I broke a tooth Labor Day weekend. Within an hour I was in the dentist chair getting it fixed. Yes, I have a very accommodating dentist. A talented one, too.
First off, I should tell you this is a fake tooth. I’ve had caps on my top front teeth since I was a teenager. Those original teeth were nothing to write home about and beyond the hopes of standard orthodontia. So rather than go through life scaring children and small dogs whenever I smiled, I got them capped. I’m on my third set now, and when I broke one on a plum pit that Saturday morning I thought I might be headed for my fourth.
I called the dentist, wrapped the shard of broken off tooth in some Kleenex, took it with me to the dentist’s office and he did his stuff, fitting it right back in. Good thing, because I tried smiling at some children and small dogs on the way there and … well, let’s just say it’s a good thing the dentist fixed me up. I didn’t even need anesthetic. He just cleaned off the tooth and shard, slathered on some glue, and fit them back together. A little polishing and the tooth looked good as new.
Looking Good, Feeling Cracked
My wife looked at my tooth and said she couldn’t even tell it was ever broken. Me too. I looked and looked as closely as I could: not a crack in sight.
Then I ran my tongue across it and thought I felt something. I dragged a fingernail over where the broken bit meets the tooth and definitely felt a fault line. This is California, where we know something about fault lines. They’re not good. Still, I’m not going to get wigged out; the dentist told me he’s seen these types of repairs last 10 years, and that’s probably about when I’ll be ready for a new set anyway. All the same, I think I’ll try to avoid biting down on plum pits.
Lots of lives have unseen fault lines, though, mine included. People might look at my life and think I’ve got it pretty good, that it must be nice to have it all together. Great marriage, a healthy son and daughter, and a wonderful career. All of that’s true and I am filled with gratitude for God’s blessings, don’t get me wrong!
But my life has cracks in it. I bet yours does too, so I don’t need to go into detail about my own. But like my repaired tooth, I’m not going to get worked up over my life’s fault lines. I have been repaired, restored even.
“He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!'”
Jesus sits on the throne and is in the process of making everything new, including his people. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 5:1-10, our old bodies are to be shed and new bodies are to be given us, bodies that work the way they should. Not a fault line anywhere.
Yet physical faultlessness in the future isn’t all we have to look forward to. In fact, we have much more than that right now: “For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” (Hebrews 10:14.) Jesus “has made perfect forever” – notice the past tense, and notice too that this perfection cannot be lost. What can this mean?
I think this statement of our condition – a condition that is now present yet also eternal – relates to the promise we see in Jeremiah 31:33-34:
“This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel
after that time,” declares the Lord.
“I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
No longer will they teach their neighbor,
or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest,”
declares the Lord.
“For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more.”
We are in that New Covenant with God right now, the one God made through the blood of Jesus shed on the cross, the sacrifice for our sins mentioned above in Hebrews 10:14. We are currently and eternally perfect in our relationship with God because of what he has done, not because of our own efforts to smooth over our fault lines.
You have been restored to perfection because God is perfect. Praise God that he is, and that we are blessed to share in it.