By Anthony Casperson
About a month ago, I received an email that I’d been eagerly awaiting. It contained the link to download a PDF for the Sentinel Comics Roleplaying Game’s core rulebook. Those who’d backed the product on Kickstarter had access to this early release. The file was essentially supposed to be the final product that would be sent to the printers for the physical copy of the book. (They added watermarks to the backers’ PDF for copyright reasons, but otherwise final.)
Scrolling through the pages, I soaked in the information. The system was elegant, yet simple. The images popped off of the page. The outlay was great. Hundreds of pages flew past my eyes.
But there were a few issues in the text. A table of villain stats had been cut and pasted from a previous example, and left unchanged, failing to reflect this character’s abilities (though a later example of the same character had the correct stats). A few typos and verb tense abnormalities appeared on occasion. And a couple of other minor issues cropped up. Nothing drastically terrible, but imperfections nonetheless.
A week later, I received an email saying that the company had heard about the few minor issues in the book. Since they hadn’t sent the file to the printer yet (because a particular pandemic had slowed the output of the printing company) they were in the middle of the changes needed to make the book that much better.
Another email came a little later, saying that the company sought to send the book through one more edit, bringing it that much closer to perfection. A perfect book will never really be released. (Trust me, having gone through a book’s editing process myself, I can vouch for the validity of the statement.) But each round of revision gets the product that much closer to the desired perfection, even if it will never actually reach that state.
Thinking of perfection and a final product, my mind went to the process of becoming holy (called “sanctification” in certain circles). There’s a call for we followers of Jesus to be holy as God is perfectly holy. Set apart for his purpose. But the oft-forgotten part of this call is that we aren’t perfect at the very second we choose to follow Jesus. Yes, God sees Jesus’ perfection in us at that moment, but our spiritual lives must still go through a refinement process. An edit, if you will.
Actually, several edits. The life of a follower of Jesus is a series of growing more like him. We learn more truth. Combat the lies we’d believed. Apply God’s truth to our daily lives. And then repeat the process again and again.
There will be errors, mistakes, and issues. We’ll think that we’re getting that much closer to the goal of perfection, only to have someone point out another problem we’d missed, or thought we’d fixed. And another edit commences within our souls.
To be honest, while perfection is the goal of all who desire holiness, it’s never really going to happen in this life. Our fallen human nature prevents this perfection. And until we receive new bodies after Jesus’ return, we’ll never reach the truly perfect final product. We’ll still have imperfections of various sorts in our spirituality.
These imperfections should never keep us from continuing to reach for the goal of perfection. Paul writes in Philippians 3:12 that while he hasn’t reached perfection, he still chases after it. His goal remains to be like Jesus, the one who caught the Apostle for the sake of this holy chase.
Let’s not forget that there’s still a process toward holiness. Perfection isn’t necessary for God to use us for his great purpose. But we must also not allow the excuse of imperfections to keep us from chasing after the holiness that changes us.
The final product comes only with the return of Jesus, but the soul edits drive us that much closer to the goal.