As we established in Pursuing Perfection, Part I, God wants us to be perfect. He knows that won’t happen through our own efforts, though, so He made a way for us to be perfect. Our own efforts won’t bring perfection. The world’s path won’t either. Only God’s way provides a way for perfection to become a reality.
Consider the following people’s lives. If you read the scripture reference, you’ll actually see these individuals described as “perfect” “mature,” having “wisdom,” “blameless” “righteous” and even “without blemish.” All of these get at the idea of perfection in the eyes of God.
- Noah – Genesis 6:9
- Job – Job 1:8
- Abraham – Genesis 17:1
- King Hezekiah – 2 Kings 20:3
- The Philippians – Philippians 3:15
- The Corinthians – 1 Corinthians 2:6
- The Church – Ephesians 5:25-27
If these individuals and groups of people - with their human frailties and significant mistakes – are seen as perfect (without fault) to God, why can’t we, even on this side of heaven, be considered “perfect” too?
How do we reach perfection?
“People throw away what they could have by insisting on perfection, which they cannot have, and looking for it where they will never find it.” (Edith Shaeffer)
If perfection is impossible, why bother? Why not coast through life with a “good enough” mentality? For two reasons. First, God tells us to strive for perfection. Second, He has provided a way for us to be perfect.
We can be perfect through…
- God – His grace perfects, confirms, strengthens and establishes us (1 Peter 5:10).
- Christ – He has already achieved perfection for us (Hebrews 10:14).
- The Holy Spirit – Our human effort blinds us to the process of perfection the Holy Spirit leads us through (Galatians 3:3).
- God’s Word – Imperfect hands + the perfect tool (His Word) = adequately equipped (2 Timothy 3:16, 17).
- Ministry – Matures the body of Christ to perfection (Ephesians 4:11-13).
- Sufferings – Jesus, the author (perfector) of our salvation, was the perfect leader because of His sufferings (Hebrews 2:10).
- Love – Drives out our fear, including the fear of not being perfect (1 John 4:18).
The Pressure is Off!
“Grace is God acting in our lives to do what we cannot do on our own.” (Dallas Willard)
God perfected us through Christ, and nothing we do can reach the goal of perfection. But, that doesn’t mean we just give up and coast through life.
Scripture clearly says that perfection comes through Christ; it’s instantaneous at salvation. But, it also say that it’s at the same time a progressive work in our lives. Pursuing Perfection, Part III gets at how that progression exists based on scripture.
DISCUSSION: How does your life change knowing that the pressure is off to be perfect because, through Christ, you already are perfect?