My Thoughts. . .
There are usually extremes on any topic introduced. Whether a topic is considered extreme depends upon a person’s viewpoint. Preachers usually exhort their members to “be faithful” or “obedient” to receive a “well done” from Jesus. The preacher may define what he means by “faithful” or “obedient” in his sermon. However, he may not. So, what does “being perfect” mean? Without clarification an audience may misunderstand those two terms. If such is defined or inferred as perfection, they have misunderstood.
What do you think “perfect” or “perfection” means? Some may define it as “never sinning again.” Do you remember when Jesus told the adulterous woman, “Go and sin no more”? They thought Jesus was saying she was to be sinless for the rest of her life. If that is what Jesus meant, then the woman would have been better off being stoned by the Jewish leadership. Some who believe God requires a sinless life will spend the rest of their time in doubt, fear, uncertainty, despondence, and hopelessness. With that concept, Christianity is not a blessing. It becomes a burden that continually questions one’s destiny.
Some believe in what is called “gap insurance.” They do their dead-level-best to be sinless but recognize the gap between where they are spiritually and the desired condition they desire. They manifest doubts concerning their salvation but hope God will fill that gap with His grace. Yet, they will not know if that filling will be granted in a positive way until the judgment. The foundation of their faith degrades into fingernail biting until they fearfully stand before Jesus hoping for adequate gap insurance!
There is another group that believes self- perfection or sinlessness is not a requirement. Why develop that understanding? Because scripture teaches us that no one is sinless (Romans 3:23; 5:12). If one is not perfect, how can he be saved? The answer is Jesus! He purchased the sins of those who put their trust in him (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Jesus’ blood continues to cleanse the individual keeping him intact as God’s holy Temple (1 Corinthians 3:16-17). Jesus took that person’s sins upon himself at the cross and bestows upon that individual God’s righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). The individual recognizes his shortcomings, admits them, and knows the only one who can keep him in fellowship with God is Jesus (1 John 1:7-9). He views himself as a forgiven sinner who follows Jesus.
There is another group that believes once they are saved, they may commit any or all sins and never lose their salvation, even if they refuse to repent. Their response is that a person who is truly justified will never want to be disobedient. Every believer has that desire, but reality knows human perfection is the devil’s fallacy. So, that individual recognizes his shortcomings. Those shortcomings teach him where to put his trust. Some mistakenly believe that their wrongdoings mean that they are not true believers. Those doubts originate from Satan. Our failures at perfection teach us our great need for Jesus. He is Savior, not man.
The Hebrew writer spoke of some who did not return to Jesus (Hebrews 10:38-39, Cf. 3:12; 6:4-6). Those who remained faithful recognized their inability to be without sin but continued to follow Jesus who remits their sins and continues to fellowship them. Our faith is based in Jesus who saves. We continue to trust him knowing that his blood keeps us cleansed. He is the author of our salvation and the one who perfects our faith (Hebrews 12:1-2).
Satan is still twisting God’s truth and wants the believer to question the power of Jesus’ blood to save. He wants us to believe that we are co-saviors with Jesus and our salvation is based upon a divine 50/50% condition. Jesus did his 50% and we must complete 100% of our 50. The problem with that lie is that we do not complete that 50%. We are not an additional 50% co-savior with Jesus. He is either our total Savior or none. Our choice.
Does Jesus being our Savior eliminate our need of faith? I never said that it did. Must our faith bring us to obey Jesus? I never said it did not. Then, does our obedience not make us co-saviors with Jesus? It makes your faith an obedient one, but it is Jesus who saves. Did you shed your blood upon the cross? No. Did the Father send you to be your savior? No. Do you live a sinless life? You know the answer.
If you believe being “faithful” or “obedient” demands perfection on your part, Christianity is going to be a life of fear and doubt. Faithfulness and obedience are found in those who do not “trample the Son of God underfoot,” who do not “treat as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them,” nor are they guilty of “insulting the Spirit of grace” (Hebrews 10: 29). Those who are “faithful” or “obedient” are the ones who do not “shrink back and are destroyed” but “those who have faith and are saved” (Hebrews 10:39). You are a sinner, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb! Understand WHO is Savior and you will be blessed by that recognition.