Wholeness: Being and Becoming
This brings us to the issue of biblical wholeness. As I have written elsewhere, the call to wholeness is perhaps one of the most common of biblical imperatives. The Shema of Deuteronomy (“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might”; Deut. 6:4–9), introduces this call to wholeness, and it is repeatedly alluded to in the Historical Books, the Prophets, the Psalter, the teaching of Jesus, and the letters of Paul. Jesus refers to it as the summary of the Law and its greatest commandment (Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27), and it seems to be the verse that is on His mind when He is about to be betrayed (John 17:20–26).
Like other benefits of salvation, biblical wholeness can often seem like a far-off goal, a wonderful idea but not something we can experience in our daily lives. After all, who has not suffered from the fragmentation (the opposite of wholeness) of busy lives, multitasking, private guilt from besetting sins, and private pain from past abuse? We are too acquainted with division, hiding, and our own desperate attempts to protect the personal fiefdoms that give us control over our lives. But God has called us out of fragmentation to wholeness.
Is fragmentation an all too real and present danger? Absolutely, but we have been united to a Savior who is whole. In our union with Him, we, too, can taste the heavenly gift of wholehearted worship and life. To be sure, sin is still at work in us to draw us away from this gift of wholeness, but sin does not rule over us as it did once before.
We are truly whole, individually and corporately, in Christ already. His wholeness has been declared true for us as persons and as a people. So how should we then live? We lay hold of those promises in Christ, and we repent toward the wholeness that we have in Him. We confidently pursue the wholeness to which we have been saved.
The Apostle Paul has no problem calling Christians “saints” before pressing them to be sanctified through repentance and belief (1 Cor. 1:2; 6:1; Eph. 1:1; Phil. 1:1). He is saying, “In Christ, you are saints, so go be saints.” Let your identity form your behavior. Let your being form your becoming.
The same logic holds true for biblical wholeness. In Christ, you are whole, so go be whole.
Editor’s Note: This post was first published on March 2, 2018.