GROWING TO PERFECTION
by Allon Maxwell
Christianity is nothing less than a radical transformation of mind and heart, in which God's purpose is that we should be conformed to the image of His Son. (Rom 12:1-2, Rom 2:29,
Rom 5:5, Rom 8:29)
WE have been given great promises that enable us to forsake sin and become partakers of the divine nature. (2 Peter 1:4-11)
The Christian is called to leave his sins behind and to run a race in which the example of Jesus sets the standard by which he runs. (Hebrews 12:1-2)
is urged to strive for holiness, for without it he will never see the Lord.
The Christian is called to perfection, measured by the standard of God's own perfection, as defined by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. (Matthew 5,48)
PERFECTION DOES NOT HAPPEN INSTANTANEOUSLY.....
IT IS A GROWTH PROCESS.
The new life in Christ begins with a (spiritual) death and resurrection.(Romans Ch 6)
This new beginning is also described as a new birth. (John 3:3)
This new birth (and the new life that follows it) is the product of our response to hearing the word of God. (1 Peter 1:28)
The result of this new birth is a new person. (2 Cor 5:17; Galatians 6,15)
The Christian is encouraged:
The Christian is to grow abundantly in faith, and increase in love. (2 Thess 1:3)
We are being made worthy of the Kingdom of God. (2 Thess 1:5)
We are to
add one Christian virtue to another in order to become fruitful and effective.
We are being changed into the likeness of the Lord, from one degree of glory to another, by the working of the Holy Spirit. (2 Cor 3:17-18)
We are called to cleanse ourselves from defilement and make our holiness perfect. (2 Cor 7:1)
We are assured that if we truly believe that Jesus is the Son of God, it is possible to reach this goal of overcoming the world. (1 John 5:1-5)
We are promised that our temptations will never be greater than our ability to overcome. There will always be a way out to victory. 1 Cor 10:13
If there is temporary failure along the way, it can be confessed and forgiven. (1 John 1:9;
1 John 2:1-2)
But the goal does not change ..... we are to press on towards perfection. (Hebrews 6:1)
By God's power at work in us we can be filled with all the fullness of God. (Eph 3:14-20)
We are promised that God will complete the work which He has begun. (Phil 1:6)
God has given gifts of the Holy Spirit to His church to ensure that it does reach the standard of perfection, or maturity which is measured by nothing less than the full stature of Christ. (Eph 4:11)
Part way towards the goal, Paul confesses that he is not yet perfect. (Phil 3:12)
BUT perfection is still his goal. (Phil 3:12-14)
AND at the end of the road, he is confident that he has reached the goal. (2 Tim 4:6-8)
This same confidence can be ours also, when love is finally perfected in us. (1 John 4:15-18)
GOD IS ABLE
TO DO THIS FOR US
who love Jesus and obey Him, the Holy Spirit will be the teacher, given
to encourage and lead us in the way of life revealed in the words of Jesus.
(John 14:15-17; John 14:26)