I admit, the end of the essay may have confused some people. This is due partly to the very nature of the essay; it was a discussion, a debate which I had in my mind, and wrote out on paper as it progressed. As a result, rather than following traditional essay format, in which the most important points get the most time, it was reversed, where the points I was least sure about got the most time, something natural in an internal argument. (Well, that and the points that took the longest to explain.)
The end of the essay was a bit on the confusing side also because I wasn't totally sure of the complete answer myself. Either that, or I was barely beginning to grasp the ideas which were new to me, and could hardly begin to explain them to someone else. However, even if I am today still trying to fully grasp the ideas of Christian perfection, this doesn't mean the essay was a total waste, because I came to some important conclusions which I share here.
First, sin is beatable. Christ's sacrifice on the cross bought for us freedom from sin. Through his death, we now have the ability to avoid sin, but only through Him is that possible. This can only come by giving one's life to Christ daily, surrendering to His will: and this is a personal choice. We know the Jesus stands for all that is good, and stands against all that is sinful; therefore, when we surrender our lives to Him each day, we are in effect choosing not to sin.
An important piece of the puzzle when trying to beat sin is desire. We would not sin if it was as much fun as weeding the yard. If we do sin, we are showing to ourselves that we enjoy it, and want to do it. However, desires and wants are but temporal, changeable things. When looking back at life, anyone can find something that they once loved as a young child that they no longer find any joy in. Your tastes are your personal choice, whether conscious or subconscious. In effect, you can choose whether you love sin or whether you love God. Satan has been working our entire lives to get us to love sin, and so most of us have that desire within us "naturally", as some would put it. Some theologians state that we are born into sin, and love sin naturally by birth, which may be true. However we come to enjoy sin, just like any taste, it is not permanent. If we want to overcome sin, we must attack the root of the problem, our desire for sin; we must consciously choose not to like sin. We must also pray for our desire for sin to diminish, since any good thing comes from God, and not within ourselves. Whether you do this or not is your own personal choice, just as the person you are is your own personal choice.
If you do choose to dislike sin, you need to find something godly that you choose to like in replacement. If you fail to make this step, you will often find yourself bored with nothing to do, at which point you will begin to reflect on your old ways, remember what "joy" you had (joy is had when you are doing what you want, when you fulfill your desires; though an emptiness will result anywhere away from God) and desire for sin will creep back. I believe someone once said "An idle man devises evil", which illustrates this point completely.
The second conclusion is as follows: knowing the truth about Christian perfection is secondary to having faith in God. Philippians 1:6 has served as a comfort to many Christians over the centuries: "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." In short, have complete faith that Jesus' sacrifice on the cross is enough to save you, have faith that Jesus' sacrifice has bought you freedom from sin and its penalty, continue to grow in Christ daily, and you need not worry about being lost. If you develop a strong relationship with God, and put your trust in Him daily, you can be sure that if you are wrong on a spiritual point of truth, God will give you that truth in His time, whether it is as important as the second coming or simply details about how God made the sun stand still for Joshua. "His time" may mean through a friend or a contact, or in heaven after Jesus comes. The important thing is to know that God will ensure your salvation as long as you continue to trust Him, follow Him, and learn more of Him daily.
This is not to say that I don't have ideas on Christian perfection, as the essay surely pointed out. It just means that I don't have to worry how totally correct I am, as long as I am trying to be correct, and trusting that God will bring me closer to the truth as my life progresses. I like the way Richard O'Ffill puts it in his book, Expect Great Things:
"Some have stated the Jesus will come when His people perfectly reflect His character. We emphasize the word 'perfectly' and sometimes overlook the significance of the word 'reflect.' We must never forget that we will always be only reflectors. He is the sun; we are the moon. The moon gives a perfect reflection of the sun because it reflects the sun and the sun only. Yet it is not a total reflection of the sun. The sun still has more light than the moon can reflect. Yet the moon itself reflects all of the sun it can, given its size and distance from it. Obviously, if the moon were nearer to the sun, it would reflect more of its light.
"...Perfection in the Christian life has to do with the Christian's relationship to God and His holiness, not with his relationship to sin and the devil. Sin is another issue. The goal of the Christian life is not simply to be sinless but to be holy in Christ. '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' (Rom. 12:2). Victorious Christian living, therefore, is a means to an end, and not an end in itself. Because of this, we must always see sin as an enemy, because just as the moon's relationship to the earth will affect its ability to reflect the sun, so our relationship to the earth will affect our ability to reflect the Sun of righteousness.
"I have seven grandchildren. The newest one is a year old. Just learning to walk, she cannot talk or feed herself or care for even her most basic needs, yet she is perfect. Not as perfect as she will be as she grows and develops, but as perfect as she needs to be given how old she is. She was born perfect, she is being perfected, and one day she will be perfect. Do you see? To those of us who are sons and daughters of God with our hearts perfect toward Him, He is working in us both to will and to do His good pleasure (Phil. 2:13). And best of all, we have the promise that "He which began a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1:6)." (pp. 124-126)
I wish you God's blessings as you work your way through a Christian life onward and upwards, until the day Christ comes again and brings us home.
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