• With the events that occured on July 13th, 2024, a reminder that posts wishing that the attempt was successful will not be tolerated. Regardless of political affiliation, at no point is any type of post wishing death on someone is allowed and will be actioned appropriately by CF Staff.

Not Already Made Perfect

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.” (Philippians 3:12-16 ESV)

This word translated here as “perfect” literally means “to bring to an end, to complete, to consummate, reaching the end-stage, i.e. working through the entire process (stages) to reach the final phase (conclusion)” (biblehub.com interlinear). And that is not going to happen until Jesus Christ returns and he takes his faithful followers to be with him for eternity, which is when our salvation will be complete (brought to an end, consummated). For right now we are in the process of “being saved.” And one day that will be complete.

For when we believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, we enter into a marriage covenant with Christ. Now he is our husband and we are his bride, but this is more in line with the Jewish marriage covenant of Bible times (which may or may not have continued) where the couple sign a covenant of marriage which is more like an engagement. For then the groom goes and he prepares a place for his bride, and when he has done so, he comes for his bride, and he takes her to be with him, and then only is the marriage relationship consummated.

Well, Jesus Christ, who is the husband of the church, his bride (his faithful followers), has gone to prepare a place for us, and one day he will come again, but this time to take his faithful bride to be with him for eternity, that where he is so we may be also (John 14:1-3). And that is when our salvation will be complete, and not until then. So right now we are in that engagement period, and we are in the process of being perfected in Christ Jesus if we are his faithful followers who are submitting to his Lordship, and if we are following him in obedience to his commands.

[Matthew 9:14-17; Mark 2:18-22; Matthew 25:1-13; John 3:25-30; John 14:1-3; Ephesians 5:22-33; 2 Corinthians 11:1-4; Revelation 19:6-8; Revelation 21:2-4,9-11; Revelation 22:16-17; Romans 8:24; Romans 13:11; 1 Corinthians 1:18; 1 Corinthians 15:1-2; 2 Timothy 1:8-9; Hebrews 9:28; 1 Peter 1:5,9]

All throughout the New Testament our salvation from sin is taught as a process that has a beginning, that is ongoing, and that will come to completion when Jesus returns and he takes his faithful bride to be with him for eternity. And so we who are following Jesus with our lives are in the process of being perfected in Christ Jesus, but we have not yet reached that end where we will be completely sinless and without failure or fault. And that is what Paul was referring to when he said he was not yet perfect.

But that did not mean that Paul regularly engaged in sinful behaviors. He did not, which is obvious both by what he taught and by the example that he lived to the point to where he could encourage other people to follow after his example. So, “not yet perfect” is not to be translated as still living in deliberate and habitual sin against the Lord. For if sin is what we practice, we will die in our sins. We will not inherit eternal life with God unless we turn from our sins and we follow Jesus in obedience, in practice.

Again, what Paul was talking about, and what he taught, was that our salvation is a process of sanctification which will not be complete until Jesus returns. For he taught that we must walk by faith and according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh to have eternal life with God. And we must walk in obedience to our Lord and not in habitual sin or we don’t have the promise nor the hope of salvation from sin nor the hope of eternal life with God, which is only promised to those who obey the Lord, in practice.

Now this is not saying that we will never sin again (see 1 John 2:1-2) but that if sin is what we practice, by habit, deliberately, that we do not know God, we are not born of God, we are not in fellowship with God/Christ, and we do not have eternal life with God, regardless of whatever faith we profess with our lips. So we must press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus, which is that we are to deny self, die daily to sin, and walk in obedience to our Lord, for us to have salvation from sin.

So, let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you if you are willing to receive from him what he wants to show you and to teach you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained. And let us continue in Christ in faithful obedience to our Lord in holy living, and let us deny self and die daily to sin and serve the Lord in the areas of ministry where he has for us to serve him, and to keep pressing toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. For we are called to obedience, not to continue in sin.

[Matt 7:21-23; Lu 9:23-26; John 1:12-13; John 6:44; John 10:27-30; Acts 26:18; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; Rom 12:1-2; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 1 Co 10:1-22; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Gal 5:16-24; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:1-17; Titus 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-10; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; 1 Peter 1:15; 1 Pet 2:24; Heb 3:1-19; Heb 4:1-13; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer

Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897


Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.

Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.

O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.

O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.

Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.


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