Perfection for a Christian
Hebrews 13: 20-21. “Now the God of Peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant.
Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”
Only God is Divine, and Sinless.
But He calls us to be “perfect”, which in the Bible means that we are to attain to that which you were brought into being for.
We are to fulfill the Purpose of God for our lives; we are to be complete.
How can this be done?
The True Vine, and the Husbandman
John 15:1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.”
Here is a beautiful picture of the care of our Heavenly Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, for us.
He is the fruitful vine nurturing the branches; while His Father prunes and cares for these branches, that they might bring forth fruit…and more fruit….and much fruit.
John 15:2 “Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.”
How does the branch bear fruit?
First, we are part of the vine….He has made us so. Therefore the same life-giving sap which is in the Vine, runs through the branches.
Second, the branch rests in the place the Husbandman has put it.
More sun, less sun; higher on the fence, or lower; it does not matter.
It rests in the place it is put, and yields.
Our Heavenly Father may come along and purge us. This simply means “to cleanse”.
It is the pruning of excess from us….so that all the flow from the Vine will go into fruit bearing, not merely leaves, which are of no value in the harvest to come.
And how does He “clean” us?
John 15:3 “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.”
Jesus had said a lot to His disciples…some they “heard” with hearing ears. Others would be brought back to them by the Holy Spirit.
But now He is telling them of the importance of His Words.
John 15:7 “If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”
Are you born again….then you abide in Jesus.
Is obedience to His Will the motive of our life….then His words abide in us.
(His Words “dwell in you richly” Colossians 3:16)
Then….and this is an amazing promise….we can ask what we will, and it will be done…….unto us.
This is not unto others….but unto us.
This is the Lord’s personal promise to each of us.
Isn’t this wonderful?
His Word is there for us…..to encourage, strengthen, and correct us.
When we read it, the Holy Spirit teaches us, and as with His disciples, He will bring it back to mind when we need it.
Again, it is a matter of yielding to this life giving flow, which comes from Christ, through His Word, and is applied by the Holy Spirit.
John 15:4 “Abide in me, and I in you, as the branch can not bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.”
We abide in Him, when we do not resist His Will in anything in our lives.
This is not sinless perfection, but rather our wills, willing after His Will; and bringing ourselves in subjection (with His help) to all His Will.
You may say: “I want His will, but not that way”
Let me explain about resisting His Will:
Putting it off because you don’t want to do it.
Arguing that you have a better plan.
Complaining because of the people you are forced to work with or around.
Silently giving place to the resentment of: Why me, and not them?
If you do any of these, you are resisting the Lord’s Will for you.
These are natural reactions. But we are not to be “natural” or under the charge of our “old man” any more.
We are to place our wills, and hearts, and minds squarely at the Lord’s disposal; and deny ourselves, and yield to the power of the Holy Spirit within us.
That power is there, but we must yield to it.
Sometimes that seems harder than others, depending on how much we “want” something else; but the way of fruit bearing is the way of yielding.
Yielding, and counting on the Holy Spirit to help us.
This is abiding.
This, Jesus Christ calls His branches to do: to yield and bear fruit.
John 15:5 “I am the true vine; ye are the branches. He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without me ye can do nothing.”
He is giving us His life, by the Holy Spirit in power:
What will we do?
John 15:6 “If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.”
Notice it is our abiding, which tells our end, because that is where the power for real life is.
We abide, and yield, and live; or we do not abide, and are gathered to be burned.
(1 Corinthians 3:15 “If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. This is speaking of the Judgement seat of Christ, when all Christians shall be judged.)
We can never fulfill the Purpose of God for which we are called, without abiding in Him…..and He has willed, that we should will with Him in this.
Jesus does not want robots, which are programmed to do…..but willing servants of God, which follow Him because they love Him.
With His life flowing through us, we bring forth fruit: in us by growing in grace; and through us as His servants.
John 15:7 “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”
Here is the fruit: Abiding brings yielding to His Word;
Which brings the prayers we should pray for;
Which brings the answers being done “unto you”.
How much the Lord Jesus would do unto us to help us, if we would simply abide in Him.
Again, what will we do?
“..through the blood of the everlasting covenant.”
Or “…through Jesus Christ;..”
You see, God made a covenant with His Son Jesus Christ, before He created the earth.
It basically was a promise on both sides, which said:
God, the Son would become the Man Christ Jesus and come to earth, live a perfect and sinless life, and then die on the cross; taking all our sins on Him.
So that whosoever would come to Him to be saved from their sin, could be saved.
God, the Father would raise up Jesus from the dead, in the tomb. He would reward His Son with a people that would love Him. God the Father would draw them to Christ, conform them to His beloved Son; and take them home to heaven when they died.
(Salvation in the Bible is: justification and sanctification and glorification.
Justification is a legal term, and means that Jesus made peace with God, by taking our punishment on Himself….and we are made not guilty before God, and more, we are made positively righteous in Him. [Romans 5:1]
Sanctification is the setting aside ourselves to God in a practical sense. We receive from Him, by the Holy Spirit, power to be free from besetting sins, habits, and the corruptions of the world….spiritual liberty and grace (ability) to be all He has for us. [2 Corinthians 3:17-18]
Glorification is the Lord taking us home and changing our corruptible bodies into incorruptible, for the life we will have with Him in Heaven. [1 Corinthians 15:52-54])
When we are saved, Jesus becomes our Shepherd. And by His guidance and strength; we are lead through this life.
He makes us “perfect” by leading us in and out of many situations where we are to help, pray, speak about Him, or lend a hand.
These situations mold us and shape us into His likeness….we are complete in Him.
As we follow Him, and are obedient to what He wants us to do……becoming and receiving through these situations all He has for us; then we have attained to the Purpose for which He created us.
This is Bible perfection for a Christian. To see all the “good works” done….in you and through you.
I have “good works” in quotes, because there are so many ideas about the words.
When the Bible speaks of good works, it means anything the Lord wants you to do. Whether that is a lot or a little, what ever His will is, those are the good works He has for you.
Ephesians 2:10 “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained (made full provision for) that we should walk in them.”
(It is ever a “walk” with the Lord, in scripture)
And Jesus never leaves us. He has sent His Holy Spirit within each Christian to encourage them, strengthen them, and guide them into the life He has for each of them.
Let us follow on to perfection: to do God’s Purpose for our lives, everyday with Him.