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Perfect Christ or Perfect Christian

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  • Perfect Christ or Perfect Christian

    Lately I've been hearing this call from Sanctification Proponents to be perfect. Sinless Perfection sometimes appears out of the Holiness Tradition, and is often misunderstood, I think. It is claimed, by some, that the Christian can be perfect, when he is following the Spirit of Christ, and is only imperfect when he falls away from Christ.

    My belief is that the Bible teaches something else. We are *never perfect!* When the Bible speaks of our need to be "perfect," the thought is not of "sinless perfection," but of our need to be fully committed, and not just partly committed. It has nothing to do with living without the sin nature, since John 1 clearly indicates the sin nature is always with us, as long as we live in these mortal bodies.

    Luke 22.33 But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”
    34 Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”

    John 13.“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”

    1 John 1.8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

    We know that the sacrifice for our sin required a Perfect Christ, because atonement for our sins had to come from someone who is sinless himself. But what this is really saying is that forgiveness must come from God Himself, who alone is without sin and the party who, being offended, can completely forgive us.

    And so, we abide in a perfect Christ, spiritually, so that we may partake of his likeness in nature, and of his characteristics, of love, kindness, etc. But never are we told that in abiding in him we lose our sin nature or completely avoid sin in our lives. With every act of love there lies beneath this temptation to indulge carnal thoughts, that would twist the love of Christ into something different.

    The important thing is not that we become perfect, but that we direct our lives towards the Perfect Christ, We must get our holiness from him, and not be as holy as him with respect to our human nature. We can faithfully follow him, and subdue our carnal instincts below us. But we must await the resurrection to be glorified with him. Only then will we be perfect as he is perfect.

    The important thing is that we derive our purity from Christ because only he is pure, without which no man can be pure. It is not a matter of obtaining the measure of his sinless record. Rather, it is a matter of getting our virtue from one whose record is sinless, who alone possesses these virtues, without which we can have no virtue ourselves. Comments?