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Featured Christian Perfectionism - Jesus said "Be perfect like My Father" - Can we be?

Discussion in 'Controversial Christian Theology' started by 1stcenturylady, Feb 9, 2019.

  1. No, only Jesus was perfect. Jesus didn't mean what He said when he asked us to be.

    5 vote(s)
    45.5%
  2. Yes, it is possible, through the baptism of the Holy Spirit that makes us not want to sin.

    1 vote(s)
    9.1%
  3. We receive imputed righteousness, like an invisibility cloak over the sins that will always remain.

    5 vote(s)
    45.5%
  1. Neogaia777

    Neogaia777 Apprentice Supporter

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    Paul said he did, (1 Corinthians 15:31) And beyond that, all day long or all the time (Romans 8:36)... And Romans 8:36 is a reference to the OT...

    God Bless!
     
  2. Maria Billingsley

    Maria Billingsley Well-Known Member Supporter

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    This does not indicate perfection, it indicates faithfulness till the end.
    Blessings
     
  3. Oldmantook

    Oldmantook Well-Known Member

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    τέλειος or teleios is the Greek word translated as "perfect." A better translation of the word is "mature." We are to become mature Christians; not perfect as in sinless Christians.
     
  4. Ing Bee

    Ing Bee Son of Encouragement Supporter

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    Hi 1stcenturylady-

    I don't think I'm a naysayer, but I would like to point out a few things from your OP that may hinder helpful answers:
    1. You start off with two fallacies: "begging the question" and and "ad hominem"; you call someone a false teacher who disagrees with your belief which means you assume already that your interpretation is correct. Wouldn't it be better to first seek to establish on scriptural grounds whether "perfectionism" is taught?

    2. It might be helpful to clearly articulate what you mean by perfectionism. In other words, sanctification is held by all Christians, the transforming of our character into the life of Christ. Is that what you mean? Or do you mean, instantaneous perfection? In your understanding, is perfection a secondary goal or the same as salvation?

    3. John Piper helpfully stated once that biblical interpretation benefits from finding passages that oppose or seem to contradict the passages that support your point. Do you have any like that?

    4. The word translated "perfect" often indicates maturity or completeness rather than moral perfection. Using multiple translations is helpful for spotting this (Biblehub is what I like to use). In many of the passages you sight above, this is the understanding (just hovering over the scripture chapter and verse will show you the NRSV I believe). For example the Eph. 4:11-16 passage renders "perfect man" "full grown man". This is also the sense when Jesus says to be mature in how we forgive, just like our father who forgives his enemies. "Be mature/complete [in forgiveness] just as your Father in Heaven". Notice too, in that passage in Matthew, Jesus is targeting a specific area: forgiveness. By the way, notice how often in your verses above that the word "complete" is paired with "perfect", the author uses the two words together to give a picture of wholeness a maturity. Looking at the greek on Biblehub or similar online tool is helpful.

    5. Just looking at your list of passages, it is helpful to observe who is doing the perfecting and the ongoing tense of the verb. See for example Hebrews 10:14 where because of Jesus we HAVE BEEN perfected.

    6. Also, by not understanding greek usages in context (e.g. maturity, wholeness, completion) or by forcing all usages to mean the same thing, you run into some issues: Was Jesus morally defective? Why then does he have to be made perfect according the author of Hebrews (2:10)? In the context, he has to suffer to be "complete" so as to be a sympathetic high priest.

      Or another example: In Hebrews 6:1 we are called to move on to "perfection", that's better translated "maturity" as a majority of translations present it because in context, the author has just called his readers "big babies" who haven't moved on from the "milk" to "meat".
    So, I guess my suggestion for growing in perfection is to first do some word studies with the greek text and multiple translations to get a better idea of what to actually shoot for.

    Incidentally, the King James is one of the few translations that does use the word "perfect" where others use "mature" or "complete" and that makes sense because, though archaic now, that was how "perfect" was used when the KJV was translated. In grammar, the "perfect tense" denotes an action that has been completed.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
  5. Gideons300

    Gideons300 Our awakening is beginning. Prepare to be amazed.

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    And if a man or woman is not striving? We are exhorted to run our race as if there is but one prize. Are we? And if not, why not?

    Jesus said that if our eye offend us, pluck it out. It seems that fervent response is asked for, amen? Far too many are mired in Romans 7 and yet with a heart not even closely similar to the one Paul possessed. He hated his sins, and everything in Him cried out for deliverance. Do we?

    Whether or not perfection is obtainable in this life is debateable to some. But what cannot be debated is that we are to hunger for it, thirst for it, cry out for God to cleanse us of all unrighteousness.

    But until we hate the complacency and acceptance of sin in our lives, we are walking in the wilderness of unbelief and cannot enjoy the blessedness of actually abiding in Him where we find, to our amazement, that we do not fulfill the lusts of our flesh.

    One thing I would like to add. It is critical that our goal is not perfection , but the perfect one, Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. To judge whether we are walking in perfection, we must get our eyes on us. But how blessed is it when we simply behold Him, and the changes He brings about in us are without a doubt perfect ones. :)

    Blessings,

    Gids
     
  6. timothyu

    timothyu Well-Known Member

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    As I say, if we are not hated for hating the ways of man, then we have not yet become of the Kingdom. The earliest followers were known as haters of man and man hated them in return, just as Jesus said they would. The same is evident between the two tribes in forums of Christian nature.
     
  7. Gideons300

    Gideons300 Our awakening is beginning. Prepare to be amazed.

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    Where in the Word do you get this thinking? Did Jesus not tell us to love our enemies, to forgive those who despitefully use us? In truth, we are called to hate our own lives, and therein lies the problem, doesn’t it?

    And because we are not taught WHY we are are to hate about ourselves, and how to rid ourselves of it, we remain a bride thoroughly confused, thoroughly lukewarm and thoroughly bound to the world we are not citizens of.

    The world does not hate us.... yet. They ridicule us as hypocrites, and why not? We are. And when will they hate us? When and only when the very purity of our lives testify to them that their deeds are evil.

    Telling them that their sins of choice are evil and will be judged while our sins of choice, the socially acceptable ones, are somehow forgiven and winked at by God when we have no deep burning desire to be freed from them makes our Christianity a mockery and drags the name of our savior through the mud.

    When that fact finally brings us to our knees and we cry out, hating our religious old nature, longing for new ones that can truly display the character of God to a desperate and unbelieving world, to our amazement we will discover what drove the church in the book of Acts..... agape love.

    Blessings,

    Gideon
     
  8. Blade

    Blade Veteran Supporter

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    I know how you are asking it.. I know how HE meant it. To many times we look through mans eyes to then try to understand what a GOD was saying that is not of this world. Some have walked so close to God and never tasted death.. never died. got taken up.. perfect? Hmm
     
  9. timothyu

    timothyu Well-Known Member

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    Here I thought Jesus made it quite clear (and all through the Bible) that the self serving, self justifying ways of man that seek gain at the expense of others and justify doing so by redefining good and evil to suit our purposes was what we were taught to hate about ourselves.
    He even gave us a way to rid of it by changing our ways to loving neighbour as self, polar opposite behaviour.
    You are right.. it is a pity people don't leave church every Sunday with that info in their heads. That's what happens when the Gospel of the Kingdom is ignored along with Jesus' teachings that we all have it backwards

    Luke 16:15 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.

    James 1:27 Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

    Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

    James 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
     
  10. JAYPT

    JAYPT Active Member

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    Yes you are correct, Paul did say it and he was dying daily. He was being persecuted, stoned, jailed etc. I wouldnt even consider my walk to be anything that of Paul's.
     
  11. timothyu

    timothyu Well-Known Member

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    Not dying to the traditional ways of mankind?
     
  12. JAYPT

    JAYPT Active Member

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    How do you mean traditional ways of mankind? Im not sure what you mean by that. Could you clarify?
     
  13. timothyu

    timothyu Well-Known Member

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    The self serving, self justifying ways of man that seek gain at the expense of others and justify doing so by redefining good and evil to suit our purposes we were taught to hate about ourselves.
     
  14. JAYPT

    JAYPT Active Member

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    Does that sound like a Christian? (with respect) I mean here we are got the 9 course meal (the gospel message) and we want to go eat from the dumpster? Doesnt make much sense to me to go back.
     
  15. aiki

    aiki Regular Member

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    The great news is that Jesus is our righteousness. And, unlike us, he is perfect!

    Romans 3:20-26
    20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
    21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,
    22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference;
    23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
    24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
    25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed,
    26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.


    Romans 5:17
    17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)


    1 Corinthians 1:30-31
    30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God--and righteousness and sanctification and redemption--
    31 that, as it is written, "He who glories, let him glory in the Lord."


    Philippians 1:11
    11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.


    Because the perfect righteousness of Christ is imputed to the believer, they are accepted by God (Ephesians 1:6); for only perfect righteousness will do. God will accept nothing less. It is the deluded Christian who thinks that in their daily living they can ever match the perfection of Christ's righteousness which has never at any point ever turned toward sin. No human can say the same. Every saved person has a history of sin that keeps them from ever being able to offer God truly perfect righteousness - not like the sinless Saviour possesses and as God requires. And this is why the news of the righteousness of Christ being imputed to us by faith is such great news! It lifts from us the impossibility of the burden of meeting God's perfect standard by our own inevitably corrupt effort. We are made perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect, not by dint of how we live, but by our being in Christ, clothed in his perfect, unchanging righteousness! What wonderful news for those believers who are laboring under the false notion that their acceptance with God has to do with their performance rather than with what Christ has done for them as their Saviour!

    Does this mean a Christian can live in sin? Of course not. But it does mean the fear, and legalism, and inevitable hypocrisy that the sinless perfection doctrine engenders can be avoided and in their place a joyful, Christ-centered confidence in one's adoption into God's family can be instituted.

    Romans 5:20
    20...But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more,


    Philippians 3:12-15
    12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.
    13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,
    14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
    15 Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind...


    1 John 1:9
    9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

    The keys to a progressively more holy life lay primarily in two things:

    Full surrender to God. (Romans 6:13; Romans 12:1; James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:6)

    Appropriating by faith one's crucified position in Christ. (Romans 6:1-18)
     
  16. timothyu

    timothyu Well-Known Member

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    Exactly.. why go back. live instead in the ways of the Kingdom under His Kingdom even though everyone from next door neighbour to nations may not.
     
  17. JAYPT

    JAYPT Active Member

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    We are righteous, not partially, completely. In Philippians Paul was referencing his body reaching complete perfection and not being tempted by sin. Please note and quote what 1 John 1:10 says when quoting 1:9. He is talking about sin deniers, not about getting your sins forgiven. We have already been forgiven, once for all. It was perfect and worked the first time.
     
  18. JAYPT

    JAYPT Active Member

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    Also have a look at all the letters to the churches, Paul refers to them all as saints, not sinners. We are not dirty worms. We are the righteousness of Christ and heirs to the throne.
     
  19. aiki

    aiki Regular Member

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    Positionally, in Christ, yes. Conditionally, in our daily living, no.

    I know very well what Paul was referring to in Philippians 3:12-14.

    ??? Please pay closer to attention to what 1 John 1:9 says.

    And the application of that forgiveness to our sin, obtained for us by Christ at Calvary, is activated by our confession of our sin. Sort of like possessing a lawn mower and using it to cut the lawn every time it gets overgrown. The lawnmower's power to cut grass is always available to its owner, but is only actually put into effect when the owner uses the mower to do so. The same is true of the forgiveness we possess in Christ. It is ours by faith in Christ as Saviour but is only "put into effect" as we confess our sins. This is why 1 John 1:9 doesn't tell us to ask for forgiveness but only to confess our sins. We already have forgiveness in Christ, but it is applied to our sin only as we agree with God that our sin is truly sin.

    I have looked at Paul's letters. Have you? He refers to the Corinthian believers as carnal and criticizes them for sexual sin, petty jealousies, litigiousness, abusing the Lord's Table and so on. They were, positionally, in Christ, saints but they were also guilty of much willful and gross sin. The Galatian church had problems, too, as did the Roman community of believers. In Christ, all genuine born-again believers are saints, but they don't all live like it.

    I don't recall ever referring to Christians as "dirty worms"...
     
  20. JAYPT

    JAYPT Active Member

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    So when Christ was on the cross bleeding out, did they come up to him and ask him if this was positional?
     
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