Objections to Real Justification: Perfectionism

My contention is that Real Justification actually makes people righteous, not just in standing, but also increasingly in practice.

If a person is not growing in righteousness, that person is not saved. Growing in righteousness is actually how a person knows they are saved before Judgment Day’s final verdict.

This sort of statement is scary, because most people playing church today are not growing in righteousness. Most are staying exactly the same and many get worse.

Unrighteous people will get defensive with this teaching (because, think about it, if you actually were a righteous person this teaching would bother you none at all).

“So you’re saying I’m only saved if I never sin? Only if I’ve reached sinless perfection?”

Nope, not what I said. Go back and read what I said. It’s clear I’m not teaching sinless perfection, yet this is defensive maneuver #1 of objectors.

I believe sinless perfection is our aim. I do believe that. I also believe that you will never know if you actually achieve it, because the moment you realize you achieved sinless perfection, you’d be arrogant.

I have met people who believe they haven’t sinned for years. I have never come across more arrogant Christians than these.

Jesus said in The Sermon on the Mount, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Paul says the Bible was given to us “That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

Perfection is what we’re shooting for. I’m not sure why this would be a bad thing. Not sure why so many are afraid of admitting this, let alone shooting for it. If we are dead to sin, why would we want to live any longer in sin?

In one of the most neglected passages of the Apostle Paul, 2 Corinthians 7:1, we’re told

Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

Wonder why we don’t know that one so well?

If we sin we have an advocate with the Father. There is provision for messing up. This provision, however, is never given so people will chuck doing good and just keep sinning.

If you are a believer and are growing in your understanding that the God of the universe bore your sins in His body on the cross, your sinful desires will drain away.

Perfection is our aim. We’re to be like Christ, who was perfect. The Holy Spirit and the Word of God work together to bring us closer to this aim every day, until the glorious day we are made like Him when we see Him as He is.

I cannot wait. Why would I not want that new life earlier?

Anyone who thinks sin is OK because of the Gospel is not hearing the Gospel. Anyone who thinks aiming for perfection is wrong is not familiar with the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Justification makes you righteous, and righteous people do righteous things. That doesn’t mean every single thing we will ever do will be righteous. But it will grow and increase and will become habitual.

It just will. It’s the power of the Gospel. If that’s happening in you, then you are saved. If it’s not then you are not saved.

5 thoughts on “Objections to Real Justification: Perfectionism”

  1. I believe sinless perfection is our aim…Perfection is what we’re shooting for. I’m not sure why this would be a bad thing.

    I think this is the essential point.

    What would we think of sportsmen who went into their sport with the attitude that they could never hit their intended target or reach the required goal?
    Those sportsmen may struggle with their chosen sport when they first start, but with the right coaching and regular practice they will improve and while they are not always successful, there will be some successes along the way.
    The more they train and the more they respond to the coaching, the better their performance will be on a more constant basis and the more often their goal will be achieved.

    And yet so many people look at the Christian life as something without a goal to achieve, with the assumption that the goal is impossible to reach so we shouldn’t commit to it.

    Imagine a basketball player who constantly threw the ball to the sideline instead of aiming for the basket.
    Imagine the archer who fired his arrows into the air instead of at the target.
    Both acting that way because they were convinced it was impossible for them to score, so why aim for the basket/target anyway.

    It may be that Christians won’t reach perfection – but they are more likely to get closer to it if they keep it in their sights and aim for it than they would by not aiming at all.

    (And don’t forget the “coach” we have been given to help improve our performance: the Holy Spirit)

  2. Your analogy is correct. In fact, I think our obsessive desires to perfect completely stupid, waste of time things will be used against us on the Day of Judgment! You could spend thousands of dollars and hours to take the slice out of your tee shots, but you couldn’t improve on not watching porn? Really?

    We have not yet resisted unto blood striving against sin. Yeah, no kidding. Who knew we were supposed to?! Well, everyone who’s read the Bible knows we are. I suggest we get to work.

  3. Thanks again Jeff. It seems there will always be the need to confess and repent of things like pride and unbelief and independence from God and our aim must be to put these also to death by the Holy Spirit. Sins like these are very subtle, they creep in.
    Will you be dealing with such?

  4. Ian,
    I’m not entirely sure where I’m going with this! And who knows what will strike me next to talk about.

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