Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Perfection’

Duty of Gratitude for Divine Grace: Blessings of Grace: Perfection- Book Seventh- Chapter 3- Section 7

Book Seventh

CHAPTER III.

SECTION VII.–PERFECTION.

The process of sanctification, which is continued during the present life, is completed when the subjects of it are perfectly fitted for the service and enjoyments of heaven. In this work of the Spirit, the resurrection of the body is included, and the fashioning of it like the glorious body of Christ. Having been predestinated to be conformed to the image of God’s dear Son,[227] the purposed work of grace is not completed until we appear in glory, with our bodies like the glorious body of the Redeemer. For this perfect conformity, the saints on earth long, and to it they look as the consummation of their wishes and hopes: “then shall I be satisfied, when I awake with thy likeness.”[228] This was the object of Paul’s earnest desire, the prize for which he put forth every effort. He refers to it in these words: “If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead: not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect; but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. I press toward the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”[229]

The work of grace will not be completed until the second coming of Christ: “He which hath begun a good work in you, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”[230] Then the last change will be made, which will fit us for the eternal service and enjoyment of God, in his high and holy place. “Then we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” “Now we know in part; but then we shall know even as also we are known.” “Then that which is perfect will have come;” and until then every saint must say with Paul: “Not as though I had already attained, or were already perfect.”

Besides this final perfection, to which the saints are taught to aspire, there are stages in their progress to which the name perfection is, in a subordinate sense, applied in the Holy Scriptures. The disembodied saints, now in the presence of God, though they have not attained to the resurrection of the body, are nevertheless called “just men made perfect.”[231] They are free from the body of death, free from sin, free from all the tribulations and sorrows of this world, and are present with the Lord, and in the enjoyment of his love.

Even in the present life there are stages in the Christian’s progress to which the term perfection is applied. When they have attained to an enlarged knowledge of divine truth, they are said to be perfect, or of full age, to distinguish them from those who have learned only the first principles of the doctrine of Christ.[232] Men who make a full and consistent exhibition of the religious character, by a godly life, are called perfect. So Job was “perfect and upright, fearing God and eschewing evil.”[233] To Christians generally the term “perfect” appears to be applied, in the exhortation of Paul: “Let us, as many as be perfect, be thus minded.”[234] He here includes himself among the perfect; and yet, in the same chapter,[235] he affirms that he was not already perfect. It is clear, therefore, that the words are used in different senses in the two places.

No perfection to which the people of God attain in the present life, includes perfect freedom from sin. Job, though a perfect man, said, “If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me. If I say, I am perfect, it also shall prove me perverse.”[236] Paul, though numbering himself among the perfect, said, “When I would do good, evil is present with me.”[237] “I am carnal, sold under sin.”[238] John says, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves:”[239] and Solomon, “There is not a just man upon earth that doeth good and sinneth not.”[240] With these declarations of God’s word, the experience of Christians in all ages has agreed; and they have found need for daily prayer, “Forgive us our trespasses.”

In the precept, “Be ye perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect,”[241] we may take the term in its highest sense. As we are commanded to love God with all the heart–to be holy because he is holy; it is our duty to be perfectly free from sin; and to come up to this standard, should be our constant aim and effort. We cannot attain to a perfect knowledge of God in the present life; but we may follow on to know him.[242] So we cannot attain to a perfect likeness in holiness, yet we may be “changed into the same image from glory to glory.”[243] Progress in the divine life is full of reward, and full of encouragement, even while we are fighting the good fight of faith, and before we obtain the victor’s crown. The promise of grace to help in every struggle, of continued success in every conflict, and of final victory, is sufficient encouragement to put forth every effort. We should ever press toward the mark, ever keep the high standard of perfection in view, and aim to reach it. “Having these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”[244]

The indication is fearful when a man excuses sin in himself, on the ground that perfection is not attainable in the present life. A true Christian may have a besetting sin; but any one who has an indulged, allowed, or excused sin, has reason to fear that the love of sin has never been crucified in his heart. And he who satisfies himself with any standard below absolute perfection in holiness, is so far allowing sin in himself, and giving the indication which ought to alarm him.

In the spiritual warfare, of which every believer is conscious, the love of God in the heart is in conflict with other affections which are not duly subordinated to it. Growth in grace implies an ascendancy of the holy affection over those with which it contends. That gains strength, and those grow weaker, as the house of David waxed stronger, and house of Saul weaker,[245] in their struggle for dominion over Israel. It is therefore our duty, that we may grow in grace, to cherish the holy affections, which rise heavenward, and to mortify the carnal affections, which are earthward in their tendency. No man on earth can justly claim that the affections of his heart are perfectly regulated according to the high standard of God’s law. The internal conflict between the law in the members and the law in the mind, does not cease till God calls away the spirit from its union with the mortal body. The phrase “law in our members,”[246] does not imply that our sin belongs properly to our material bodies; but it nevertheless apparently suggests that the conflict between the law in the members and the law in the mind, may be expected to continue as long as the members and the mind have their present relation to each other. Just men are made perfect[247] when they become disembodied spirits. When absent from the body, they are present with the Lord;[248] and they are then holy; for without holiness no man shall see the Lord.[249]

We should not attribute to death the efficiency of our final deliverance from sin. It is only an instrument which the Holy Spirit uses in his work, just as he has used the many afflictions which have preceded death, and of which death is the termination. As this is the last suffering which the righteous will endure, the last enemy which remains to be destroyed, it is appropriately used as the last instrumentality which the Holy Spirit will employ in his work. And it is a most suitable instrumentality. Death introduces us into the full knowledge of God, which is necessary to the perfect love of him. It opens to our view the unseen things of the eternal world, that they may have their full and proper influence on our minds. It separates us for ever from the things of earth, to which our affections have been so strongly inclined to cleave. The death of a beloved friend has often been blessed as a means of our sanctification: but when we die, all our surviving friends die to us at once. The loss of property has weaned us from the world: but at death we lose all our earthly possessions at a single stroke. God may have burned down our dwellings and consumed in the flames the coffers which contained our gold, when he graciously designed to direct our thoughts to the house not made with hands, and to the treasure which cannot be consumed. What, then, when the earth itself, which he has given for the habitation of men, and all therein which he has given them to enjoy, shall be burned up in the last conflagration; or shall be shown to us as prepared to be cast into that funeral fire? This is well adapted to eradicate from the heart the love of the things that perish. This fit instrumentality the Spirit employs in completing his work of sanctification. Yet, as in all our afflictions, the efficiency is not in the means employed,, but in the divine power which employs them to fulfil his gracious purpose.

[227] Rom. viii. 29.

[228] Ps. xvii. 15.

[229] Phil. iii. 11, 12, 13.

[230] Phil. i. 6.

[231] Heb. xii.23.

[232] Heb. vi. 1; v. 14.

[233] Job i. 1.

[234] Phil. iii. 15.

[235] Phil. iii. 12.

[236] Job ix. 20.

[237] Rom. vii. 21.

[238] Rom. vii. 14.

[239] 1 John i. 8.

[240] Eccl. vii. 20.

[241] Matt. v. 48.

[242] Hosea vi. 3.

[243] 2 Cor. iii. 19.

[244] 2 Cor. vii. 1.

[245] 2 Sam. iii. 1.

[246] Rom. vii. 23.

[247] Heb. xii. 23.

[248] 2 Cor. v. 8.

[249] Heb. xii. 14.

John L. Dagg- Manual of Theology

Advertisements

The Wednesday Word: The Wonderful Number 7

There is something magnificent about the number seven in Scripture.

It is the number of completeness, perfection and rest.

Consider these sevens:

There were 7 days of creation.

There are 7 days of the week.

It was the 7th animal that was sacrificed at Noah’s sacrifice.

Joshua marched around Jericho 7 times.

7 priests with 7 trumpets also marched around Jericho.

On the 7th day, they trooped around the walls 7 times.

Naaman washed 7 times in the Jordan.

Elijah prayed 7 times.

Every 7th day was a Sabbath.

Every 7th year was a Sabbath year.

Every 7 times 7 years was a year of Jubilee.

Three of the feasts of Israel lasted 7 days.

Between the first and second feasts, there were 7 days.

There were 7 days of the feast of Passover.

Jesus is the seven-fold “I AM.”

There are 7 petitions in the Lord’s Prayer.

7 loaves were multiplied into 7 basketfuls.

Jesus performed 7 miracles on the Sabbath.

The term “First and the Last” is used 7 times.

There are 7 seals in the Book of Revelation.

There were 7 churches,

7 candlesticks,

7 stars,

7 spirits before the throne of God.

Before His crucifixion, Christ passed through 7 trials.

There were 7 accusations against Him.

There were 7 questions from Pilate to Christ, and there were 7 sayings from the cross.

In the book of Hebrews, seven titles refer to Christ.

1) He is the Heir of all things (Hebrews 1:2),

2) The Captain of our salvation (2:10),

3) The Apostle (3:1),

4) The ‘Author of salvation (5:9),

5) The Forerunner (6:20),

6) The High Priest (10:21)

7) The Author and finisher of our faith (12:2).

What a seven-fold declaration of His perfection.

Then in Revelation 5:6 “…, lo, in the midst of the throne …stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.”

Again, note the number 7. Observe how the Lamb had seven horns. The horn was a symbol of authority and strength and being that there are seven horns, we are being pointed to the perfect power and omnipotence of the Lord Jesus. Christ is omnipotent and is, therefore, God! Only He who is omnipotent can exert supremacy.

The seven eyes present a picture of the Lamb’s perfect Omniscience. This language corresponds directly with Zechariah 3:9 and 4:10, where we encounter God’s omniscience displayed by the seven eyes. God knows everything; He is Omniscient! Let’s face it; if He didn’t know everything, He wouldn’t be much of a God! He would be a very limited sort of a fellow and certainly no one to whom we could bring our deepest concerns and questions. If indeed God does not know all things I, for one, would be in a panic for who then could shepherd me?

Spurgeon tells the story of how a great Grecian artist was fashioning an image for a temple and was diligently carving the back part of the goddess. Someone said to him, “You need not finish that part of the statue because it is to be built into the wall.”

He replied, “The gods can see in the wall.”

The artist had the wrong God but the right idea of omniscience. The Lord Christ sees everything; He’s Omniscient.

The Seven Spirits sent forth are a declaration of Christ’s Omnipresence!

As you know, Omnipresence is one of the mighty attributes of God (Isaiah 66:1). Although God is not referred to directly in scripture as being Omnipresent, we know that His omnipresence is related to His omnipotence and omniscience. All three of these attributes work in concert. The fact that He is everywhere (omnipresent) means He knows everything (omniscience) and that He is everywhere (omnipresent) establishes that there is nowhere from which His power is excluded (omnipotence).

We are saved by He who is perfect.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com

Perfection of the saints is of the Lord alone

September 21, 2015 Leave a comment

Spurgeon 34. Then if we gather the three thoughts in one. The perfection we shall soon have, when we shall stand yonder, near God’s throne, will be wholly of the Lord. That bright crown which shall sparkle on our brow, like a constellation of brilliant stars, shall have been fashioned only by our God. I go to a land, but it is a land which the plough of earth hath never upturned, though it be greener than earth’s best pastures, and though it be richer than all her harvests ever saw. I go to a building of more gorgeous architecture than man hath builded; it is not of mortal architecture; it is “a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” All I shall know in heaven, will be given by the Lord; and I shall say, when at last I appear before him, —

“Grace all the work shall crown
Through everlasting days;
It lays in heaven the topmost stone,
And well deserves the praise.”

Charles H. Spurgeon- God Alone the Salvation of His People-A Sermon Delivered On Sabbath Morning, May 18, 1856

Happy New Year 2015

January 1, 2015 3 comments

Reformedontheweb would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year!

Here is a thought to meditate on as we go into the New Year.

 

“But the God of all grace who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” — 1 Peter 5:10.

 

Look again at the text, and you see another reason why Peter expected that his prayer would be heard: — “The God of all grace who hath called us.” Unbelief might have said to Peter, “Ah, Peter, it is true that God is the God of all grace, but he is as a fountain shut up, as waters sealed.” “Ah,” saith Peter, “get thee hence Satan, thou savourest not the things that be of God. It is not a sealed fountain of all grace, for it has begun to flow” — “The God of all grace hath called us.” Calling is the first drop of mercy that trickleth into the thirsty lip of the dying man. Calling is the first golden link of the endless chain of eternal mercies. Not the first in order of time with God, but the first in order of time with us. The first thing we know of Christ in his mercy, is that he cries, “Come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden,” and that by his sweet Spirit he addresses us, so that we obey the call and come to him. Now, mark, if God has called me, I may ask him to stablish and keep me; I may ask that as year rolls after year my piety may not die out, I may pray that the bush may burn, but not be consumed, that the barrel of meal may not waste, and the cruse of oil may not fail. Dare I ask that to life’s latest hour I may be faithful to God, because God is faithful to me? Yes, I may ask it, and I shall have it too: because the God that calls, will give the rest. “For whom he did foreknow, them he did predestinate; and whom he did predestinate, them he also called; and whom he called he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” Think of thy calling Christian, and take courage, “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” If he has called thee he will never repent of what he has done, nor cease to bless or cease to save.

But I think there is a stronger reason coming yet: — “The God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory.” Hath God called thee, my hearer? Dost thou know to what he has called thee? He called thee first into the house of conviction, where he made thee feel thy sin. Again he called thee to Calvary’s summit, where thou didst see thy sin atoned for and thy pardon sealed with precious blood. And now he calls thee. And whither away? I hear a voice to-day — unbelief tells me that there is a voice calling me to Jordan’s waves. Oh, unbelief! it is true that through the stormy billows of that sea my soul must wade. But the voice comes not from the depths of the grave, it comes from the eternal glory. There where Jehovah sits resplendent on his throne, surrounded by cherubim and seraphim, from that brightness into which angels dare not gaze, I hear a voice: — “Come unto me, thou blood-washed sinner, come unto my eternal glory.” O heavens! is not this a wondrous call? — to be called to glory — called to the shining streets and pearly gates — called to the harps and to the songs of eternal happiness — and better still, called to Jesu’s bosom — called to his Father’s face — called, not to eternal glory, but to HIS eternal glory — called to that very glory and honor with which God invests himself for ever? And now, beloved, is any prayer too great after this? Has God called me to heaven, and is there anything on earth he will deny me? If he has called me to dwell in heaven is not perfection necessary for me? May I not therefore ask for it? If he has called me to glory, is it not necessary that I should be strengthened to fight my way thither? May I not ask for strengthening? Nay, if there be a mercy upon earth too great for me to think of, too large for me to conceive, too heavy for my language to carry it before the throne in prayer, he will I do for me exceeding abundantly above what I can ask, or even I can think. I know he will, because he has called me to his eternal glory.

Charles H. Spurgeon-A New Year’s Benediction-Jan. 1, 1860

Chapter II : Of God and Of the Holy Trinity

1. The Lord our God is but (a) one only living, and true God; whose (b) subsistence is in and of himself, (c) infinite in being, and perfection, whose Essence cannot be comprehended by any but himself; (d) a most pure spirit, (e) invisible, without body, parts, or passions, who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light, which no man can approach unto, who is (f) immutable, (g) immense, (h) eternal, incomprehensible, (i) Almighty, every way infinit, (k) most holy, most wise, most free, most absolute, (l) working all things according to the councel of his own immutable, and most righteous will, (m) for his own glory, most loving, gracious, merciful, long suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin, (n) the rewarder of them that diligently seek him, and withall most just, (o) and terrible in his judgements, (p) hating all sin, and who will by no means clear the (q) guilty.

a 1 Cor. 8.4 6. Deut. 6.4.

b Jer 10.10. Isaiah 48.12.

c Exod 3.14.

d Joh. 4.24.

e 1 Tim. 1.17. Deut. 4.15,16.

f  Mal. 3.6.

g 1 King. 8.27. Jer. 23.23.

h Ps. 90.2.

i Gen. 17.1.

k Isa. 6.3.

l Ps. 115.3. Isa. 46.10.

m Pro. 16.4. Rom. 11.36.

n Exod. 34.6,7. Hebr. 11.6.

o Neh. 9.32,33.

p Ps. 5.5,6.

q Exod. 34.7. Nahum. 1,2,3.

2. God having all (r) life, (s) glory, (t) goodness, blessedness, in and of himself: is alone in, and unto himself all-sufficient, not (u) standing in need of any Creature which he hath made, nor deriving any glory from them, but onely manifesting his own glory in, by, unto, and upon them, he is the alone fountain of all Being, (x) of whom, through whom, and to whom are all things, and he hath most soveraign (y) dominion over all creatures, to do by them, for them, or upon them, whatsoever himself pleaseth; in his sight (z) all things are open and manifest, his knowledge is (a) infinite, infallible, and independant upon the Creature, so as nothing is to him contingent, or uncertain; he is most holy in all his Councels, in (b) all his Works, and in all his Commands; to him is due (c) from Angels and men, whatsoever worship, service, or obedience as Creatures they owe unto the Creator, and whatever he is further pleased to require of them.

r Joh. 5.26.

s Ps. 148.13.

t Ps. 119.68.

u Job, 22.2,3.

x Rom. 11.34.35,36.

y Dan. 4.25. and v.34,35.

z Heb. 4.13.

a Ezek. 11.5 Act. 15.18.

b Ps. 145.17.

c Rev. 5.12,13,14.

3. In this divine and infinite Being there are three subsistences, (d) the Father the Word (or Son) and Holy Spirit, of one substance, power, and Eternity, each having the whole Divine Essence, (e) yet the Essence undivided, the Father is of none neither begotten nor proceeding, the Son is (f) Eternally begotten of the Father, the holy Spirit (g) proceeding from the Father and the Son, all infinite, without beginning, therefore but one God, who is not to be divided in nature and Being; but distinguished by several peculiar, relative properties, and personal relations; which doctrine of the Trinity is the foundation of all our Communion with God, and comfortable dependance on him.

d 1 Joh. 5.7. Mat. 28.19. 2 Cor. 13.14.

e Exod. 3.14. Joh. 14.11. 1 Cor. 8.6.

f Joh. 1.14.18.

g Joh. 15.26. Gal. 4.6.

The 1677/89 London Baptist Confession of Faith

 

Concerning our Eternal Perfection

And at the end of the world, when the church of Christ shall be settled in its last, and most complete, and its eternal state, and all common gifts, such as convictions and illuminations, and all miraculous gifts, shall be eternally at an end, yet then divine love shall not fail, but shall be brought to its most glorious perfection in every individual member of the ransomed church above. Then, in every heart, that love which now seems as but a spark, shall be kindled to a bright and glowing flame, and every ransomed soul shall be as it were in a blaze of divine and holy love, and shall remain and grow in this glorious perfection and blessedness through all eternity!

Jonathan Edwards, Charity and Its Fruits