Jesus Christ is the only person to ever live the Christian life. Now that is quite the statement isn’t it? If you think about it for a minute you will have to agree. Jesus told us in Matthew 5:48 “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Apparently being a Christian requires being perfect. How is that going to happen you ask? I’m glad you asked.
When Jesus tells us to be perfect, as our heavenly Father is perfect, he means it. He isn’t just saying this to shock us or get our attention, he really means for us to be perfect. God is perfect and he demands perfection. That isn’t too unreasonable is it?
The question arises “Louie, are you nuts?” No really the question is how is that possible? If we are expected to be perfect we need a miracle. Ding, ding, ding you win the prize. It does take a miracle. It takes one all day everyday. It takes Jesus Christ himself, by way of the Spirit, taking up residence within. He is the perfect, sinless Son of God, and he will have to live out the perfection required through me or else it will never happen. Do you agree? If He doesn’t do it, it will never happen. This is where the miracle comes in.
All the way back in Ezekiel we find how God planned how this would work. Ezekiel 36:26-27 “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.” Did you catch that part about how his Spirit within will cause us to walk in his statutes and ordinances? He is the only perfect one and he desires to be that perfect one in us. In the New Testament we read Philippians 2:13 “for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” The requirement of the Law can only be met in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
When Jesus demands perfection he already knows we can’t fulfill this requirement ourselves, so why does he tell us to be perfect? He knows people have to give it a good try before they give in to the reality of their own inability. For most of us it takes quite a bit of trying and failing before we are conditioned for the miracle.
The Apostle Paul describes this trying and failing in Romans seven. He lets us in on how the struggle for perfection in our own strength, or flesh, looks. He knew the Law of God was holy, righteous and good and demanded perfection. There was absolutely no wiggle room in the Law if it was to be done it had to be done perfectly. Paul gave it a go and found that, in his flesh, he had no way of doing it. He finally came to the conclusion we all must come to and that is a cry for help. He said, “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! Paul finally came to the end of his stab at perfection through law keeping, and he cried out to the only one who could deliver him. Once we come to the conclusion perfection can’t happen, in and of ourselves, we too will call out. Then, and only then, we will be ready to receive the one and only perfect one Jesus Christ himself. We will say along with Paul, “I no longer live but Christ lives in me.”
Written by Louie