Speaking In The “Perfect-Imperfect” Tense

by Kevin Burton

   You’ve heard people say of a sure thing, “you can take that to the bank.” How much better if we’re talking about God’s spiritual bank? 

   Good morning! We are in fact talking about spiritual things today here at the Earthly School for the Spiritually Blind (ESSB).

    Having been born legally blind I know a thing or two about physical blindness. It has become apparent to me that spiritual blindness is a far greater calamity for me and for mankind.

   That’s why we have invented the ESSB on Page 7. You have entered a third-period language arts class.  We are learning to use what I call the “perfect-imperfect” tense. 

   The perfect-imperfect is best viewed in Romans 4:17 in the King James Version, “(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.”

   The NASB renders the last part of the verse, “God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that do not exist.”

   It means that what God says is true; it is certain even if it can not yet be seen in the physical world.

   It means if God says 100-year-old Abraham and 90-year-old Sarah are going to have a baby, book it.

   “When God speaks, it’s as good as done,” reads a passage on www.gotquestions.org.  “He changed Abram’s name to Abraham (“father of a multitude”) while Sarah was still childless. God spoke of Abraham’s descendants when as yet there were none. God truly has the ability to speak of impossible things and, in the speaking, make them possible.”

   In Romans 4: 21-22 we see that Abraham has believed God and begun to think, speak and act in the perfect-imperfect;  “and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform.  Therefore it was also credited to him as righteousness.”

   “God can speak of things that do not exist as if they do exist. God has power over death and the ability to create life. Abraham believed this, and so do we, if we are spiritual descendants of Abraham (see Gal. 3:29),” the website reads.   

   The perfect-imperfect also applies to the status of God’s children while they continue on earth.  The Bible calls us saints even while we are still fighting off our sin nature in the physical world.

    Don’t be surprised when non-believers trip over this. Because they are looking only at the physical, they impute the imperfections of Christians to their Christ. With spiritual vision and with the word of God, we know to impute the righteousness of Christ to His children.

    We know perfection will not be attained on earth, but will arrive in the next life. So we’ve taken that truth to the spiritual bank and begun to speak of it in the perfect-imperfect.

   Take your driver’s license or ID card from your wallet and look it over.  What do you see? You see your status within the nation you live in. Your passport gives your status within the larger world.

   If we had spiritual ID cards they would give quite different information.  The card would give your address as declared righteous through the blood of Christ and bound for Heaven, or outside of Christ, bound for Hell. 

    For those in Christ the card would have your new name which you will be given by God (see Rev. 2:17). I suppose it could have your date of re-birth. 

   Here the picture breaks down because such a card is probably not relevant in the next life.  But you get my point. The things that are temporarily true about you on earth don’t carry their importance beyond death.

   Why not begin speaking the language of Heaven in the perfect-imperfect, aligning yourself with the plan and will of God? 

   Class notes, third period, language arts: Genesis 18:14 asks “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” Since the obvious answer is no, we should believe God’s word, even when it seems improbable in the physical sense and change our language to reflect this.

   One for the spiritual road: With your life, your soul, Heaven or Hell at stake, who can you trust for tech support?

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