The Steinway & Son’s piano company makes a grand piano, model 1037, that is preeminent in the industry. Construction begins with the outer side wall which consists of very long wide boards laminated and shaped in the classic grand piano curved shape. Large blocks, clamps, molds, presses, and winches are used to conform and glue the layers of wood into a precise solid consistent shape. After the side wall is removed from the molding press and clamps it is taken to a conditioning room and left for eight weeks to rest.
Piano craftsmanship caused me to consider God’s work in Believers. Through the years I’ve heard many preachers explain that the Christian life is a process where we, by God’s influence, progressively become better people over time in this life? Is this process to be better, accomplished by God’s work in our life? As Believers, we grow in faith, our relationship to God becomes deeper, broader, stronger, perhaps it changes in dimensions that can not be expressed in human language or grasped in the human mind. Does this equate to becoming better people and does it include efforts or striving on our part?
Scripture does say that we are “to be conformed into the image” of Yeshua. (Rom. 8: 29). Also, “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3: 18). So, we acknowledge that we are God’s handiwork, as scripture says, “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2: 4-10).
I am leery of anything suggesting that we can become better people. I’m much older than when I first believed, but I would never say that I am any better. We may grow in wisdom, faith, knowledge, perseverance, character, and hope, but I would question the person who considered himself, therefore better. The Hebrew writer describes the Believer’s status at salvation for there is only one measure with God – perfection. “But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.” (Hebrews 12: 22-24).
God is beyond time or process, our natural self is not healed, but crucified, so that we are born again, a new creation in Messiah. If we were to become better people in this life, we would still be infinitely short of the perfection God requires. This merely shows that all glory, praise, and recognition belongs to God alone. He dwells within each Believer by the Holy Spirit. Moreover, He gives the Spirit without limit. (John 3: 34). We can do no more, nor be better than when we walk in step with the Spirit. Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit. (1 Cor. 14:1). God is a rewarder of those who earnestly seek Him.