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To put it bluntly, perfectionism is a hoax. We cannot be perfect! Yet many well-meaning people continue to strive for this unattainable goal. They want to exceed expectations at work, at home, at c...
To assert that perfection is impossible in this life is to question Jesus' statement that "all things are possible to those who believe" (Mark 9:23). That which has been accomplished through faith in the past (like Enoch who “walked and talked with God,” and was taken up without dying), must be included in these “ALL THINGS.” However, only those really “born of God” are able to overcome the world. To be truly “born of God,” we have to be overcomers! Those who are “born of God” experience a more victorious state than those who are merely converts: We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? (Rom. 6:2) Everyone who is born of God overcomes the world (I Jn. 5:4). Have we been set free from sin? Are we dead to sin? Do we live in it any longer? According to these and other Scriptures, those who are truly “born of God” no longer live in sin. They do not continue sinning! They have died to sin. They are no longer slaves to sin. They have overcome sin, death and the grave! No one who lives in Christ keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen Him or known Him (I John 3:6). You have been set free from [the slavery of] sin and have become slaves to righteousness (Rom. 6:18). The context clearly gives us the intended meaning — the importance of repenting and confessing our sins to the Lord, who then promises to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness! Furthermore, anyone who would go around saying they have no sin in their lives is boasting, and boasting is sin! The one who is truly “born of God” would be the last to sing his own praises. Additionally, for the one who is truly “born of the Spirit” (like Enoch of old), and has reached the point of fully overcoming the sins and weakness of his life, what Jesus said to Nicodemus then applies: "You must be born again. The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit" (John 3:7-8). By this definition, how many of us qualify as truly “born again?” We have misapplied the term to include anyone who has at one time or another made a profession of faith. We say, “He was born again on such-and-such-a-date.” In this passage, “born again” and “born of the Spirit” are synonymous. How many of us can literally come and go like the wind, appearing and disappearing, vanishing from plain sight, and showing up seemingly from nowhere? Jesus fulfilled this “born again” characteristic during His earthly ministry — even before taking on His resurrected body! Look at this passage showing Him disappearing from mobs intent on killing Him before His appointed time: "Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by" (John 8:59; 10:31, 39; 12:36). Of course, Jesus also appeared at a most opportune time when, in a tempest at sea, His disciples despaired of their very lives (Matt. 14:25-27). Because Jesus was “born of the Spirit,” He was like the wind: "The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but can-not tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit" (John 3:8). Those who have been literally “born of the Spirit” are conquerors over sin, death and the grave. They are no longer subject to the death-knell laws of mortality. Their flesh has taken on the quality of deathlessness! It is this never-ending life God wants us to experience. "Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption… We shall not all sleep, but we shall be changed… For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. [This describes being born of the Spirit]" (1 Cor. 15:50-57). There is much more that could be said in support of perfection in the here-and-now, but space does not permit. Suffice it to say that “ALL THINGS are possible to those who believe.
Perfectionism has such a bad wrap because people try to earn their way into heaven by being perfect rather than accepting God’s grace. However, once a person has, by the grace of God, accepted Jesus as their personal saviour, what kind of life should we live? Is it OK to just keep on sinning so that grace abounds more and more? Of course not! Then what kind of life are we to live? In Matthew 5:48 Jesus said “Be perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect.” If perfection is impossible (even for a moment or a particular event in our lives) then was Jesus lying when he told us to be perfect? The bible says God (including Jesus) cannot lie. So what did Jesus mean? I believe he is setting the standard of perfection for us to strive towards. Some days we hit the mark quite well and other days we stumble and fall. The important truth that Jesus is seeking to teach us, in my view, is don’t stop trying to be perfect just because it is hard or because it won’t always happen. Keep striving toward it. Why should we want to be perfect? Because God receives the maximum glory, honour, praise and thanksgiving whenever we live righteous and holy lives. His children are showing the world what their Father is like. God will not share his glory with anyone so we must always be careful to give all the credit to God for any moments of perfection. In the Sermon On the Mount in Matthew 5:1-48 Jesus gives many examples of what perfection looks like and then he sums up his teaching with his conclusion of “Be Perfect just like your Father in Heaven is perfect.” Here are some examples of perfectionism that Jesus is teaching us: 1. V3 Be completely humble every day 2. V4 Be mournful of our sin, confessing and repenting every day 3. V5 Be surrendered completely to the Lordship of Jesus Christ 4. V6 Be filled with the Holy Spirit every day 5. V7 Be merciful to everyone you meet 6, V8 Be pure in heart 7. V9 Be a peacemaker 8. V10 Be courageous and stand up for righteousness, even when persecuted 9. V13 Be the salt of the earth 10. V14 Be the light of the world 12. V19-20 Be practicing and teaching the commands of God to fulfill the law 13. V22 Be careful not to allow our anger to cause us to curse others 14. V23-24 Be reconciled to our brothers and sisters when we have differences 15. V25 Be settling matters quickly without going to court 16. V28 Be careful not to look lustfully at any woman 17. V29-30 Be diligent not to allow any part of our body to engage in sin 18. V32 Be faithful to our spouse 19. V34,37 Be careful not to swear an oath but just say Yes or No 20. V42 Be giving to the one who asks you and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow 21. V44 Be loving our enemies and pray for those who persecute you 22. V46,47 Be loving those who are not able to love us back When we strive to do what Jesus has commanded in Matthew chapter 5 and all the commands given by the Holy Spirit in the New Covenant, we will experience moments of perfection before God. The more spiritually mature we become, our striving will result in more occurrences of this momentary perfection. This result is in accordance with God’s good, pleasing and perfect will for our lives. And as a result God receives much glory, honour, praise, and thanksgiving because we are emulating our perfect Father in heaven,
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