Last year, Gemma and I had some work carried out on the largest wall of our house, an east facing wall, largely made up of old red Victorian bricks, many of which have over the years been softened and eroded by the salt in the sea air where we live. The work we had done on the wall is called rendering. Render is a kind of plaster that gives outside walls protection from the elements. To carry out the work, scaffolding had to be erected against the wall. It was a messy business with dust and sand covering the road outside our home. The scaffolding was left in place while the rendered surface dried and then two coats of bright yellow exterior paint (Gemma’s favourite colour) were applied. Only then was the scaffolding taken down to reveal our new wall in all its glory.
If you’ve ever driven past a building site, you will know that with any building or construction work things often look really messy during the building process. I find myself comparing that with the way things can sometimes look in our lives as Christians, as God works in us by His Spirit to change us to be more like Jesus. I know there are times, when I fail or sin, that I can easily see myself as a mess, more like a pile of rubble than God’s masterpiece as the New Living Translation translates Ephesians 2:10.
I sometimes use an interlinear Bible on my Kindle, to try and understand the richness of the original Hebrew or Greek text that may have been lost in translation to English. Recently, I looked at Jesus` final words on the cross before He died, ‘It is finished!’, recorded by the Apostle John in John 19:30. The Greek phrase ‘Tetelestai’, translated ‘It is finished’, means ‘to bring to an end, to complete or to accomplish’. Jesus said something similar, when He prayed in John 17:4, that He had accomplished or completed the work that His Father had given Him to do in His time on the earth.
As I read those words of completion and accomplishment spoken by Jesus, I thought of our verse for today from Philippians. The Apostle Paul’s confidence was not in the power of the Philippian believers to complete the work God had begun in them, but for God Himself to do that. The writer of Hebrews 12:2 echoes Paul’s confidence as he describes Jesus as the author and perfecter, or finisher, of our faith.
The result of my simple study above was a renewed assurance and hope that the same Jesus who accomplished the work of redemption on the cross will also accomplish and finish His work of transformation in each of us, who have put our trust in that redemption. Just as scaffolding is removed from a building to show its completion, so one day, each of us will be revealed complete and perfected in heaven.
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