Saturday, March 13, 2010

Until Christ is formed in you; Biblical perfection and loving accountability

Yesterday we looked at accountability. This was in relation to the reasonable service instructions found throughout the pages of the New Testament. Earlier we discussed need, rest and reasonable service. We looked at how Romans is divided into three major sections. Romans 1:18 – 3:20 shows the need for redemption. Romans 3:21 – 11:36 provides the redemptive decrees that one can rest in and, Roman 12:1 – 16:20 gives the reasonable service instructions. You can find this pattern in many of Paul’s epistles but the need is spelled out best in Romans.

Being conformed into the image of Christ; being a disciple of Christ; requires that one continually grow more Christ like. The reasonable service instructions are there to help one in this endeavor. We are currently exploring how to use the scripture, especially the reasonable service instructions in a way that is consistent with the new covenant dynamic.

The new covenant dynamic considers two essential points. (1) The law is written on the minds and hearts of the believer via the indwelling Holy Spirit and… (2) God is not remembering sin at all. The driver of the new covenant dynamic is found in Hebrews 8:12 “For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more." This verse is pre-eminent.

We stated that the goal should not be perfection but growth toward being more Christ like and, here, there is perhaps need for some clarification about the biblical use of the term perfect. Jesus said the following in the Sermon on the Mount. (Mat 5:48) “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” It is important to look at the definition of perfect in this sense. The Greek word translated as perfect in this passage is teleios. It means to be complete.

On the other hand, if you look at the definition of perfect or perfection on you will find the following: “1.conforming absolutely to the description or definition of an ideal type: a perfect sphere; a perfect gentleman. 2.excellent or complete beyond practical or theoretical improvement: There is no perfect legal code. The proportions of this temple are almost perfect.” the definition we have of perfection today is not comparable to the definition used in the Greek of Jesus time.

In other words, we should not be moving toward perfection as found in definition number one above…that is a status we are given in Christ but, rather, we should be ever moving forward toward perfection. Let’s read what Paul said in this matter: Php 3:12-14 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. (13) Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, (14) I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. This is the purpose in the reasonable service instructions and loving accountability. Pressing on toward the mark and the mark is Jesus Christ himself.

1 comment:

  1. And press we must! Some days are harder than others but if we keep our minds stayed on Jesus listen to and adhere to the Holy Spirit; it can help the uphill climb seem a little leveled off.


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