I think that there are two “p” words that are hated, misused, maltreated, or abused in the Christian lingo; perfection and purity. This blog entry will focus on perfection and the next one next week will be mostly on purity, although they play off of each other tremendously, well, at least in God’s context. These are some things that I have discovered for myself regarding these two concepts. For some reason, in the minds of most Christians the immediate and instant picture that comes to mind in regards of these two concepts are nuns…or monks; pious people who are “boring,” “dry,” and “disconnected” from reality. Most Christians argue that perfection and purity will not occur until we reach Heaven and therefore, those who profess perfection and purity are people who are geared in their minds to work for their salvation and therefore are rejecting Jesus. Although there may be some truth to their statement, they too are rejecting Jesus by refusing to have their lives enter into a state of perfection and purity. My argument is that you need both purity and perfection to be connected to the truest form of reality and helps establish a firm foundation for a person’s sexuality.
“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them, ‘Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy.’” Leviticus 19:1-2.
“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48.
Just these two verses single handed threw out the concept of waiting for Heaven to enter a life of perfection and purity. God calls on the verb, “be” which is the present state of being…in other words…now. God calls us to be perfect and holy now.
Well now, that is a pretty high order. Does not God understand that we are sinful human beings? Does He not see that we will fail, that there are times when I don’t want to be perfect? Why to be the one to be marked as the “goodie two shoes,” or the one who goes around “preaching” all the time? What does He expect? I’m just a human.
And God in turn asks, “What do you expect? I’m just God.”
“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” Phil. 2:5
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, what is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.” Phil. 4:8.
“And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the LORD and may please Him in every way; bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.” Col. 1:10.
“I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.” Phil. 4:3, because, “being confident of this that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Phil. 1:6.
“This is love for God; to obey His commands. And His commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God over comes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.” 1 John 5:3-5.
“For the kingdom of God is at hand,” Matt. 4:12.
“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk, but of power.” 1 Cor. 4:20.
“You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the LORD your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.” Joshua 23:14.
The call of perfection and purity is everywhere in the Bible; it is a call that God Himself makes for His people, but not only does He make the call, He backs it up with the power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish such monumental tasks. The problem is not whether God asks us these things; it is our understanding of these things that gives us mixed signals.
Our idea of perfection is that we never, ever, ever, do anything wrong, where we always stand up straight, wipe our mouths the right way with the right napkin, where we never get angry, where we always have a smile on our face…yet Job was considered perfect…and he wept and cried. David was a man after God’s own heart and he murdered and committed adultery, where Noah found grace in the eyes of God, yet he got drunk later on. The Bible seems to have a very different way of understanding what perfection is in the eyes of God. What is this perfection and purity that allows God to say about Moses that, “no greater prophet has ever come across again?”
The Bible makes the claim that Jesus is God, and that God is perfect, so therefore Jesus is perfect. So what do we do about this following verse, if we put in our own understanding of what perfection is?
“And the child grew and became strong; He was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon Him.” Luke 2:40.
If Jesus was perfect from birth (which I believe He was), why does it seem that the Bible allows the room for Jesus to grow if He was already perfect? Is there such thing as improving perfection…because I mean…you’re perfect, what growth, what allowance of continuous “improvements” do you have if you were already perfect from the beginning? Why change or grow if you are already “perfect”? Is this something that only happens until you hit a certain age? Maybe 33 years and onwards perhaps?
Here is the problem: it is our understanding of what perfection is.
We somehow have developed the idea that perfection is a finite state. A certain fixed level to reach. How did we get that idea when we serve an Infinite God? God is perfect and pure, but His is infinite, His purity is infinite; it’s not that He is changing or growing or making improvements, it is just He is boundless, limitless, on going, forever, for all of eternity. Perfection is ongoing. Purity is ongoing.
Jesus, when here on earth, was bound to the human body, and by placing what seems to be God’s understanding of what perfection is, Jesus was not 10 years old with the mind of a 30 year old; was He mature? Yes, there is no arguing about that; but if He was 10 with a 30’s year old mind, then Luke made a false statement; Jesus did not need to grow into wisdom if He already had what He needed when He was 10. Ellen White makes the statement in the Desire of Ages that the Creator of the world relearned what it was that He did and He relearned the parting of the Red Sea at the lap of His earthly mother…an Infinite, Holy God, learning at the feet of His earthly mother! Doesn’t that blow your mind away? It blows mine. What a humble God we serve! He relearned! It boggles my mind to think that God was willing to relearn!
So, if perfection is ongoing, it means that Jesus, when He was here on earth, was a perfect two year old, for what a perfect two year old should look like, it means that He was a perfect 10 year old, for what a perfect 10 year old should look like. This form of perfection allows room for growth and learning and discovery on an ongoing state.
We overcome the world by claiming the victory of Jesus on the Cross, by claiming Him as our personal Lord and Savior, and then He calls us to a life of perfection, as that of God in Heaven. Well, it only makes sense if we are to reflect His character, to bear His image, should we not be in a state of perfection and purity to deal with such a holy calling? God cannot call us to bear His image if we are not perfect-if we do not have the blood of His Son on us, we cannot bear the image of God if we are not in the state of perfection. It is that simple.
When the Bible makes the claim of exemplary people to follow, by all means, they were not “perfect,” in the way we seem to understand perfection; they didn’t do everything right on the right time, (only Jesus did that), but they were perfect, why? Because they sought God daily, they relied on Him for everything, God was Father, Friend, Brother, Judge, and Savior to them. God was their life. And that’s how God can look at Job and say, “He is blameless.” That’s how God can look at David and say, “You are after My own heart,” That’s how God can look at Moses and say, “No greater prophet has ever come across again this way.” That’s how Enoch and Elijah were just taken to Heaven without experiencing death.
And here is another clue to show that perfection, in God’s eyes, is ongoing: creation. God called everything good and yet He told His creation to grow, multiply, learn, discover, create, ponder, be in awe wonderment. Adam and Eve were not programmed robots who knew everything in the whole universe. God placed them in a position where their perfection could be continued and expanded, because we serve an Infinite God. His creation cannot reach a finite point in perfection, it is like to say that we have reached the end of God and creation has become more powerful than Creator…which is what Satan has been trying to do this whole time; this is why salvation by works is so deadly to the human soul. It is impossible for human kind to gain salvation by trying to “reach the end” of an Infinite God by our finite means and ideas of perfection.
Perfection is not crossing every “t” and dotting every “i”, it is not doing everything right so you are blameless and all your bases are covered, that’s operating on and working on a bargainer’s mentality, on focusing on God as a economical advantage, to tell God in His face that He owes you, because of what you have done. In other words, God has a debt against you and He needs to repay you…come on, God calls for friendship, not hagglers. He calls for daughters and sons, not stock market brokers. All of your “perfection” means absolutely nothing, holds not a single thread of value, if God is not your Friend, if He is not your Savior, if you don’t look into His eyes and just sit in holy wonder because of what He has done for you. The essence of the Gospel is not what I have given up, but what God has given up.
If we claim on the blood of Jesus Christ, we enter into a state of perfection, and we are viewed as perfect in the eyes of God and when His second coming is here, He will place us on the perfection level that He wanted us to be in in the first place here on earth in the beginning of creation, so that in the New Earth, we will continue to grow just like He wanted us to be. To grow, to learn, to represent Him endlessly.
Perfection is not something to be intimidated about. It is not a drudgery. It is not the demands of the “ultra right wing conservatives as means of salvation.” It is not the demands of the “ultra left wing liberals as a near nigh impossible mission and denial of God’s grace.” It is a request made from God Himself. Perfection, in God’s context, is freedom. It is the liberty to grow, to learn, to unlock and understand the mysteries of this world, to bear His image. It is a joy. If Jesus’ blood is on us, we are perfect.
More to come next week.[/box_holder]