Back to chapter 10
- Is it possible to reach perfection? How do we do it?
The importance of understanding our Salvation in Jesus is being able to
discern the true Gospel from a false one. One time while sharing the Gospel on
the field I had an encounter with a Christian who was struggling over a
historical controversy: the issue of Perfection. Is it possible
for us as Christians to reach perfection in this life? The answer to this
question has a lot to do with Understanding Our Salvation in Jesus and our
forgiveness of sins in Jesus. For this reason I would like to share with you the
discussion I had with this young man.
One Wednesday night my then partner Jim Hunt and I went to an in-door Mall.
Jim and I walked completely around the mall when we found a teen-ager sitting on
a bench by himself. Jim and I approached him,
Jim: Hi, my name is Jim. We are on the mall tonight taking a
survey on this booklet called,
What Is Eternal Life? (WEL).
We wondered if we could take ten minutes of your time and get your honest
reaction to it?
The man said yes and Jim proceeded to share WEL with Paul (fictitious
name, real person). There was not room for both of us to sit on the bench where
Paul was sitting, so I sat to the right of them on another bench.
While Jim shared with Paul I prayed. After a few minutes, a Filipino man by
the name of Ben (Real person, fictitious name) sat down next to me on the bench.
He and some of his teen-age friends were playing some kind of Game. His friends
disappeared and so we were left together.
Dale: Hi! My name is Dale. What is yours?
Ben: My name is Ben.
Dale: Ben, my friend Jim over there and I are on the mall
tonight taking a survey on this booklet called WEL. I wondered If I could
take ten minutes of your time and get your reaction to it?
I went through
WEL with Ben. When I got to the page describing the
kinds of people (one representing a self-controlled life and the other a
Christ-controlled life) I asked him which one represented his life.
Ben: The one on the right mostly (Christ-Controlled).
Dale: So you have received Jesus Christ into your life?
I asked him if he had ever been trained in how to share his faith with
others. He replied he had not. I pulled out a pamphlet I wrote titled,
All Chrisians Need Training in Evangelism. I explained to him the value
of training and challenged him to read the pamphlet. I told him that if after
reading it he wanted more information that my website address was in the back of
After explaining all this to him he asked me what I believed about the
teaching of Perfection. I asked Ben what he meant by Perfection.
Ben: Jesus said in Matthew 5:48, "Therefore you
are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." Do you believe it is possible
to reach perfection?
Dale: Yes I do Ben.
First, Ben, you need to understand that the Apostle John tells us in
1 John 1:8
that "If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and
the truth is not in us." The first thing you need to understand is
that whether we are Christians or not, we all sin on a daily basis.
This is not because we want to, but because our flesh is in bondage
to sin. The Apostle Paul said about his fleshly nature as a
Romans 7:14 & 19 "For we know
that the Law is spiritual; but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to
sin. . . . For the good that I wish, I do not do; but I practice the
very evil that I do not wish." Paul plainly expressed that he wanted
to do Godís will fully in his life, but that he found that many
times whether he wanted to
or not he sinned. Paul got so frustrated over this issue that one
day he cried out to God
"Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this
If you remember, Paul went
around persecuting the church before he became a Christian. He was a
Pharisee which was one of the most legalistic Jewish sects of his
day. He was persecuting the Christians because they were teaching
salvation does not come through obedience to the Law of Moses. But
one day the Lord Jesus appeared to him on the road as he was headed
for Damascus and showed Paul that His death on the cross, not his
works, was his only means of salvation.
Ben: What does
this have to do with the teaching of Perfection?
getting there, but in order for you to understand my position I have
to explain it this way, so bear with me.
The Bible teaches us that in
order to be saved through the Law we must obey it perfectly without
sin. The Apostle Paul wrote,
"For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for
it is written, ĎCursed is everyone who does not abide by all things
written in the book of the Law to perform them.í"107 In
order to enjoy Godís presence and enjoy His fellowship, one must be
perfect and without sin. This is because God is Holy and perfect and
If we cannot abide by
the Law perfectly, then Godís word says we must pay its penalty. The
Apostle Paul wrote in
that "The wages of sin is death." James, the brother of Jesus, tells
us that whoever keeps the whole Law and just stumbles in the least
point, God holds that person guilty of all the Law.108
This is because no matter how great or small a personís sin is the
penalty is the same: Death! Paul defines death as eternal
destruction away from the presence of God (2 Thess 1:9).
If God demands perfection, and
if we cannot be perfect, He demands eternal separation from Him,
death, then how can anyone ever stand before him? Paul gives us the
answer to this question in Romans 5:8. He states, "But God
demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet
sinners, Christ died for us." Paul tells us that God solved his own
demands of perfection upon us by having Jesus die in our place.
How does this make us perfect?
The Bible tells us that when we receive Jesus Christ as Savior and
Lord, we automatically are put on the cross with Jesus and pay sinís
penalty, death, with Jesus on the cross. The Apostle Paul wrote in
"Or do you not know that allof us who have been baptized into Christ
Jesus have been baptized into His death? For you have died and your
life is hidden with Christ in God."111 We know that God
the Father accepts Jesusí death on the cross for our sins in our
place because He brought Jesus back from the dead to prove that He
But the Bible teaches us
something else. The Bible also teaches us that you can only die once
to fulfill the requirement of the Law, that once you have died the
Law can never make claims over you again. The Apostle Paul wrote in
"But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by
which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and
not in oldness of the letter." When we die with Jesus Christ on the
cross, we are cleansed of all sin for all time. The writer of
Hebrews 10:12, 14
"But He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat
down at the right hand of God. . . . For by one offering He has
Perfected for all time those who are
When we receive Jesus Christ
as Savior and Lord, we die with Him on the cross. When we die with
Jesus on the cross, His death cleanses us of all sin past, present
and future and as a result makes us perfect before God the Father
for all time and eternity.
As we already showed from 1
John 1:8, having Jesus in our lives does not mean that we are no
longer sinners. As long as we are on this side of heaven we will
struggle with sin. What receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord
does mean is that we die with
Jesus on the cross. Because we do, when
God the Father looks at us, He does not see our imperfections and
sin. When he looks at us He sees us through the filter of Jesusí
blood. When He looks through the filter of Jesusí blood, no sin or
imperfections can come through this filter. Because no sin or
imperfections can come through this filter, God the Father sees us
as perfect as He is. The end result is we fulfill God the Fatherís
requirement that we are to be perfect as He is perfect, because
looking at us through Jesusí blood, He sees us as perfect as He and
His Son are. That is why now we can have relationship with God
despite our continued battle with sin. This is also why Paul tells
Ephesians 3:12 that
through Jesus we have confident bold access to the Father. We can
approach the Father confidently and boldly because in His eyes we
are perfect, there is no evidence of sin or imperfections before His
eyes. Why? Because we are no longer sinners? No! Because
He sees us through Jesusí blood which has
perfected us for all time and eternity.