When you complete a thesis for graduate work, your first submission is a strange duck. It is in now way a draft. In fact, it ought to be, it must be, your very best work. But unless you're a grammatical genius and immaculate thinker, you turn it in with the expectation that your advisor and reader(s) will ask for revisions. More data. Fixed errors. Clarify connections. Submission, in this sense, is not final. Though I just turned in my thesis on April 1st, it will not be done, with complete revisions and binding, until the middle of May.
Submission to God is, actually, quite similar.
When we submit ourselves to God and God's Kingdom, this is never the final draft. We are constantly in a state of revision. As Colossians says, Christ is "reconciling all things to Himself," and so we are in a constant process of reconciliation.
But our approach to God should never be a rough draft.
Through baptism, God justifies sinners, no matter the content, quality, or count of the sins. But after that, when we begin to (in the words of Deuteronomy) "choose life," we ought not be turning in ourselves with incomplete sentences, comma splices, poor research, and inconsistent citations. When we submit ourselves to God, it ought to be, it must be, our best effort, not to earn our salvation, for that is done upon the cross of Christ and given in our baptism. But it must be our best effort because we are living a borrowed life in the image of the Resurrected God.
Yet, we know we will constantly fall short, so of course, we must expect revisions of our submissions. We can't expect to turn ourselves over once for all. Only one person did that, and we remember that act weekly at the Eucharist table. We must be constantly submitting, dying daily, accepting the revisions the Holy Spirit lays on our hearts and turning in new work that seeks to embrace life in the Kingdom, that this world might reflect the will of heaven.
So, as I await (hopefully, patiently) the edits suggested by my committee, I'm also expecting God to constantly work at revisions in my life. This is transformation for kingdom life. This is sanctification, not for personal glory, but for inhabiting the image of God.
Submission is a big deal, but it is not final. Revisions are on the way.
Leave a Reply.
Simultaneously a sinner and a saint.