Let me start off by saying this is being addressed to those who are truly devoted Christians. Not the Sunday Samplers, those going through the motions, or pretending to be Christians.
Let’s start off with a couple of questions. How often do you put God down? Stop and think about that for a minute. Do you ever put God down? Hmmm, I wonder.
How about this question …. How often do you call Him a liar? What!! Well, I, never!! No way, I would never call God a liar! I’m sure that is what you said, isn’t it? Did you have an immediate reaction to that question?
Ok, let’s see, how about this one … Can you be perfect? I’m guessing the answer to that is something along the lines of, “I’m only human, I can never be perfect.” Or maybe, “There was only one perfect man and that was Jesus Christ.”
Mkay, one more … Do you think you can be like Jesus? I know the standard thing is, we are all supposed to be trying to be more like Jesus everyday. Or some will say, “No one can every be like Jesus.”
Well, let’s see what the Bible says about all those questions.
Jesus said (did you get that, JESUS said):
48You, therefore, must be perfect [growing into complete [ak]maturity of godliness in mind and character,[al]having reached the proper height of virtue and integrity], as your heavenly Father is perfect.(N) – (Matthew 5:48 AMP)
Why would Jesus tell us to be something we could never be? You see, somehow we have taken being perfect with being sinless. Although that could be true, it isn’t always. You see perfect here means growing into complete maturity of godliness in MIND and CHARACTER. I like the way John Wesley puts it:
Mat 5:48 Therefore ye shall be perfect; as your Father who is in heaven is perfect – So the original runs, referring to all that holiness which is described in the foregoing verses, which our Lord in the beginning of the chapter recommends as happiness, and in the close of it as perfection. And how wise and gracious is this, to sum up, and, as it were, seal all his commandments with a promise! Even the proper promise of the Gospel! That he will put those laws in our minds, and write them in our hearts! He well knew how ready our unbelief would be to cry out, this is impossible! And therefore stakes upon it all the power, truth, and faithfulness of him to whom all things are possible.
See, we think we can not be perfect because, well, we can’t be. Not if we are trying to be through something we, ourselves, do. It is impossible! But the whole point is that we, as humans, can not do it, but all things are possible with God. Funny how many times we say that, “All things are possible with God.” But then we so quickly say, “I’m only human, I can never do that.” Which is it? Double-mindedness will always get us into trouble. (James 1)
The Bible tells us how we can be perfect.
2Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]. (Romans 12)
Notice these words conformed, transformed, renewal … none of those are things that WE do. The only thing we have to do is know that we CAN be perfect and ask and allow the Holy Spirit to work it out within us. Paul puts it this way:
12Not that I have now attained [this ideal], or have already been made perfect, but I press on to lay hold of (grasp) and make my own, that for which Christ Jesus (the Messiah) has laid hold of me and made me His own. 13I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward. (Philippians 3)
27To whom God was pleased to make known how great for the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ within and among you, the Hope of [realizing the] glory. 28Him we preach and proclaim, warning and admonishing everyone and instructing everyone in all wisdom ([y]comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God), that we may present every person mature (full-grown, fully initiated, complete, and perfect) in Christ (the Anointed One). (Colossians 1)
Did you catch that? The last two words in Colossians, did you catch them? IN Christ … IN CHRIST… not in man or what man has taught.
14For by a single offering He has forever completely cleansed and perfected those who are consecrated and made holy. (Hebrews 10)
The problem comes when we start thinking of ourselves as being perfect aside from what Christ has done within us. When we become prideful and think that we do no wrong. We are not perfect, Christ has perfectED us. As James puts it:
2For we all often stumble and fall and offend in many things. And if anyone does not offend in speech [never says the wrong things], he is a fully developed character and a perfect man, able to control his whole body and to curb his entire nature. (James 3)
It’s not about being a perfect man. It’s not about being a man who can control his body. It’s about being a spiritual being. About allowing the Holy Spirit to control our mind, body, and soul. Complete perfection will not be attained until the end of days (1 Cor 13:10) because at that time, we will be free from our fleshly side. But until then, perfection here on earth is learning to walk like Jesus did, to walk in love.
17In this [union and communion with Him] love is brought to completion and attains perfection with us, that we may have confidence for the day of judgment [with assurance and boldness to face Him], because as He is, so are we in this world. 18There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love [g]turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear [h]brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love’s complete perfection]. 19We love Him, because He first loved us. 20If anyone says, I love God, and hates (detests, abominates) his brother [[i]in Christ], he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, Whom he has not seen. 21And this command (charge, order, injunction) we have from Him: that he who loves God shall love his brother [[j]believer] also. (1 John 4)
We can not BE Jesus, but we can be LIKE him. We have to learn to allow the Holy Spirit to lead us as we walk in love. So, back to those questions at the beginning.
How often do you put God down? How often do you call Him a liar? Well, the next time you hear yourself saying “I’m only human, I can never be perfect.” You are disagreeing with what God says, you’re telling him he’s wrong, you’re putting him down. You are even calling him a liar.
Can you be perfect? God says you can be perfect – in His eyes. So why not in your eyes? Remember, there is a fine line between STRIVING for that perfection because you know that one day it will be attainable and walking around prideful because you CAN be perfect. That’s kind of like a football team talking about how they won the Super Bowl when they haven’t ever been there yet. Yet, it wouldn’t make sense for a football team to walk around talking about how they will never make it to the Super Bowl. They practice and practice, play game after game, with the Super Bowl as their goal. Understand?
Do you think you can be like Jesus? We tend to look over the fact that Jesus was FULLY man and FULLY God. How?Because he was a man who was indwelt by the Holy Spirit. The SAME Spirit that dwells in us. So we are the same. Jesus had a divine nature that we do not have, but the key to how he lived on earth was given to us when he left. He has perfected us by giving us that key. His key was that He allowed the Holy Spirit to direct his path, not the flesh, not the world. Jesus said:
12I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, if anyone steadfastly believes in Me, he will himself be able to do the things that I do; and he will do even greater things than these, because I go to the Father. (John 14)
Even greater things … GREATER things … wow! Not greater things because we are a special person but greater things because of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Indeed, we are not perfect, we are perfected by something other than ourself. So as Paul said:
12Not that I have now attained [this ideal], or have already been made perfect, but I press on to lay hold of (grasp) and make my own, that for which Christ Jesus (the Messiah) has laid hold of me and made me His own. (Philippians 3)
Walk everyday being perfected by Jesus, so that on the day that He returns, He will find you perfect.