Core Value 49: Perfected, yet not perfect

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Core Christian Value

A Christian has been perfected due to the grace of God in our lives and our faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior. That does not mean we are perfect. We seek to be like Jesus, we press forward.

How can someone be perfected and not perfect? When Jesus went to the cross for our sins, and as we have faith in that fact, he made it possible for us to stand in the presence of God, just as if we had never sinned. He covered us with His perfection by the shedding of His blood. We are cleansed and our sins are as separate from us as the east is from the west. Why then, in the process of living our lives, do we continue to sin? It is because we are not perfect. We strive for perfection but it will elude us until we are joined with the Lord in a state of perfection, heaven.

Listen to the apostle Paul, one of God’s most blessed followers and one who was chosen to bring God’s message to the gentiles:

“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 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”. PHILIPPIANS 3:12-14 NKJV

That is a set of verses that everyone should study carefully. Does Paul claim to be perfect? No, he knows he will be perfected in heaven but he confesses that he has not attained perfection. What does it mean to “have apprehended”? Discuss the possibilities in the context of Paul’s words. Does Paul place any value on looking back on his sins? Discuss why he does or does not? When does Paul think that the race is over and that the prize is attained? Discuss how perfection is beyond our grasp during this life? Why is this so?

When Jesus went to the cross he eliminated the need for further sacrifices. The writer of Hebrews explains it this way:

“But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified”. HEBREWS 10:12-14 NKJV

His single offering of Himself, for our sins, means that those who are being made more and more like Jesus (saints) have been perfected forever. Define sanctification. Give examples of evidence that one is sanctified. Listen to how John, the beloved disciple, defines it: But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. 1 JOHN 2:5. NKJV

Listen to John again as he states the critical element inherent in a perfected child of God:

“If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit”. 1 JOHN 4:12-13 NKJV

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