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CAN I BE PERFECT BEFORE THE LORD? (IV)

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4)            Galatians 3:3 “Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” Those who want to be perfect will not rely on the propensity of carnal habitus. Our motto should ever be “Looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith!” The death, resurrection, ascension and session of Jesus has totally redeemed the born again Christian. He cannot go back to the ‘flesh’, a metonym for ‘human efforts’. If you are truly born again, Christ is your righteousness, not through the efforts of your moral rectitude.

                Philippians 3:15 “Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.” The word ‘perfect,’ here in this verse, is teleios (tel’-i-os): ‘Full grown, adult, of full age, mature; complete (in various applications of labor, growth, mental and moral character, etc.); neuter completeness.’ Hebrews 5:14 “But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” This ‘perfection’ is of a well tutored Christian. What Paul means about being “thus minded” is in the preceding Philippians 3:14 “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” The prize, an allusion to the Grecian Olympic Games, is actually the heavenly incorruptible crowns awaiting our perfect walk with Jehovah. This is why we should be very careful what teaching we allow into our minds. The truth, however, is that the perfection of our Christian lives rests absolutely on our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

                Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” We cannot, for one second, take our eyes of faith towards God off Jesus, and like Paul, should count those things we used to pride ourselves in, things we have lost, because of Jesus, as dung.

                James 1:4 “But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” The continual exercising act of patience can be painful and frustrating. ‘Patience’ in this verse hupomonē (hoop-om-on-ay’), has the definition of ‘cheerful (or hopeful) endurance in constancy.’ Patience becomes the test of our unwavering faith in the One with Whom we have to do. Abraham died, not walking, as the landlord of Canaan promise. His unwavering faith in Him Who had promised, earned him a big position in the Hebrews chapter eleven Hall of Faith. His faith earned him an enviable “Friend of God!” Like Adam – before his fall – we can be perfect. Like Enoch, Noah, Abraham and Job who stood firm in the word of God, we can be perfect. This essence of perfection, however, is not of our own. Colossians 1:28 “Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:” of, by and through Whom are all things; in Whom we live, move and have our being. We cannot, of our own, be perfect. Colossians 2:10 “And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:” for we can only be complete in Jesus.

                1 Corinthians 1:30 “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:” meaning that Jesus is our perfection, in whom we have our spiritual abode. Ephesians 4:13 “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:” Who gave diverse gifts of offices to Christianity for its maturity and the perfection of our call into His marvelous light.

                Hebrews 10:14 “For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” The last word ‘sanctified,’ is hagiazō (hag-ee-ad’-zo): ‘separate from profane things and dedicate to God; to make holy, that is, (ceremonially) purify or consecrate; (mentally) to venerate.’ This sanctification gives us the perfection of stand before God.

                Hebrews 13:21 “Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” This is the proclamation of Paul and other writers of the Bible, “The essence of Christendom is a Person and not a better doctrine. Christ was the substance of his proclaiming, admonishing and teaching” (King Comments-EN on Colossians 1:28). “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2Corinthians 5:17).

                Hebrews 5:14 “But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” Babies are fed on milk. Meat, according to Pauline teaching is for those who have attained ‘full age’ which is teleios (tel’-i-os): ‘wanting nothing necessary to completeness; that which is perfect; consummate human integrity and virtue; complete (in various applications of labor, growth, mental and moral character, etc.).’ This is why Jesus said, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). ‘Perfect’ is the same teleios. It is spiritual perfection, attained in association with Jesus Christ. Amen.

                Getting born again is a conscious effort on the part of an individual. Get born again. Say this sinner’s prayer.

Read part iii here

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My name is H.O. Ojewale. I was born in 17th March, 1955, in the then Gold Coast, now Ghana, Greater Accra. My parents are Nigerians. I am married with three wonderful children.

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