Please let me just take a few moments to clarify what the Bible teaches about BEING and ACTING PERFECT in Christ. Being perfect in Christ is who “we be” in our nature. Acting perfect in Christ is what we are commanded to do.
Though we may not always “act perfect” we “be perfect.” Saying “nobody is perfect” has become an excuse for many Christians to continue in sin. Rather, every Christian should boldly say, “I am perfected in Christ, even if I don’t always act like it!” The difference is understanding our nature and what is expected of us.
Saying “none is perfect” gives the impression that God has not saved nor changed you. However, confessing you are perfect in Christ places a demand upon your faith in God to live like it!
UNDERSTANDING “BEING PERFECT”
- PERFECT LIKE YOUR FATHER: Jesus clearly taught that you were to “BE PERFECT,” just like your Heavenly Father is “PERFECT.”
- Matthew 5:48, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
- Therefore, if you are born again your NATURE is PERFECT just as the Heavenly Father’s nature is PERFECT.
- GODLY LIKE GOD: Peter boldly said you PARTICIPATE (share/partner) in the DIVINE NATURE.
- 2 Peter 1:4, “Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”
- Therefore, if you have been BORN AGAIN, you have a NEW NATURE and it isn’t sinful, but rather it is DIVINE (godly, God-like).
- PERFECTED BY JESUS’ OFFERING: The inspired author of Hebrews clearly said you were PERFECTED (past tense) by the one offering of Jesus when you were saved.
- Hebrews 10:14, “For by one offering he has perfected for all time those who are made holy.”
- Therefore, the very act of your salvation, being born again, and being forgiven all proves you are PERFECTED for all time because God made you HOLY (without blemish or sinfulness).
UNDERSTANDING ACTING (DOING) PERFECT
- FORGIVE US: Jesus taught the Christian could still sin, even if their nature was perfect. Hence the reason of teaching us to pray for forgiveness.
- Matthew 6:12, “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”
- Therefore, we are EXPECTED to live PERFECT (free from sin), however, if we do not, we can be forgiven when we truly REPENT (confess our sins).
- THE CRUCIFIED FLESH: Paul taught that though the soul/spirit of the believer was perfected and saved, we still live in a sinful body of flesh. Therefore, the flesh (our sinful body born cursed because of sin) was to be counted as CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST.
- Galatians 5:24, “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.“
- Therefore, if you do not “keep in step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25) you will sin and fall into the temptation of the flesh. However, if you are led by the Spirit of God you will be “not be lead into temptation but delivered from all evil” (Matthew 6:13).
- SO YOU WILL NOT SIN, BUT IF…: John the beloved disciple of Jesus taught that the believer should never make an excuse for sin, but rather should always aim to never sin. However, if the disciple should sin they can be confident that Jesus will forgive them (not as a license to sin more) but rather to continue living in their new perfect and holy nature.
- 1 John 2:1-2, “1 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”
- Therefore, sinning is not the default position of the believer- perfection and holiness is. Forgiveness is a means of returning to God’s nature, not an excuse to say, “nobody is perfect,” and remain in sin.
- As a matter of fact John went on to teach in 1 John 3:9, “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God.”
- Likewise, the Christian cannot truly remain saved and continue in their sin because it is a contradiction of their nature. If they do, they will harden their heart and return to unbelief and thus be lost (Hebrews 3:12; 10:26-31).