the business of the Bridegroom. The Church will rule and reign with Christ.
To this, the Apostle John adds his testimony in 1 John 1:7, saying,
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”
The blood of Jesus does not just sprinkle or splatter us. It flows and it cleanses. To cleanse is to remove every particle of toxin or filth. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin!
Sometimes it is difficult for us to fully connect with these truths. The reason is often because we know ourselves so well. We know our many imperfections. However, the Word of God stands true regardless of human frailty and weakness. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin!
This matter of cleansing and perfection is also addressed in Hebrews 10:1-4; 9-23:
“For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.
For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.
But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.
For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.”
“Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, 0 God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.
By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:
But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;
From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.
For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before,
This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;
And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.
Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,
By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;
And having an high priest over the house of God;
Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised.)”
Under the law, sins were simply rolled ahead for one year. Animal sacrifices could not remove sin; they could only roll them forward. On the next anniversary, the sins had to be confronted and dealt with again. The priests had to continually repeat their sacrifices to deal with the ongoing problem of sin. However, the sacrifice of Jesus is efficacious forever because He does not just roll sins ahead. He expunges and removes them, leaving not a trace! Oh, the marvelous mercy of God!
It is interesting wording in verse 13 that notes Jesus is “expecting.” Just what is our Lord expecting? The answer is given in the same brief verse, “till his enemies be made his footstool.” To say it another way, He is expecting complete subjugation of His enemies and total triumph for His Church.
Verse 14 uses the word “perfected” with reference to the Church of Jesus Christ. The world is going down, the devil is going to hell, but the Church is going to be presented to God without fault—perfect!
Verses 15 and 16 make it plain that the Holy Ghost is a witness to God’s work of sanctification within our lives and to our ultimate destiny of eternal victory. Verse 19 stipulates that we have “boldness” (could also be translated “liberty”) to enter the Holy of Holies through, or because of, the blood of Jesus.
In the Old Testament, the only person allowed to enter the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle was the High Priest. A person could not become the High Priest if he had any flaw or defect whatsoever. He had to be a perfect physical specimen. However, in the New Testament, all true believers may come into the very Holy of Holies. How is this made possible? The blood of Jesus cleanses and sanctifies us and leaves us flawless!
Oh, marvelous mercy!