Perfection is not the same as obedience. Christians obey Jesus. That is what it means to be a Christian. There is a catalog of scripture thus related. Whenever obedience is preached the shackles on Christian’s backs often go up. The retort is “We are saved by grace through faith, not by works.” And I agree. But how do you get this grace? What is the mechanism?
Some have preached it involves repentance. They are right. Unfortunately, many simply mean repent from not “believing” in Jesus to “believing” in Jesus: which is too shallow. This screws so many people up. So many tares have been created and people quitting church never entering the faith because now they “believe in Jesus and are saved.” Somebody is going to get their butt kicked for this one “Watch out Daddy’s home.”
Some are more profound and go as far as saying repent from doing bad; smoking, drinking, cussing, porno…and the like. That’s getting a lot closer. But much of the repenting is associated with “cultural” or “denominational” sins. Do you remember “You can’t dance, bro! It’s a sin.”
Few say repent from and to. I don’t remember hearing turn from disobedience to obedience. Maybe some do? This faith in Jesus and His message translates us from self to service, from bad to good, from our way to His way and from sin to obedience. So the obvious question for those disaffected by the Gospel of Less convulse “No Body can be perfect!” Oops, pinched a nerve.
Obedience: It is left as an optional, extra concept left to super-Christians. Everyone becomes very careful about announcing “obedience “almost afraid they will be labeled a heretic for getting people to depend so called “works.” This is so strange. I am mystified and angered by this because many are negatively affected and left under the shackles of sin when this faith was to set the free to obey.
Through obedience there is fellowship, obedience brings revelation, obedience shows fruitful results, obedience shows we are His and proves we are saved through our faith. Without it there only remains life-affirmed blasphemy of the Spirit of God. God can’t be mocked.
Gal 6:7-10 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. NIV
1 John 3:7-10 Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. 8 He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. 9 No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. 10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother. NIV
It is reasonable to ask “What about the fact we are not perfect and occasionally sin?” There is a difference between determination and always getting it right. Here is an analogy a boy is told by his father to take out the garbage. He jumps up gets the bag and puts in on the can and puts the lid on, towering over the pile. Great he was obedient. But his father notices he put it on the top and the dogs will get it. He sends him back out to stomp it down and put the lid on tightly. Now the son is being perfected. He is learning the perfect will of the father.
I know we have deliberately disobeyed and that we need to repent and ask forgiveness. This shows our diligence and determination to live a repentant lifestyle. We are being perfected. This isn’t license to diobey.
Another thing to note is we are learning the perfect will of God in how he does things and what He deems important. Sometimes we give when we should motivate a person, other times we rebuke when the individual needs encouragement, we are soft when we should be firm. Each situation He knows what He wants and how to best do it. Am I perfect? I’m growing to understand what and how. Now it is rare that I find myself in abject rebellious sin. This is abhorrent, dangerous. Hell? I don’t know but certainly stupid.
Even as I blog I have a good general understanding of us the Church. I know we are not very close to abandoned love for those around us. I know we avoid sacrificial living. But I wouldn’t conclude the Church isn’t saved in general. However, as we discover the will of God and how He operates, what his determination is for those suffering, we continue to hide behind false theologies that support our comfort and peace. This kind of blindness is self-induced. There will be no salvation. Faith demonstrates itself in obedient self-sacrificing love like Jesus on the cross. As He did so shall His.