Christian Perfection? Really?

I believe, based on verses like 2 Timothy 3:16, that perfection is possible for the believer, since it says the man of God can be perfect, I kind of have to go with that.

However, I have no idea how that would be done! I know lots of other verses in the Bible too, like the flesh lusts against the Spirit so you cannot do those things you would like to. Romans 7 emphasizes this point as well. I know that we are not supposed to sin, but if we do, we have an Advocate with the Father. Plus many other verses.

The bottom line is this: Perfection is our goal. Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect. We are to desire to be conformed to the image of Christ, the One who is Perfect.

Perfection in this life is tough since we are in an imperfect world, surrounded by a sinful system that we partake in daily without even realizing we are sinning. This is the perfection John Wesley attempted to explain, we can be perfect from willful sin, but not from unknown sin, etc. (If I”m understanding him rightly anyway!).

I am not perfect and am constantly reminded of this fact. I have met some who think they are perfect, yet I’ve spent enough time around them to doubt this highly.

The second you are aware of your perfection is the second pride would enter. It is my contention that if a person did achieve perfection, he would be the last to know it and would certainly not be going around bragging about his perfection.

The tendency today, however, is not to pretend to be perfect, but to act as if perfection isn’t even a remote concern, to, in fact, revel in sin and pretend Jesus is cool with this. The Bible speaks of perfection way to often for us to ignore it or chalk it up to heresy or loophole your way out of it.

Our salvation is based on faith in Christ’s death and resurrection, the blood He shed for the forgiveness of sins and the resurrection He went through to raise us up to new life. Perfection does not save; perfection is the goal of being in Christ. Christ is first and without Him we are lost. With Him we become like Him. That’s our goal.

2 thoughts on “Christian Perfection? Really?”

  1. Sin is a tyrant. It is sin that brings bondage, or slavery. Slavery, at least to the slave who wants to be free, is not enjoyable. The law is righteousness, and therefore is the opposite of sin. Therefore, the law, or the keeping of the law, must be freedom, and freedom is enjoyable.

    Then, perfection, which is often presented as a nit-picky standard that wears us down, must instead be the most free and natural thing in God’s universe. Anyone who has been freed from the bondage of a sin that held them captive, has tasted the gift of perfection. Perhaps not in its fullness, but to a degree.

    There are a few men, other than Christ, who are mentioned in the Bible, and no sin, or very few sins, are recorded against them. We know that the Lord does not hide the failures of His people, He is the truth. David’s sin, Abraham’s unbelief, Peter’s denial: all are recorded.

    So therefore, if few sins are recorded of certain ones, then we must presume that their lives were very close to perfection. Enoch, Joseph, Daniel, Job: these men certainly achieved a high level of Christian experience. Was it a horrible burden to them, to have to live perfectly? No! I’m sure if we would live like those men, we would be extremely happy in the Lord, especially when He would use as in such a way as He used them.

    But as you noted, Jeff, these men did not go around boasting about their righteousness. When Daniel prayed, he confessed “his sins and the sins of his people”; when Job saw the Lord, he “abhored himself”; when Joseph was degraded to a slave, and then to a prisoner, he did not complain that he was unjustly treated (which he certainly would have done if he had been proud about his own righteousness); Enoch simply “walked with God”, so closely that the Lord took him from the earth without seeing death.

    What I find interesting is that most people actually want perfection, just not the kind the Lord offers them. They want perfect jobs, perfect vacations, perfect houses, perfect trouble-free lives, perfect health, perfectly happy families with all the smiling faces in a picture on the perfect wall, etc. They devote their whole lives to trying to gain this perfection.

    But this is not the Lord’s perfection: it is their own righteousness. The Lord’s perfection is accomplished by the taking away of sin and implanting of His own goodness. Often such perfection is surrounded by the most imperfect circumstances. For example, Jesus, the crown of perfection, was poor in earthly goods, misunderstood by His family and followers, surrounded by difficulties and struggles during His ministry, and consigned to the worst kind of shameful death. This is not the kind of perfection most people want!

  2. Good job pointing out the difference between God’s perfection and man’s idea of it. The Spirit of God always leads men to do what God desires and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. The liberty of bondage to God is one of the most misunderstood doctrines of the new life in Christ.

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