In days of old God gave man the law of Moses. He gave this law to the children of Israel to guide them as to what was right and to keep sin in check. The Israelites followed the law for a while but they strayed from the right path which led to the opportunity for the rest of the world to come to God through Jesus Christ.
But for all the good, the justice and righteousness that the law defined, there was one major flaw. Man could not keep it.
There was nothing wrong with the law but man was unable to keep the law. And because man could not keep the law but continually failed, the law was never going to bring a man to perfection. The law was never going to make a person righteous before God because it could not transform anyone from the nature of sin to the nature of God.
But now there is a way.
You Must Be Perfect.
Jesus taught in His message that if we are to stand with God, we had to become perfect. He said this:
You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:48)
All of mankind is born imperfect for we are all born under the power of sin, and we learn from 1 Corinthians 15:56,
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
So while we remain under the law, which is the power of sin for law gives sin its power, we can never be perfected for in the law is the constant reminder of sin.
So we have this conundrum. Jesus tells us that we MUST be perfect as the Father is perfect, but we begin life imperfect and enslaved under sin and the law which keeps us imperfect.
What is the solution?
Jesus Christ is the solution.
When God sent Jesus to be our Saviour and salvation, He showed us great grace. He provided the way of escape from sin and from the law, which He did not have to do, so that we could be perfected as we must be if we are to stand with Him.
No one who sins knows God for God does not and cannot sin. No one who sins can stand with God for sin is the opposite of all that God stands for.
But while we live in this world we live under difficulties we cannot overcome without God's help. And that is the purpose of His grace.
He is prepared to overlook our failures and our faults until we reach perfection in His sight. While the work of perfecting us is taking place, God will not hold our sins against us, nor our mistakes and failings as we continue to walk by faith in His grace.
So we have a safety net that sits beneath us when we fall. Grace is the safety net for it covers all of our mistakes.
But grace is an enabler. It allows for our weaknesses and failings, but it does not make us perfect. It merely accounts for our imperfections. So how are we to become perfect as we must do?
In this section of Romans 12 we are given the answer to this dilemma. We are to be transformed so that we no longer act and behave as the rest of the world does, but rather we live in accordance with the will of God. Note the words of this section of scripture.
1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2)
Note that it is the “renewal of your mind” by which you are to be transformed so that you cease to be conformed in the image of the world and instead are changed into the image of God. And by so doing as and when we are transformed we will understand and prove in our lives what is the will of God, what is goo and acceptable and…perfect.
The path of transformation that is enabled by the grace of God, is activated by faith in Jesus Christ and is carried out through the working of the Holy Spirit is what brings us to perfection.
We cannot perfect ourselves for we are all born under sin and imperfect and in truth no man knows what the fullness of perfection really looks like. But God knows. And by the power of the Holy Spirit He will change every person who comes to Him, receives His son Jesus Christ and takes the Holy Spirit to learn, grow and mature.
The work of transformation is not a work we can do to ourselves. God changes us to be like Him. It is the work of the Holy Spirit who does the actual transformation in us for He brings things to our mind and shows us right from wrong. He makes the subtle and slow changes in us over years to take us out of conformity to this world and into conformity with Jesus Christ who is the image of th perfection of God. As the scripture shows us,
17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:17-18)
We are being transformed by the Holy Spirit from one degree of glory to another to come into the image of perfection in Jesus Christ.
And how is this change occurring? If we look back at the scripture from Romans 12:1-2 we see what this transformation is and what is being changed.
“…be transformed by the renewal of your mind…”
The battle that is going on in the spiritual realm is going on in the minds and hearts of men. It is not a physical battle but a spiritual battle over the thoughts and beliefs of mankind.
The law, good as it was, did not change a person's heart and mind. All it did was tell people what was right and wrong.
But grace and the working of the Holy Spirit transforms the mind and changes the heart of a person so their desires are no longer for sin, but for righteousness. God will change our minds as we continue to walk with Jesus Christ so that we choose to do what is right. Not because there is a law or the fearful prospect of judgment, but because it is the right thing to do and by so doing we please God.
This is the transformation into perfection. This is the working of the new covenant in our lives. This is what all Christians have been called to and it is a much higher call than the voice of the law for we are now darling with the voice of God speaking directly to ur hearts.
The Father said of Jesus to the disciples at the transfiguration, “Listen to Him!” Moses who gave the law and Elijah who was one of the greatest of the prophets were there at the time also, but God the Father said to listen to Jesus. It is the teachings of Jesus that will bring us into life and bring us into perfection. So I would repeat again the words of God, “Listen to Him” for He will bring about the transformation and lead us all to perfection.
(Photo sourced from freeimages.com taken by Leah M)
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