This study is going to attempt to answer a common misconception taught by most evangelical churches today. I want you to know up front that I am borrowing heavily from a pastor named Doug Batchelor. The sermon is entitled “How perfect should a Christian be?” and can be found on YouTube.
Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. Matthew 5:48
m I supposed to be God-like in my perfection? Am I ready to claim that? What does the Lord expect and want from me in this area? What does Jesus mean when He says “Be perfect”?
Webster definition of PERFECT
: having no mistakes or flaws
: completely correct or accurate
: having all the qualities you want in that kind of person, situation, etc.
Jesus said I am to be perfect, from this definition, am I? I have heard it proclaimed in church that this is simply not possible. There are many scriptures that support this claim.
Job 5:7 Yet man is born to trouble,
As the sparks fly upward.
Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
Psalm 119:176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep;
Seek Your servant,
For I do not forget Your commandments.
Psalm 14:2-3 The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men,
To see if there are any who understand, who seek God.
3 They have all turned aside,
They have together become corrupt;
There is none who does good,
No, not one.
Ecclesiastes 7:20 For there is not a just man on earth who does good
And does not sin.
Jeremiah 13:23 Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots?
Then may you also do good who are accustomed to do evil.
Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Sure seems like I’m doomed doesn’t it? The Good News here is I don’t have to stay in this condition. I don’t have to live in perpetual sin.
Here are a few verses that may give us some hope:
Genesis 6:9 This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God.
Genesis 5:24 And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.
Genesis 17:1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless.” (blameless, perfect)
Genesis 26:5 because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.
Deuteronomy 18:13 You shall be blameless before the LORD your God.
Job 2:3 Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause.
Were all of these men perfect? Did they have no flaws? Of course not, they had faults, the defining theme for all the men listed here is they WALKED with God. They were obedient.
It is interesting to take some time here and dive into the Greek and Hebrew definitions of “Perfect” The Hebrew word for perfect is Tamim (Tah-Meem), the Greek word is teleios (tel’-i-os).
Both of the words for “Perfect” in Greek and Hebrew do NOT mean what we normally think when we think of this word. In neither Greek nor Hebrew does the word perfect imply without sin, but rather both imply a journey or progress towards holiness and completion.
In our relationship with God, tamim means being wholehearted, resolute, and entirely committed to walking “with” Him in this world.
I recommend you to further study these words, there are ample resources online. I was amazed by what I learned, in my opinion, I believe the word “Perfect” is a poor translation in the English language to the true meaning of the journey to holiness, fulfillment, or completeness.
John 17:23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.
As we are in Christ, and Christ is in God, we can be perfect IN Him.
1 John 3:6 Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.
Luke 1:6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
Righteous before God, that sounds amazing to me. Notice the verse uses the word “blameless”, not “perfect”. The implication of this verse is a journey, walking in “the commandments and ordinances of the Lord”. Not “without sin”, only one was without sin.
James 3:2 For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.
Are you one who does not stumble in word? I know I’m not, my mouth gets me into more trouble!
So here is the lie, what we have believed: “You can sin and not die.” This dates back to the garden, what did Satan tell Eve?
Genesis 3:4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.
You won’t die. Really?
Isn’t the wages (price) of sin death? Rom 6:23
This is not being taught from the pulpit today, I have actually heard a pastor say; “I know I’ll be a sinner saved by grace until the very moment I die, then I will have His perfection in Heaven.”
That sounds very nice, however, it is not true according to scripture. According to the scripture, Jesus came to save me FROM my sins, not IN my sin. Make no mistake here, no sin will be allowed to enter into heaven.
Matthew 1:21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people FROM their sins.”
Revelation 21:27 But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
God wants me to be an overcomer, why else would He say it so many times in Revelation? “To him who overcomes”
John the Baptist and Jesus both started their ministries preaching repentance FROM sin.
REPENTANCE: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Repentance is the activity of reviewing one’s actions and feeling contrition or regret for past wrongs. It generally involves a commitment to personal change and resolving to live a more responsible and humane life.
If there was no hope of turning from sin, why preach repentance? This ministry was a waste of time. Why would Jesus not say something like this: “I know you are fallen and beyond hope, but I am going to the cross to die for you so you don’t have to do anything but accept me. When at the end of your long-lived, sinful life, you finally die, I will clean you up at the moment of death and bring you into my Kingdom holy and pure.”
This is the message being preached out of a lot of churches today. Hear me now, THIS IS A LIE. Jesus said “Go and sin no more”, not, “Go and sin all you want, it’s ok, I’ve got this”
We have a part in this.
The problem here is SIN and our definition of SIN.
We know that sin is the transgression of the law.
1John 3:4 Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.
Let’s use an illustration here:
Marriage Proposal: “Honey, I love you so much, I want you to marry me. I commit to be faithful to you 354 days out of the year. You know I have other women on the side, but it’s ok, because I am MOSTLY committed to you”
How many women would say yes to that? It’s ridiculous.
How many of us say something very similar to God, especially in the moments just prior to committing sin?
I will confess I have had this thought just prior to committing sin. “God understands, I’m only human.”
What I have effectively said in this moment is this; “The devil is big enough to tempt me to sin, but God is NOT big enough to keep me FROM sin. God knows this is the case and He is ok with it.”
1 John 4:4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
What sin can God NOT give me victory over? Believe what He says in His word, this is righteousness by faith.
Romans 1:17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”
Mark 9:23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”
If you don’t believe, you won’t be victorious. Caleb and Joshua believed they could conquer, the other spies didn’t. There are many in this world who will tell you it can’t be done, God says otherwise. Who are you going to believe?
The Lord is LOOKING for someone who believes.
2 Chronicles 16:9a For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.
So…….How much sin can I cling to and still be saved at the end? Jesus said “sin no more”
John 5:14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.”
John 8:10 -11 10 When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”
11 She said, “No one, Lord.”
And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”
He didn’t say “Cut back, slow down” SIN NO MORE, if it was not possible, why did he say it?
How do I get victory over sin?
Repent, this is a gift from God
2 Timothy 2:25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth,
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Proverbs 28:13 He who covers his sins will not prosper,
But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.
Don’t cover up your sin, meet it head-on in Christ. HE IS FAITHFUL. Confess, then forsake, then receive mercy.
God gives me the power to live a new life, this is the sanctification process, I am transformed and live a NEW life, this is real repentance, when I turn FROM my sins.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sanctification is the act or process of acquiring sanctity, of being made or becoming holy.
So if I believe this, does this mean I will never sin?
1 John 1:5- 2:2
5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
2 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. (emphasis mine)
Read the passage carefully and ask yourself these questions: Who’s in charge? Who do I live for? By what do I define my life? Am I WALKING with Jesus? What am I practicing? Am I walking in light, or in darkness? Who am I journeying with? God, or Satan?
Romans 6:12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.
Where is sin ruling?
Romans 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
Who is in control? Is sin winning, or is Jesus winning?
1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God;
What is the will of God? My sanctification, the journey to holiness, the process of holiness (perfection). The disciples trained for 3 years, and they still messed up at the end of Jesus’ life, they still abandoned him, even though they had been training. Peter fell, but look at his outcome after he fell. Peter didn’t stay down, he was restored by faith and became an incredible witness for the Lord. What would the outcome have been if he had not been restored?
Isaiah 1:16-17 16 “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean;
Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes.
Cease to do evil,
17 Learn to do good;
Rebuke the oppressor;[a]
Defend the fatherless,
Plead for the widow.
We have a part in this. My wife Dawna put it this way; ‘God wants our character changed into the character of Jesus. When our character is more closely identified with the character of Jesus, we are able to live in peace with ourselves. This causes us to be changed once for all, through the empowered life of Jesus in us.’
Think about learning an instrument to play, it takes a long time, with a lot of patience and practice, the novice develops into the expert.
“There are those who have known the pardoning love of Christ and who really desire to be children of God, yet they realize that their character is imperfect, their life faulty, and they are ready to doubt whether their hearts have been renewed by the Holy Spirit. To such I would say, Do not draw back in despair. We shall often have to bow down and weep at the feet of Jesus because of our shortcomings and mistakes, but we are not to be discouraged. Even if we are overcome by the enemy, we are not cast off, not forsaken and rejected of God. No; Christ is at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Said the beloved John, “These things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” 1 John 2:1. And do not forget the words of Christ, “The Father Himself loveth you.” John 16:27. He desires to restore you to Himself, to see His own purity and holiness reflected in you. And if you will but yield yourself to Him, He that hath begun a good work in you will carry it forward to the day of Jesus Christ. Pray more fervently; believe more fully. As we come to distrust our own power, let us trust the power of our Redeemer, and we shall praise Him who is the health of our countenance.” E.G. White “Steps to Christ” pg64
Thank you for reading, I welcome any feedback. May God bless you!