October 17, 2008

Moral Perfection: Possible? or Impossible?

This morning I came across a verse that I think will dovetail very well with my discussion with "Anonymous" yesterday. Its Colossians 1:9-12. This verse provides a very concise explanation of what is moral perfection. Paul provides a wonderful summary of how one is transformed from sin (selfishness) to benevolence and love.

9 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.

Let me now break down this passage a little further. First, take v9. It states that Paul is asking God to provide the Colossians with "knowledge" . But what type of knowledge? The bible is explicit in that knowledge of God and his will for mankind is what Paul calls "Real Knowledge" or also known as the "truth", the "gospel". Paul goes onto to say in v10 that as a result of this "knowledge" this will allow someone to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord. What "manner" would be pleasing unto the Lord? A life of sin? A life of constant stumbling? Paul goes on in V10 to say

"fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God"

Note that Paul emphasizes EVERY GOOD WORK and FULLY PLEASING the Lord. Folks, this is not partial obedience, this is not partial surrender - but this is total surrender of OUR will and desires and taking up the will of God in our own lives. Paul goes onto to say that we will also increase in this knowledge and by doing so we will be strengthened in attaining a steadfastness (a stability in our moral perfection) that will yield patience and joy!

V12 is also a key verse whereby it states that now as a result of this transforming knowledge we are now qualified to share in the inheritance (status) of fellow saints who have also lived a life free from sin.

Let me also add another verse in Colossians that Paul furthers this point with:

21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled

Notice that its not our flesh that is the problem - but our minds! Our minds is where the desires to fulfill our flesh reside or originate. For example, if someone is going to shoot up heroine, they don't just wake up one day and find themselves taking a needle and shooting into their vein. No! Instead that person made decisions with their mind to fulfill or satisfy themselves (flesh) with drugs. That person made a conscious decision to go against their own conscience to do drugs. It wasn't their "flesh" that caused them to sin, but rather it was their heart that decided to violate the knowledge of their own conscience and fulfill or satiate their desires of their body.

Another similar verse to the one in Colossians is Philippians 1:9-10:

9And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; 11 having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Again, it is through the love and the knowledge of God's Truth that will equip us so that we may be blameless (Same as sinless) until the return of Christ. Note that it didn't say we would be blameless after we receive our new resurrection bodies - but that we should be blameless today!

One other verse I think shows how it is through the transforming of our hearts and minds that allows one to over come sin. 1 Corinthians 15:34 states

34Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God I speak this to your shame.

Note that it doesn't say "try to stop sinning" or "you can't stop sinning" it says very plain and clear to "STOP SINNING". Paul eludes as to why those who continue to sin do so - its because they have no knowledge of the Truth or of the Will of God!

Finally let me say this. As Christians we all know that it is God's desire that we turn away from sin. Now let me ask you this. If ceasing to sin is an impossibility why then do we even try? The reason is we all know in our heart of hearts that it is well within our ability to stop sinning. The mind will not do things it knows is humanly impossible. If I were to ask you if you could jump to the moon would you even try to do it?? Of course not! However, why is it that every true Christian I know of attempts to live everyday free from sin? Its because we all know that stopping sin within our own lives is within our ability and it is good and right that we do so.

1 comment:

Amos said...

Moral perfection is the total relinquishment of your survival instincts. It is the relinquishment of self. People who sacrifice their lives for others have therefore engaged in moral perfection. In other words, a conscious decision to totally relinquish self or your survival instincts which resulted in your death would be an “absolute” of this principle. This is exemplified by Jesus’ willingness to die for others. Or the story I read recently about a Marine who threw himself on a grenade to save his fellow soldiers.