God's Perfect Gift - Can we be perfect in time? A message by Andrew Pritchard What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin Romans 6:1-7. There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness Romans 8:1-10.
Are you a professing Christian who has a problem with sin? Do you believe that everyone sins daily even if they are a Christian? The wages of sin is death. Rom 6:23. Does the shed blood of Jesus negate this law of God? The answer, of course, is no! So, the wages, â€œthe deathâ€? we earn, has to be paid for one way or another. Either we receive the wages of death ourselves, or we are set free from the curse of the law of sin and death. Rom. 8:2. When you go to church, at some stage in the service, do you pray a corporate prayer of repentance? I remember, not so long ago, religiously praying a prayer based on Isaiah 53:6, "All we like sheep have gone astray, we have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts, and there is no health in us..." From one week to the next we would ask God to forgive us for the many sins we repeatedly committed daily. Many prayers, of different shapes and sizes, were offered up to God in asking His forgiveness. Most of us, it seemed, specifically attended church for this reason. For some of us it had been a whole week since we last even talked to God!
On occasions when we had not attended church for some time, perhaps spending the time in some other more enjoyable leisure activity, various Christians would remind us of Romans 10:25, "... not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together..." However, with regular church attendance, how often have we fulfilled the preceding verse which tells us to "consider one another in order to stir up love and good works..."? Now, that sounds like an incentive to go to church! Many of us go to church to receive something. Yet, when we first became Christians, we were overwhelmed with God's love, and just wanted to get together to share our faith! 1 Peter 3:15 says: "...always be ready to give an answer to every man who asks you a reason for the hope that is within you..." Now, imagine if we went to church with such readiness to share that! But, what about the sin which keeps getting in the way? Look at the whole verse of 1 Peter 3:15. "Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts..." The Christian religion is very strong on the theology of one having the Holy Spirit. I noticed in my own life that I and many others â€œreligiouslyâ€? claimed to have the Holy Spirit, but the evidence of His indwelling presence was sadly lacking! One would expect the house in which He dwelled to be acceptable for His presence. Yet, for thirty years after claiming to be a Christian, my body was still a house of sin. Sin separates us from God. So did I really expect Him to be living in there! We readily acknowledge, "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God" Rom. 3:23. Notice the word HAVE. If we say we have not sinned, we make (God) a liar, and His word is not in us. 1 John 1:10. So we HAVE all sinned! And sin separates us from God. To deal with this problem, 1 John 1:2 clearly tells us, "If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He is the propitiation, or atoning sacrifice, for our sins..." Jesus taught us to pray, "...forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us..." Does God expect us to sin every day? Can we be without sin? "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us". 1 John 1:7. So, is that it? Does every Christian agree that he IS a sinner and cannot ever be truly righteous in this life? But, look at the next verse, and, there are many more verses like it! "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness". 1 John 1:9. Does God really cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness? That's what the Word says! Can we be completely righteous? And for how long? Until we sin again?
In 1 John 3:8-9 it says, He that commits sin is of the Devil; for the Devil sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the Devil. Whosoever is born of God does not commit sin; for His seed remains in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. Now we know that the New Contract between man and God is much better than the old. When man sinned in the Old Testament, he had to bring sacrifices to the Temple for the priest to kill and prepare in a special way to offer them to God. Lev. 17:11. "Without the shedding of blood there is no remission". Hebrews 9:22. Two outstanding promises in the Old Testament, which are fully appropriated in the New, are of God's dealing with our sin: "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool". Isaiah 1:18. "He has removed our iniquities from us as far as the East is from the West". Psalm 103:12. When we repent (turn away from our sin), and ask our Heavenly Father to forgive us, Jesus, the Righteous Lamb of God that was slain, through the sacrifice of His innocent blood, cleanses us from sin. At this point, I would like us to start preparing ourselves; to anticipate, if you like, a special moment with God. We are all going to ask God to do something we may have asked Him to do many times before. But this time we are going to ask in a special way. Meanwhile, on the subject of sin, who is it who wants you to continue to sin? Who is it who wants you to believe that you cannot but sin? Who is it who even wants you to think you have sinned, like when you are tempted, even if you haven't? Jesus was tempted in all ways like we are, but He didn't sin. Heb. 4:15. You get no points for guessing who. He is aptly called "The Accuser of the Brethren". Rev. 12:10. Nearly all Christians expect to be made righteous at the moment of death by some mysterious operation of the Spirit of God. We have all learned that, eventually, when we stand before God, we will be pure because of what Jesus has done in our stead. But, did you know that God expects us to be righteous NOW! (Insert from â€œObjections to Entire Sanctification Consideredâ€?, by H.A. Baldwin). But you may say, "It is not death that sanctifies but the blood of Christ." This concession yields the whole contention. If it is the blood of Christ that cleanses, then it can cleanse just as well before as at or after death. And if it can cleanse one minute before death it can cleanse one year or fifty years before. (There is not a scrap of scripture to prove that the soul is not cleansed until the body dies). Heb 12:14 says, Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: There are over forty references from Genesis to Revelation, instructing us to be perfect. Gen. 17:1 (God is speaking to Abraham). "I am the Almighty God, walk before me, and be perfect".
2 Sam. 22:33 King David said, "God is my strength and power: And He makes my way perfect". Most of the references refer to a perfect heart. 1 Kings 8:61 "Let your heart therefore be perfect..." 1 Kings 15:3 "...and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father." 1 Kings 15:14 "...Asa's heart was perfect with the Lord all his days." There are many more references to a perfect heart: 2 Kings 20:3, 1 Chr 12:38, 1 Chr 28:9, 1 Chr 29:9,19, 2 Chr 19:9, 25:2 and so on. So we are not left in any doubt as to whether "perfect" means "perfect", the last Old Testament reference is in Ezekial 28:15, (speaking of the devil) "You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you". The next reference is Matt 5:48. This time it is the Lord Jesus speaking, "Be therefore perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect". Donâ€™t you just love those passages in red! So God is instructing us to be perfect, but how can we be? If we say we have not sinned, we call God a liar. But, if we confess our sins, He will cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9. If we say that it is not possible to be cleansed from sin, then we do not believe what the Word of God says. And, if we donâ€™t believe the Word of God, can we really call ourselves Christians? Paul says in Rom 6:1, "Shall we continue to sin (or sin all the more), that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" I think that time has come. Are we dead to sin? Do we want to be? Are we able to be? Let us bow our heads. Heavenly Father, we want this to be a very special appreciation of Your holiness and our unrighteousness and unworthiness. All we like sheep HAVE gone astray. Lord, we keep sinning! And You keep forgiving us! But You tell us throughout Your Word to be perfect; to have a perfect heart. In a very special way, as if we are not going to do it again, we would like to ask You to forgive us for our rebellion, for our disbelief, for our sin, and to cleanse us, as You have promised, from all unrighteousness. Heavenly Father, you loved us so much that You sent Jesus, Your righteous Son, who Himself was willing to die in our place, so we could become your righteous children.
We thank You for setting us free from the law of sin and death and cleansing us from ALL unrighteousness. We thank You in Jesus' Name. Amen. If you prayed with me, sincerely asking God to forgive you for your sin, and recognizing that He HAS cleansed you from ALL unrighteousness, just gently look at your wrist watch and sit quietly for a few seconds. The one who says you cannot be righteous is still active on your mind and on your being, but we have been instructed to "Submit ourselves therefore to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you". James 4:7 Five seconds... Ten seconds... You can, by the grace of God, live one minute without sin. And if a minute, can you not an hour? If an hour, a day? If a day, a year? What we are doing is testifying to Satan the "accuser" and to ourselves that we are able to be righteous for a period of time. For too long you have believed that you had no power over sin. You sinned all the time. You couldnâ€™t help yourself. But now, by the power of Godâ€™s Holy Spirit, God is showing you that you can be righteous. Is this not the very first time you have considered yourself to be righteous? Does this glorify you, or God? Is it not by His grace that you are able to be cleansed. Is it not by believing His promise, that you ARE clean! Now unto Him who is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen. Jude 24. As our minds remain pure by the power of God, we will realize that this is not an exercise in "self righteousness", but in "righteousness'. Remember that temptation is not a sin. Keep our minds occupied "...bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ..." 2 Cor. 10:5. This exercise is in obedience to Christ, and in rebellion to the Devil! Every second, every minute, every hour we remain pure, by the power of God, we are acknowledging God's perfect gift of righteousness to us. At first we may find our "spiritual muscles" to be very weak. This part of the body, even the 'body of Christ', may not have had as much exercise in this area as it should have. Satan would have us believe that it is easier to sin, than to do the will of our Father. After all, God will always forgive us, won't He? We may find ourselves coming up with all sorts of arguments against 'practicing perfection'. Some may call it 'legalistic'. It is Legal! Christ will set us free from the curse of the law of sin and death and cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness. Legally, He has paid the penalty that you and I should have paid. In God's courtroom you will find God's contract to be legally binding and, "If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed". John 8:35. "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, and walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit". Rom. 8:1.
If we sin, we know what to do. This address is NOT an excuse to cease from asking God for His forgiveness if we sin. It is an encouragement, as we measure, even a few seconds or minutes of time, not to sin after God has cleansed us from ALL unrighteousness.