Prophetic Teachings about Christian Perfection Christian Perfection: a prophetic teaching
by John Robert Lucas

Christian Perfection: a balanced prophetic teaching

Now Paul conveys the plan of God to us

Phil 3:12-14

Not that I have already obtained {it} or have already become perfect (teleios), but I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of {it} yet; but one thing {I do} forgetting what {lies} behind and reaching forward to what {lies} ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (NAS)

Here we have a great example of scriptural perfection. When Paul wrote this he had not obtained perfection, but notice that his hope was towards perfection. Paul pressed on to maturity, even though Paul had obtained a maturity that surpassed most others. Paul is talking about maturity as a completed stage, the last stone being set on the temple. It is a completeness of one reflecting the image of Christ in every area of our life. The prize that Paul speaks about is a prize that comes from FULFILLING THE COMPLETE CALL OF GOD ON YOUR LIFE. Perfection is a “finishing of your course”.

Phil 3:15-17

Let us therefore, as many as are perfect (teleios), have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; Vs. 16 - however, let us keep living by that same {standard} to which we have attained. Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us.

Now Paul includes us in being perfect in verse 15. You are NEVER EXCLUDED in God’s plan of being mature and perfect. God always gives you grace to make it to the finishing line. The apostles of the early church did not “have it made” because they had walked with Jesus or saw a vision of Jesus. The early apostles were not given a better will or a supreme mind that gave them an advantage over you in “attaining God’s standard”. All of us have been given the same amount of grace to finish no matter how our courses may differ. Your course may not require that you become as spiritual as Paul did, but it could. There is one thing it does include - your maturity. God has a hope in His heart for you to finish your course. Your course will always include what God wrote about you in scripture and also what He has told you personally. We will examine what God says about YOU in scripture.

In the church we frequently observe ministry gifts, which are esteemed in high regard by the church. God esteems not the gift, which is freely given – God esteems “as many as are perfect” - this is true spirituality. You may not be given a certain gift and you are downcast because of that. Do not fret, the potter made you with the potential to become a true representation of His Son in this Earth. This is so much more important to God than a gift of singing, preaching or prophesying. You have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit that can cause ”purity” in your life that will cleanse everyone you touch. Yet God does not withhold His gifts either, you have been given all the gifts that are needed - to finish the race.

Verse 16 says that any growth that has been fruitful in our lives can be lost if we do not continue in that which we have attained. Backsliding comes from being weary in well doing. We must continue to walk even when we feel faint. We must join in with Paul and follow his example – an example that creates the standard of our life in Christ. Live that which you have attained from God and CONTINUE to the finishing line.

Verse 17 - Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us.

(I pray that you will get this most important scripture.) Paul says, follow his example and walk according to the pattern. What is the pattern? The pattern is the TRUE IMAGE of Jesus. Paul had a version of Jesus that looked like Jesus. Not a false Jesus and not an opinion of what Jesus might have looked like. He has seen and been changed by the True Jesus. OBSERVE Paul's walk and talk. Measure it to your own life and walk accordingly. A walk that “abides in the Holy of Holies” is DEFINED as we look at Paul's walk before Jesus. A life that we see as “perfect and complete” is reflected in Paul’s manner of living. A life of one that has “come to the finishing line” is represented by the race that Paul had run. We may have many preconceived ideas of what “being spiritual”, “being perfect” is, but God will define it before our very eyes by examining the Heart of God in the Apostle Paul and others who ran this race - in scripture.

We must also clarify for the record what God’s perfection is not. It is not the absence of mistakes. In other words, you can reach the FULL STATURE OF JESUS AND YET TAKE A COLLEGE EXAM AND GIVE THE WRONG ANSWERS! Some have a thinking that maturity equals making all the right decisions, doing daily tasks without fail, and always performing better than “non-perfect” people. These things must be stated because one can take this word and think in an “extreme” that does not exists in scripture. However on the other side, you cannot use what I just said as an excuse to fail tests that you have the inherent ability to pass. Also, you cannot be lazy and turn around and say that “nobody is perfect, we all make mistakes”. You cannot ignore the principles of God’s love and go around hurting others – all in the name of “nobody is perfect”. In these cases we observe that the term “nobody is perfect” carries with it a lack of repentance.

The Jesus Blueprint

A pattern is a blueprint to measure, fit, and build from. The blueprint is to be followed strictly and all the materials need to be available. Jesus has given us the plans and the ability. Jesus has anointed us and given us all the materials - in Himself. We need nothing more. He gave us apostles like Paul that demonstrate the end product, what we call a prototype or a model. Looking at Paul’s life is unrolling the blueprint and looking at the details that built God’s temple in a man that served Jesus without reserve.

1 Cor 10:11

Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

The lives and events of both the Old and New Testament characters were given as examples. Now if these examples meant a lot to the previous generations of Christians then just think what it means to us who are closer to "the ends of the world" then ever before. We will learn from the things these examples did wrong and were judged, and we learn from the things they did right and were rewarded. These examples in scripture were written to ADMONISH US. God is saying that the lives of those in scriptures are to WARN US, they are given to correct our lives – that is why they happened. For example, the events of the life of Moses happened to warn you to change “your course” to follow “God’s course”. Just like the man of God we examined earlier, Moses also did not heed God’s specific instructions, when God told Moses to speak to the rock. Instead Moses struck the rock. The consequence of Moses not heeding the instructions of God would cost him – Moses did not get to lead the people into the promise land.

God’s hope was for Moses to “enter in” - that was the finishing line for Moses. Moses saw the promise land before he died but never finished his course to enter into that land. We must learn from such examples if we are to avoid the same “pattern of unbelief”. We also must examine the way Moses trusted God in other events so that we may imitate the “pattern of belief”, which we will examine later in the book. In these chapters we will observe mostly the example of Paul. As pertaining to maturity or perfection, Paul was the "most mature" and the most perfect example given to us. Maturity is best defined as we examine the heart of Paul and see how Jesus manifested Himself to the world through Paul. If I am to discern the spiritual growth of a Christian brother, or myself I will measure him to the maturity of Jesus as demonstrated through the words and life of Paul. Paul's life is an example of how to get from point "A" to point "B" in this walk of faith that we must travel everyday, from glory to glory.

2 Tim 4:6-8

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

Paul finished the race set before him. He became all that God had in store for him. He walked blameless before God and fought the good fight of faith. He obtained that which we saw him pressing on towards in Philippians 3:14. He again includes us in that which he has obtained. The crown of righteousness is for all of us who have loved the appearing of Jesus.

      What does it mean to love His appearing?

      It is one who desires to see the fulfillment of all the plans and purposes in Christ, which will culminate at the appearing of Jesus in the Day of the Lord.

      That is what it means to love His appearing!

God used men in past ages to restore to the church the truth that had been lost in the dark ag es. Men of God have been used in signs and wonders and many o f them possessed the character of God. God has used them to edify us, but we really do not know if they FINISHED the race. God has given us primarily, Jesus; and Paul manifesting the person of Jesus, as the foundational pattern example of how we must believe and walk. Both the book of Acts and the epistles had more of an emphasis on the walk of Paul then any other apostle.

Why is the life of Jesus alone, not sufficient to examine? Because our natural mind can't handle the thought of us “being perfect” even, as the Father in heaven is perfect. Jesus was not a fallen creation like we are (because of Adam). God found a man (PAUL) that was fallen like we are (because of Adam), and had to overcome the sin nature in himself and would partake in his share of the sufferings of Jesus, and live a life that was perfect, even as the Father in heaven is perfect. This is why Paul could say, "follow my example" with confidence. We live in a world where we sometimes lack good examples to follow. God the Father gave us His Son and also gave us a man that allowed the Son of God to be demonstrated through him as our example, and not only Paul but many others as well.

      Can you say to your brethren in Christ "Follow my example"?

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