Take another look at this verse.
We do not perfect ourselves.
We do not make ourselves better.
Yet man-centered cults and religion has taught people that they make themselves better by keeping certain rules, by attending religious services, that we can improve our standing before God.
"The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.
2The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.
3They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one." (Psalm 14:1-3)
"Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one." (Psalm 53: 3)
Solomon, the wisest man in the world, had to acknowledge in his time:
Let us not forget, however, that Solomon wrote these words before Jesus, the righteousness of God, had become sin for us (2 Corinthians 5: 21).
Paul repeated this distressing reality about man (on his own, in himself):
"They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one." (Romans 3: 12)
We cannot perfect ourselves, nor can we be received in ourselves, but only by the blood of Jesus are we accepted before the Father:
"But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ." (Ephesians 2: 13)
"To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved." (Ephesians 1: 6)
We are accepted because of His favor, not our labor.
He has perfected us in our conscience before God. Before explaining this perfect standing through Christ's blood, the writer of the Book of Hebrew elaborates on the imperfection of animal sacrifices:
"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. 2For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. 3But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. 4For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins." (Hebrews 10: 1-4)
With the sacrifice of animals, there was a remembrance of sins. Ouch!
Another reason why I hate the AA cult -- a program which creates a remembrance of sins rather than permitting the final Work of Jesus to put away all sins forever. (Take that, Steps Eight, Nine, and Ten!)
Then the writer of Hebrews continues:
"11And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. 14For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified." (Hebrews 10: 11-14)
Look at that last verse again: "perfected forever."
As far as God is concerned, as we stand before Him in Christ, we are perfect. In our conscience, the deepest part of us, we need never have a sense of guilt or wrongdoing ever again.
I had to meditate on that part a second time. If we have been perfected forever in Christ, then there is no reason for us to feel guilty about anything ever again.
We should have no sense of guilt, because He has Finished the work.
Except, of course, if you have been raised in a household with the AA cult or where the Ten Commandments were prominently placed on the wall, as if the Servant deserved more preeminence than the Son.
Now, if we still feel bad, if we still do bad things, we must recognize that we have been forgiven of all things, but most importantly justified from all things, too:
"Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: 39And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses." (Acts 13: 38-39)
We have been justified forever, and now we can allow His Spirit to transform us, rather than our trying to fix ourselves:
"But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." (2 Corinthians 3: 18)44
He perfects us, not we ourselves.