This is an introduction to a Bible study about perfection.
In Matthew 5:48, it is recorded that Jesus said:
“48 Therefore you will be perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect.”
This is not just a “statement of fact”: it is a command. The context of the verse (Matthew, chapters 5-7) makes this very clear. In particular, in Matthew 5:38-48, Jesus tells us that we should love other people, including our enemies. Just as we must love our enemies, even if it seems impossible, we must be perfect, even if it seems impossible.
This same idea is taken up by the Apostle John in 1 John 2:3-5, which says:
1 John 2:3-5
“3 And in this we know that we have known Him, if we keep His Commandments.
4 The one who is saying ‘I have known Him’ but is not keeping His Commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in this person.
5 Yet whoever may be keeping His Word, truly in this one the Love of God has been perfected; in this we know that we are in Him.”
The Apostle Paul wrote that we are not hopeless in our struggle against sin.
1 Corinthians 10:13
“13 You will not have gotten a test if an unbelieving person; but God, He will not be leaving you to be tested beyond what you are able, but will be making together the test and the escape, that you be empowered to endure.”
God makes an escape for believers so that they can have the power to avoid sinning. If you believe the escape really exists, you must believe the option to avoid sinning really exists, because the escape IS the option to avoid sinning.
Paul goes on to command:
1 Corinthians 15:34
“34 Sober up in righteousness, and don’t be sinning! For some are clinging to an ignorance of God: I am speaking to your shame.”
However, we are regularly told the exact opposite of this. It is a cliché to say “nobody’s-perfect” (nobody is perfect).
There are several
Bible passages that are used to support the notion that in our present
lives sin cannot be escaped, that sin is actually INescapable. Among these, two Bible passages are the most commonly quoted in support of this belief. One of these is another passage from 1 John.
1 John 1:8-10
“8 If we say that we ourselves have no sin, we are straying, and the truth is not in us.
9 If we concede our sins, faithful is He, and just, to forgive us those sins, and cleanse us from all wrongdoing.
10 If we say that we have not sinned, we are declaring Him a liar; and His Word is not in us.”
The other passage is from Romans.
“23 For all people have sinned, and are lacking the Glory of God.”
So, John writes that “the one who is saying ‘I have known Him’, but is not keeping His Commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in this person” (1 John 2:4); but he also informs us that “if we say that we ourselves have no sin, we are straying, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). Are we being told that, if we are not keeping God's Commandments, the truth is not in us; but “if we say that we ourselves have no sin”--if we say that we are keeping His Commandments--then “the truth is [also] not in us”? Is this the meaning of these passages?
How can Paul tell us so emphatically “don’t be sinning” (1 Corinthians 15:34), and yet also say “all people have sinned” (Romans 3:23)?
Is sin actually INescapable, regardless of what 1 Corinthians 10:13 says? Or is the real problem that it is easier to just pretend that sin is inescapable, and continue “clinging to an ignorance of God” (1 Corinthians 15:34)?
The purpose of this Bible study is to understand perfection. We will discover what perfection truly is; and also, that which people often incorrectly call "perfection". Next, we will see just how far from perfection we really are as we learn about blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. After this, the importance of our adoption by God will be revealed, and what is required for us to be adopted by God.
This will be followed by several pages that explore perfection more deeply. These should help to clear up some long-standing misunderstandings / misinterpretations of the Bible.
The following is a list of the pages of this study. I recommend studying the pages in the order they are presented here.
May God bless you with understanding, and make you perfect!
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