5 truths to "be perfect"

The bible is incredibly practical.

Being commanded to “be perfect” would be an impossible task without any kind of description on how to do that. In fact, there are many people trapped by a pursuit of perfection. It is not the pursuit of perfection itself that creates the trap but an understanding of what it means to be perfect and how that may even be possible. Only God can even define what that is and thereby how it may be accomplished. Attempts at living to a perfect standard defined anywhere outside of Jesus Christ will only lead to destruction.

In 2 Peter is written some foundational truths in preparation for the process of perfection but it also details specific building blocks involved in the process of maturity that leads to perfection. As we have already looked at, in previous posts, perfection encompasses love, maturity and completeness.

Today I’m going to look at those foundational truth before looking at each building block in the process to perfection.

I would like to begin however with a warning or a reality check.

We cannot consider the things of God like we consider the things of the world. When we truly desire to build up or grow in, perfection and maturity in Christ we should be very aware that true maturity in Christ will not lead to great approval, praise and recognition of men and a status in the world. The greatest mark of those mature in Christ is their self-identification as a slave, great humility and often marked with trials and suffering. Those who truly desire to grow in Christ have Christ only. There is a recognition in them that apart from Christ they are truly nothing. So at the end of the process of perfection one looks back and says, truly the only gain I had in life was Christ and what He accomplished through me. I contributed nothing.

Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ” 2 Peter 1:1.

Here we see Peter describe himself foremost as a slave, and then an apostle. This is the pattern of all apostles. Their apostleship is born out of their identity foremost as slave.

“For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings. We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world—right up to this moment”. 1 Corinthians 4: 9-13.

Growing in obedience and love to Christ does not make you successful by the world’s standards. It is the only place to find joy and lasting happiness, but it is not the ways of the world. Do not be discouraged, or analyse your commitment to Christ by approval of from men or the world.

"The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb." Revelation 21:14

Personally, I believe this verse in Revelation sums up the life of the mature in Christ. They serve other and are not interested about being served. The twelve apostles will be foundations, holding up all those who enter. This is different from the idea that they will be on the top being held up, they are likely to be on the bottom holding others up. That is the mark of the disciple.

So, let me ask. In light of this does your perspective need adjusting? Are you prepared to joyfully embrace being dishonoured and perceived as a fool? To lay aside your rights to be treated in fairness and actually be a blessing to those who ridicule you?

We should not design these circumstances upon ourself to ‘prove or earn’ our “perfection” but we must accept it as the reality of those who have left all things behind to follow Christ.

The only way is to believe and rest in Gods perfect love for you, despite every single one of your failings the all knowing, all present, all powerful God of the universe holds you secure in His hands and sings over you. That truth, revealed and completed in Christ Jesus it the truth that sets you free from all bondage to the world when we embrace it and apply it to every area of our life.

The Process of Perfection: 5 truths.

Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge,”

2 Peter 1: 1-5

From the verse above I would like to explore 5 truths that set up 5 core truths to the building blocks which are to follow, these 5 truths are:

1. A life of multiplication

2. Everything is already provided

3. Through knowing Jesus

4. The provision is in the promises

5. Diligence vs. laziness

A life of multiplication.

“Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ:

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord”

The letter is addressed to those who are true believers in Jesus. The first word of the letter outside the address is the word grace. Immediately Peter acknowledges and we are reminded that what Peter is saying here is only possible through grace. If it is through grace then immediately we understand it is not of our own ability. Grace begins where human ability ends. If this process was something we could do in our own ability there would be no need for God to give His grace. Amazing that God assigns to us many a task we cannot accomplish in our own trying or planning so that we may open up in humility to his grace. We are left with two options: Either we do the right thing and open up to the grace of God or we reduce the level of God’s requirements down to something we can do in our natural strength. The second is dishonest and misrepresents God.

The word peace in this text is translated from the Hebrew word shalom, which is directly related to the word for complete. As we looked at in an earlier post perfection requires completeness. So we can understand the verse as saying “grace and completeness be multiplied to you”.

Our Christian life is a life of multiplication and progression. It is not static, it is a process.

“in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord”

Everything comes from the knowledge of God and Jesus. Jesus said eternal life is knowing God and Jesus Christ (John 17:3). Everything we need is in God and Jesus. Leading us to truth 2.

Everything is already provided.

as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness”

Everything we are ever going to need for all of our life and eternity has already been given to us by God. WOW!.

I will be proclaiming this every morning, reminding myself that all I need is already given. The implication is tremendous. Our asking God for things God has already given us is to operate on a misunderstanding.

Through Knowing Jesus

“through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue”v.3

All aspects of our lives, as weve already seen is in knowing God and Jesus. Not knowing systems of theology but knowing God personally. It is not through the factual knowledge of a thing but a relational knowledge of a person, a knowledge of a living person that speaks and calls people and who hears.

The provision is in the promises

“by which [His glory and virtue] have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” v.4

Now I strongly believe that every step of the Christians life is by faith. If Gods provision was detailed, understandable and seen then it would not require trust, obedience or faith. No relationship would be needed.

Gods provision (for life and godliness, which is already provided) for us is in His promises. As we believe (have faith) in the promises and obey them (some are based on conditions:e.g If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7) we will find we have total provision for everything we need. The even greater blessing is that through believing and obeying the promises we can receive the very nature of God within us. To the proportion we receive the nature of God we are delivered from the corruption which is in the world through lust.

In a way the promises of God are like a ladder. Every rung is a promise. As we step our foot on a promise and put our faith and trust in it we go one step higher. Promise after promise we progressively become partaker of the divine nature of God. Incredible.

Diligence vs. laziness

But also for this very reason, giving all diligence”

Having looked over the incredible truths of multiplication, provision, knowledge of Jesus, and promises it would be hard to understand how anyone could possibly not be diligent in trusting and obeying the Lord Jesus. Diligent, is not a word we use a lot these days, quite unfortunately I’d say. Essentially it refers to not being lazy. Be committed, focused and be actively attentive. After all we are called to be partakers not observers. I believe it is vitally important however that we are diligent in the things truly of God. It is very easy to be busy, in fact there has never been such a time of busyness in all of history.

It is essential for the Christian to be active and diligent in the things of faith, we need to be asking the Lord Jesus and seeking in his word to find out what it is that He wants us to do. It is very tempting to do religious activities, or Church activities that end up only being a distraction and worse off deceiving us to think we’ve been diligent, but we’ve just been distracted by what we think we should be doing without asking the Lord.

(note: I am certainly note indicating that being involved in church/religious activity is wrong but it can easily become something we do to 'check off' our God time. Just like in a relationship or marriage we need to be attentive to what the other is saying. Our church activities however should always be an opportunity to consciously communicate with God. Whether we stacking chairs or talking with the homeless we should be doing all things within the presence of God. our goal is to meet God and share God not fulfil a duty).

Through knowing God and Jesus Christ, we have received everything we require for life and godliness, we must diligently trust and be obedient to Christ through relationship so that all of Gods provisions, which he has promised may be added to us so that we may grow in our maturity and completeness. In doing so we ascend the blocks toward fulfilling the command to "be perfect".

From the next post we will begin to look at the building blocks of perfection starting with our foundation which is Faith, and the first block of excellence.

Can I encourage you to meditate on these first 4 truths? To think about the cost of truly following Christ and be real with yourself and God? Can I encourage you to explore from scripture the promises of God and their conditions? Would you describe yourself as Jesus’ slave?

Let’s seek the Lord together in prayer, meditation upon the Word and fasting, that Holy Spirit would give us the faith by grace to take one more step up the ladder, trusting in the promises of God, escaping the corruption in the world and partake of the divine nature of God.

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