~ The Perfection of Christians ~
“Christians are not perfect—just forgiven” says the bumper sticker. That is true, however it is one side of two-sided coin. Those who have accepted the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ as payment for their sin are seen as righteous by God the Father.
Perfect Conscience ~ We start with a passage discussing the sacrifices of the Old Covenant: “If it could, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Therefore, when Christ came into the world, He said: ‘Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body You prepared for Me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings You were not pleased. Then I said, “Here I am — it is written about Me in the scroll — I have come to do Your will, O God.” First He said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them” (although the law required them to be made). Then He said, ‘Here I am, I have come to do Your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, He sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time He waits for His enemies to be made His footstool, because by one sacrifice He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy” (Hebrews 10:2-14). Jesus said, “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them” (John 17:9-10).
Perfection in Practice ~ Jesus said, “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). “Finally, brothers, good-by. Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you” (2 Corinthians 13:11).
Perfection in Growth ~ “But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:14). “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you” (Philippians 3:13-15).
Perfection of the Creature ~ “Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God” (1 John 3:7-9). “In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother” (1 John 3:10). “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” (1 John 1:8-10).
Recap ~ While on earth we still sin, but keep in mind two things. First, in normal (not “average”) Christian growth the believer is becoming increasingly like his/her Savior. We will look at this in the third post in this series. Second, God the Father views us right now as covered with the righteousness of His Son Jesus Christ.
~ Robert Lloyd Russell, ABUNDANT LIFE NOW
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