As I was thinking about my own physical talents and abilities to serve God’s people - His Church- I always see the inabilities and ineptness in fulfilling the assignments I’m given, especially as I grow older and weaker in mind and in body. But, as I pray and prepare for the assignment, I’m very much aware that tomorrow’s Holy Day (Pentecost) observance stresses the giving of the Holy Spirit; the Spirit of POWER THAT JESUS CHRIST PROMISED TO His apostles and His Church on that first New Testament Pentecost.
Luke 24:49"And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with Power from on high." And, Acts 1:4"And assembled together with them, commanded that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith He, ye have heard of Me."
Certainly, they, like all of us, would need that Power of the Holy Spirit, which comes from God! John 21:17"He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me? Peter was grieved because He said unto him, Feed My sheep. 18 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkest whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shalt gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not."
And yet, how does this "square" with what Christ taught in Matthew 5:48 "Be (come) ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."
Psalms 18:30"As for God, His way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: He is a buckler ("refuge", from "Strong’s Concordance) to all those that trust in Him."
Psalms 19:7"The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: Yes! And in the New Testament we read (Acts 5:32) "And we are witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost (Spirit), whom God hath given to them THAT OBEY HIM."
Again, we see there are requirements to receiving the Holy Spirit, obedience to God’s Law, which in turn, brings about a CONVERSION AND A DESIRE TO BECOME PERFECT!
I want to make this point, very plain! OF AND BY OURSELVES, WE DO NOT HAVE THE ABILITY OR DESIRE TO BECOME PERFECT!
Romans 3:9"What then? Are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin (and under the death penalty of sin.); 10 as it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable: there is none that doeth good, no, not one."
Ver. 20"Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God WHICH IS BY FAITH OF JESUS CHRIST UNTO ALL AND UPON ALL THEM THAT BELIEVE: for there is no difference: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation (a "cover" for our sins) through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the REMISION OF SINS THAT ARE PAST, through the forbearance of God;"
You could keep the entire law- the Commandments, the statutes, the judgments, all of it- as perfectly as any human being is capable of - and that would NOT SAVE YOU!
King David of Israel explains that "righteousness" is the keeping of God’s law in Psa. 119 and finalizes it in verse 172."My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness."
Of course there are numerous examples of "self righteousness" revealed in the Bible, but are labeled as sin! In Job 32:1"So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes." He admitted this in: Job 27:6"My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go: my heart shall reproach me so long as I live."
This kind of righteousness is well described in Isa, 64:6"But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away."
So after being "drawn" by the Father (John 6:44) as we MUST BE and called to be a part of the True Church of God, (I Cor. 1:26) then true Christians BEGIN to have a new prospective,a new outlook on life, as the Holy Spirit begins to guide their thoughts and attitudes.
You’ll see, as we study further into God’s Word, that this is a LIFETIME PROGRESSION, IN CONQUERING VARIOUS DEFICIENCIES WE MAY HAVE IN OUR HUMANCHARACTER, which involves FLAWS, HABITS, WEAKNESSES AND OTHER PROBLEMS OF THE FLESH! Remember, we are to develop the very MIND OF CHRIST!
This takes TIME! Notice Phil. 2:5"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus."
Paul knew this" PEFECT MIND OF CHRIST" would not occur overnight, but we must be overcomers! Rom. 8:1"There is therefore no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh. God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, WHO WALK NOT AFTER THE FLESH, but after the SPIRIT. 5 For they that are after the flesh, do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit."
Remember, we are to develop the very MIND OF CHRIST! This takes TIME! Phil. 2:5"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus."
Paul knew this "PERFECT MIND OF CHRIST" would NOT occur overnight! Phil. 3:3"For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh."(Then Paul explains his personal background as being well qualified in the physical aspect of being an Israelite, in verses 4-6. But he goes on to explain that he had only a superficial understanding, (despite his former training), of what real Christianity demanded: Ver. 7 "But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ 8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ 9 And be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10 That I may know Him, and the POWER of His resurrection, (performed by the Holy Spirit as we will see later.) and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death; 11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. 12 NOT AS THOUGH I HAD ALREADY ATTAINED, EITHER WERE ALREADY PERFECT: BUT I FOLLOW AFTER, IF THAT I MAY APPREHEND THAT FOR WHICH ALSO I AM APPREHENDED OF CHRIST JESUS. 13 BRETHREN, I COUNT NOT MYSELF TO HAVE APPREHENDED: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and REACHING FORTH UNTO THOSE THINGS WHICH ARE BEFORE, 14 I PRESS TOWARD THE MARK FOR THE PRIZE OF THE HIGH CALLING OF GOD IN CHRIST JESUS. 15 Let us therefore, as many as be (are becoming) PERFECT, be thus minded: and if in any thingye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you."
Yes, Paul was STRIVING for that PERFECTION, but he knew that he wouldn’t achieve it, IN THIS FLESH.
OTHER SCRIPTURES INDICATE THAT WE WILL ONLY REACH THE LEVEL OF PERFECTION, THAT CHRIST SPOKE OF, WHEN WE ARE IMMORTAL, SPIRIT BEINGS IN THE VERY FAMILY OF GOD! John 3:4"Nicodemus saith unto Him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water AND OF THE SPIRIT, he cannot enter the kingdom of God 6 That which is born of the flesh IS FLESH; and that is BORN OF THE SPIRIT IS SPIRIT."
WHEN DOES THIS OCCUR? I Cor. 15:50"Now this I say, brethren, that FLESH AND BLOOD CANNOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD. 51 Behold I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, AT THE LAST TRUMP: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed."
I Thes.4:16"For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, AND WITH THE TRUMP OF GOD: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."
I’ll give you a few final Scriptures that reveal OUR PERFECTED APPEARANCE:
I COR. 13:10"But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. 12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: Now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." Our MIND will have been perfected!
Heb. 11:39"And these all having obtained a good report through faith received not the promise: 40 God having provided some better thing for us, that THEY WITHOUT US SHOULD NOT BE MADE PERFECT."
Rom. 8:29"For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the FIRSTBORN AMONG MANY BRETHREN."
I John 3:2"Beloved, now are we the sons of God (In a begotten state), and it doth not YET appear WHAT WE SHALL BE: but we know that, when He shall appear, WE SHALL BE LIKE HIM; FOR WE SHALL SEE AS HE IS. 3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He is pure.
MY FRIENDS, WE TOO, CAN BE IN THAT SAME STATE of ABSOLUTE PERFECTION! HOWEVER, IT CANNOT BE ACHIEVED WITHOUT GOD’S HOLY SPIRIT!