We now continue our Perfection Howto begun last week with Step Four.
Step Four: Practice the pleasure of receiving the Gift of Jesus Christ’s Perfection continually (as a way of life).
I started this series by saying that only perfect people have access to Heaven (Matthew 5:48)…this is true. Yet, let me add that the only Righteousness that God will ever accept is His Own (Romans 3:21-26). I can understand if you’ve become weary of these paradoxes; I’ll try to clarify.
Point of Fact: Before sin existed NO ONE HAD THEIR OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS.
Before the Advent of Sin, everyone who was not God received their righteousness (along with their beauty, power, wisdom, authority, strength and holiness) from God. That is: God “loaned out” His own communicable attributes (aspects of His Nature that He can share) to His children according to His own sovereignty, purpose and pleasure…and He still does.
Sin came into existence when the First Sinner LIED TO HIMSELF and decided to consider the gifts he had been given AS ORIGINATING IN HIMSELF INNATELY (Isaiah 14:12-14).
Now it is understood that those things that we admire about God (Power, Strength, Wisdom, etc.) were not received by God from someone else; God Himself is the Fountain and Origin of His Own Glorious Nature. God is not a debtor to nor is He dependent upon anyone else for anything that He is…GOD IS; there was no one before Him and everyone He created is ultimately accountable to Him.
But when Lucifer credited himself for the glory he received from God, he FELL FROM GRACE (Galatians 5:4). In believing that he had EARNED the Gifts bestowed upon him (believed by many to have been more than God had given any other child) he became unworthy of the most precious of those gifts (Holiness) and became the first to strike out on that path on which so many of us have followed him: the Road to Perdition (Destruction).
So…I said all that to say this:
Point of Fact: You cannot receive God’s Righteousness (Jesus Christ) unless you have COMPLETELY ABANDONED YOUR OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS (you have abdicated your personal pride, godhood and egomania).
Furthermore, your level of spiritual maturity is NOT determined by how many gifts God has given you, but by your ability to acknowledge that everything you are you are at God’s Whim and your refusal to boast or take credit for ANY good that you intend, feel, think, say or do.
Point of Fact: People who are perfect are not buckets, containers or silos; they are pipelines through which God’s Generosity can flow into the world.
Even after receiving Christ, we are constantly tempted to fall out of Grace and back into the merit system (what the Apostle Paul calls “being under the Law”) we were raised on, thinking that we can buy some particular want or need from God by doing an extraordinarily inconvenient good deed. Outside of Christianity, virtually every other religion is based upon this “works” mentality.
But once you realize that, on your BEST day, you are still spiritually and morally BANKRUPT as far as God is concerned, and that the ONLY reason you exist is to glorify, please, obey, imitate, entertain and amuse God, life becomes so much EASIER and FUN!
And the rest is, for those of us familiar with the Gospel, somewhat academic, but still spectacular beyond human imagination.
God accepted Christ’s Death as the Atonement for ALL of your sins–past, present and future. Confession is not a requirement for God as much as being your first step to realizing that YOU ARE NOT GOD; not in any previous life or any life you may have in the future! God has only One Human that He considers PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE: Jesus Christ; every other human–without exception–is accepted by God based ONLY on the merits of Jesus Christ!
(NOTE: God, being a Person with His own will and desire, can Himself apply the merits of Christ to whoever He wishes. There’s no need to be concerned about those in times past who have never heard the Gospel; they’re in God’s Hands, not yours–and remember: God is far more kind and merciful than you!)
When you trash your own goodness (derived from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil) and accept the Covering of Christ’s Righteousness, as far as the Godhead is concerned, YOU ARE LEGALLY PERFECT (what the Bible calls being “justified”).
You are now under the Grace of God. What is Grace? Grace is God the Father’s attitude towards God the Son (Jesus Christ). GodFather’s attitude towards GodSon NEVER CHANGES, because both GodFather and GodSon are PERFECT!!!!!!!!!! Their Divine Relationship, having no beginning nor end, is UNCONDITIONAL.
Don’t run past this…this is ULTRA-CRITICAL for you to grasp and understand, and it’s going to take awhile for you to wrap your heart around it (I confess that I myself still struggle with this).
Point of Fact: You as a Christian have been given the Divine Relationship between God the Father and God the Son!!!!!!!!!!!!
Christ took your place and accepted God’s Wrath against sin, so that you could take Christ’s place and receive God’s Favor towards His Son!
You see: Repentance is not simply ceasing from doing bad things and practising good things. Repentance also includes ceasing from taking credit for being good and trying to earn God’s Favor (which God has now provided for FREE), giving to God the glory that is His due for whatever goodness there may be in you.
Point of Fact: When it comes down to the lowest common denominator THE WHOLE MEANING OF LIFE IS TO ACKNOWLEDGE AND CONTRIBUTE TO THE GLORY OF GOD.
God is to receive Glory for EVERYTHING…whether good or evil.
(Big Secret: God can create evil [somewhat like a writer creating a fictional character in a novel] without being evil Himself at all.)
Having ACQUITTED you of all sin, God is free to LOVE YOU AS MUCH AS HE LOVES HIMSELF. YOUR JOB from this point forward is to ACCEPT THAT LOVE AND FAVOR…regardless of whether you feel worthy of it or not (and by the way…you’ll NEVER be worthy of it)!!!!!
Satan’s job (“satan” means “accuser” and “prosecutor”) is to remind you of how different you are from God to the end that you stop accepting God’s Kindness. If the Devil can’t do that he’ll tell you how worthy you are and trick you into seeing yourself as your own god (again), trying to buy your way into Heaven…bargaining with God as if you were His equal (as if).
That’s enough for now; we’ll continue with Step Five next time.
The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit…
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