Never Failing To Strive For Perfect Success

February 15, 2013

Friends,
This week I took a friend back to her doctor so that he could remove the patch over her eye from having had cataract surgery the day before. As I sat with her and listened to the doctor give instructions about eye drops, etc., I was impressed to hear him say that the surgery (which he did) had been 100 % successful. This sent me to thinking again about how crazy it would be if surgeons did not determine to perform each and every surgery so that the results of all of them would be 100 % successful. Would it be okay for a surgeon to have an attitude of complacency about continuously doing his utmost best? Would it be okay if he gave himself the excuse to perform less-than-perfect operations because, after all, he was only human? Would he have such an attitude if it was his own daughter under the knife? To all three questions we must answer, “Absolutely not.”

We know very well that a surgeon resolves to do a perfect job every single time he faces a surgery. And we know that in order to do this, he takes steps to make sure he accomplishes his goal. He continues studying and researching and practicing, he orders his hours so that he gets plenty of sleep, he stays fit and healthy so as to have optimal energy and clarity of mind, and he discusses better techniques and cures with other great surgeons.

So if a surgeon can become knowledgable and highly skilled in his field by being trained by other excellent surgeons, why is it that most “Christians” insist that they cannot constantly aim to be 100 % successful in the area of holiness, even when they have been given, not only tutelage from the Best Teacher there is, but also His own power and mind?! (John 16:13-15 // 1 Cor. 2:16 // 2 Peter 1:3,4) The answer is, Christians cannot legitimately insist that they “can’t help but mess up sometimes.” Indeed, Christians have no excuse to not aim for the perfection Christ requires of them (Matt. 5:48), and if they are lazy about it, this is called “deliberate sin” –sin which is not covered by Christ’s sacrifice. (Heb. 10:26)

Rom. 6:1,2 says that because we died to sin, we by no means should go on sinning. We are to “regard ourselves dead to sin” (see v. 11) with obedience to it being a thing of the past. (v. 17) Verse 6 reveals that this is due to having died to our old self, and verse 7 says that this death set us free from sin. Gal. 5:24 tells us that the sinful nature, along with its passions and desires, has been crucified. 1 Peter 4:1,2 teach us that we are not only done with sin and evil human desires, but we are living the rest of our earthly lives entirely for the will of God.

Besides the false doctrine which promotes the “sin all you want, for we’re under grace” attitude, there is, on the flip side of that same bad coin, the teaching that we are still under the rule of Law. This too is false doctrine –as numerous verses reveal, one being Rom. 10:4 which says, “For Christ is the termination of the law, so that all who believe may attain righteousness.” This confirms what Jesus said of Himself in Matt. 5:17 –that He came not to abolish the Law but to fulfill it. Therefore this “new way of the Spirit” (Rom. 7:6) is applied to everyone who, by believing that Christ rather than Law is their salvation and righteousness, step into Christ. By doing this, they are “submitting to God’s righteousness” (see 10:3) and can thereby fully meet the requirements of God’s moral law. (8:3,4)

So, just as a surgeon strives for 100 % perfection in his field of expertise, so must a Christian strive for 100 % perfection in obedience to Christ. Otherwise that confession which saves –that confession of “Jesus is Lord [Sovereign Boss]” (Rom. 10:9) was, or at least is now, insincere.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

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