Perfecting of the saints.
“Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)
You are to be, but not yet. Even the apostle Paul said that he was not perfect. And we will never be perfect if we think perfection is a matter of keeping a list of rules. Only God can make us perfect. That is the work of the Spirit because of our faith in Christ.
“,…that I might know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:10-12)
Paul wanted to know Jesus and the power that could resurrect the dead. All believers can say AMEN to that. He also wanted to share Christ’s sufferings and be like Him in His death. The Spirit has work to do in us before we attain to the resurrection from the dead. Our work now is a work of faith as we press on to this high calling of God, perfection. Christ Jesus has taken hold of us for this reason.
And as we press on Paul encourages us with his honesty. “Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet, but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14) Let us forget our failures of yesterday. Through faith in God’s forgiveness we can move on toward the goal.
Now some may be of a different mind concerning God’s call to perfection, but this is what Paul had to say. “Let us therefore, as many as are mature, have this attitude, and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; however, let us keep living by that same standard we have obtained.” (Philippians 3:15-16) God reveals His truth to us in His way and in His time. Live the truth you have obtained.
Jesus, You told us to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us, so that we may be sons of our Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:44) Help us to remember when anger would prevent us. Bring to our mind that we are sharing in the sufferings of Christ. Strengthen us as we carry our cross bringing death to our pride. Help us to pray for those who do not love us. Perfect us in this way, so that we become perfect as our “heavenly Father is perfect.”
Photo: The entrance of “Jerusalem’s House of Prayer.”