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Lesson 5
"The Perfect Solution"
We have become accustomed to thinking that perfection just isn't possible, so we have set up our society to accommodate our
imperfections. All around us we can see examples of our planning for failure. In our schools we use a grading system in which 100 is
perfect, and 0 is it's opposite extreme. We have accepted the idea that if the student gets 60 or 70 percent; it is acceptable. And yet, we must
admit that even 99 percent is imperfect.
All of my life, I have heard people say: "Nobody's perfect!" You've probably grown up being taught the same thing. We must all admit that this
is a pretty "un" perfect world. Now we've come to the place where even in the churches of our land, we teach that perfection just
isn't possible. In fact, there is probably no faster way to upset the average church congregation, than to bring up the subject of character
perfection. It has become a popular saying in sermons, gospel music, and even bumper stickers: "Christians aren't perfect, They're just
forgiven."
Have we set our goals too low? Have we come to believe where salvation is concerned, that if we can do our best; If we can score a 60, 70
or 80 percent where sin is concerned, that we will pass God's great test? Believe it or not, many of the churches of our land are teaching
this very thinking. God does indeed have a scoring system. In God's system, however, there are only two grades: 100 or 0! There is no in
between. If we implicitly follow God's instructions, we will pass His test 100 percent! But if we fail to follow God's great plan, in detail, we will
be counted a zero. But don't be discouraged, God is ready with the help you need.
1. Why are we exhorted to patience? James 1:4
2. What did Jesus say in regards to perfection? Matthew 5:48
Notice that Jesus not only tells us to be perfect, but He tells us to be perfect like the Father in heaven is perfect. "God's ideal for His children
is higher than the highest human thought can reach. "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."
This
command is a promise.
The plan of redemption contemplates our complete recovery from the power of Satan." The Desire of Ages p. 311
4. After accepting Christ, as personal Savior, what are we to do? Hebrews 6:1
7. Why does Christ desire this growth in His followers? Ephesians 5:27
8. What will cause the Christian to grow? 1 Peter 2:2
God's Word is likened to spiritual food. When we are "babes" in the faith, we are in need of the "sincere milk of the word." As we grow and
mature in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Bible offers us "strong meat" to sustain us. (See
Hebrews 5:12-14).
9. What does God's Word then become to the believer? Jeremiah 15:16
10. Why were the Scriptures given to us? 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Most people believe that perfection is impossible, but God's Word is very clear on the subject. Time and time again, we
are admonished to be perfect. Would God tell us to do something that is impossible?
11. What did God tell the people to do through King Solomon? 1 Kings 8:61
12. What promise is given to the perfect man? Job 8:20
13. What did the Lord command of Abraham? Genesis 17:1 (last part)
We know that the Bible calls Abraham the father of the faithful, (see Romans 4:16; Galatians 3:7-9) and yet when God
first made the covenant of promise with him, he commanded him "be thou perfect."
14. What did God Himself have to say about Job? Job 1:8
15. What does the Bible say about Noah? Genesis 6:9
16. What did God command of His people in Deuteronomy 18:13?
17. Did Jesus teach that men could be perfect? Matthew 5:48; 19:21; Luke 6:40
18. Does the apostle Paul teach that we should be perfect? 2 Corinthians 13:11; Hebrews 13:20-21
You see, the Bible has a lot to say about perfection. But in all the statements about perfection, there is nothing to
suggest that perfection is impossible. No, my friend, that idea is a lie that has been told by the devil himself, and it has
been adopted by the traditions of many of the churches; but it is not what the Bible teaches! The Bible is not only plain
about the fact that perfection is possible, but it tells us plainly that we are to be perfect.
19. How do we obtain the righteousness or perfection of God in our lives? Romans 4:13
The apostle Paul, in the New Testament, teaches us the plan of salvation. Paul being a theologian, uses theological
terms to express God's great plan. He calls the plan of salvation: "Righteousness by faith." (See
Romans 1:16-17; 3:22;
Galatians 5:5; Philippians 3:9). The perfection that the Bible so strongly commands, does not come by our works, but by
our faith in the Son of God.
Paul explains 'righteousness by faith' to be a three part means of our receiving the very righteousness of God into our
lives. The first part he calls justification by faith:
20. What kind of sins are remitted by this justification? Romans 3:25 (last part)
Justification by faith is the means by which we come to God. We confess our sins and ask forgiveness, and we have the promise that God
is faithful to forgive us of our past sins (See
1 John 1:9). Justification is the fruit of our believing (Acts 13:39), and is instantaneous.
21. What else does God promise to do for us in addition to forgiving us? 1 John 1:9
When we are justified by faith in Jesus Christ, we are counted as if we were clean, even though we know that we have sinned. The next step
is to actually clean us up. God accepts the sinner just as he is, sinful, but the wonderful truth of God's Word is that our God loves us too
much to leave us sinful. After He justifies us (forgives us of our past sins), the next step is what Paul refers to as sanctification. This too
comes by faith in Jesus Christ, but it is very different from justification. In
1 John 1:9 it says: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to
forgive us our sins" (justification), "and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (sanctification).
Sanctification is not an instant work in our lives but it is the work of a lifetime. God is continually showing us those places where we fall
short, and we are to be continually transforming our lives by the renewing of our minds (
Romans 12:2).
Where justification forgives our past sins, sanctification gives us the power to overcome present temptations (1 Thessalonians 4:1-7). We
have said that justification by faith is the fruit of believing; Sanctification by faith is the fruit of obedience to the engrafted Word of God (
1 Peter
1:2). It is just as we sing in the old song: "Trust and Obey." To obey without first trusting in Jesus is impossible, but it is equally as
impossible to trust in Jesus without then obeying Him.
22. What does Jesus say that we will do if we really love Him? John 14:15
There is yet one more step in Paul's explanation of 'righteousness by faith.' If we have been justified by faith in Jesus, and we have been
sanctified by faith in Jesus, then we can look forward to being glorified by Jesus when He comes again. This glorification is the fruit of both
believing and obeying, because it is the result of receiving both justification and sanctification in God's wonderful plan of salvation.
23. What will happen to all of God's people at the second coming of Christ? 1 Corinthians 15:51-52
24. What will we be like after this change? 1 John 3:2
It is common to hear Christians speak of being saved. You will hear many say that they "got saved" on a certain day.
While this is not altogether incorrect, this study should prove that it is not altogether correct either. To simply say that we
were saved at a certain moment, leads us to think that our salvation is final. I hope that you can see from this simple
study, the truth in these statements: 1]
I am saved (justification); 2] I am being saved (sanctification); 3] I will be
saved
(glorification). Past, present, and future, God's salvation continues until Jesus comes.
"But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved."
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3. In whom are we complete? Colossians 2:10
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5. In what is the Christian to grow? 2 Peter 3:18
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Matthew 24:13