Greetings, brothers and sisters. This is Dr. James Perry continuing with our series, where we seek to explore the deeper meanings of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Over the years, the heavenly Father has revealed many revelations of spiritual truth to me, and I want to share them with you. This morning we seek to understand the meaning of the achievement of spiritual perfection through Jesus.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
The Achievement of Spiritual Perfection through Jesus
"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." Matthews, Chapter 5, Verse 48
Brothers and sisters, in today’’s broadcast, we examine the achievement of spiritual perfection through Jesus. We have been commanded to be perfect even as the heavenly Father is perfect. And this was demonstrated by Jesus in the perfection of his moral and spiritual character as the son of man. We all desire this state but feel it is impossible to achieve moral and spiritual perfection of our characters. So we remain locked in the prison of unbelief, forgetting that all things are possible with God.
We have a disconnect between what we say we believe and what we practice. We find it easy to believe in the material manifestation of God’’s power, believing in all kinds of material miracles. But we find it almost impossible to believe in the spiritual manifestation of His power, the power to change us into the image of His Son, Jesus. Thus spiritual perfection is not even a goal for most of us——instead, we wish to obtain material miracles.
We know that Jesus was the absolute perfected mortal of time and space, the ideal of perfection. Never will a human being appear on this earth who will exceed this perfected state. Still, Jesus said that "the disciple is hardly above his master nor a servant greater than his lord. It is enough for the disciple to be equal with his master and the servant to become like his lord." Thus, we are to become like Jesus in all divinity aspects of his moral and spiritual character and show forth his loving and merciful character to our brothers and sisters. We are commanded to love one another as Jesus loves us.
By dedicating and consecrating our wills to doing the Father’’s will, we achieve moral and spiritual perfection in this life; we unify our personalities along the perfected lines of Jesus’’ personality.
Now that Jesus has left his mighty Spirit of Truth to encapsulate our souls, we have the power and the know-how to obey the Father’’s command to be perfect even as He is perfect. This command was restated when Jesus responded to the lawyer, who asked what was the greatest commandment: "There is but one commandment, and that one is the greatest of all, and that commandment is: `Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.' This is the first and great commandment. And the second commandment is like this first; indeed, it springs directly therefrom, and it is: `You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these; on these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
Now we shall see how the command to be perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect is the same command to ““love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself.”” When we observe Jesus’’ perfected life, we see that he responded to this internal command to be perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect in two ways——with an inward response and an outward response. The inward response to the command to be perfect was demonstrated by Jesus’’ loving the Father with all of his heart, his soul, his mind, and all of his strength; the outward response to this command was demonstrated by his loving his neighbors as he loved himself.
There is also a two-fold response in doing the Father’’s will: the inner prayer-worship response and the outward service response. The characteristic of spiritual perfection in the flesh is the constant display of the Father’’s will inwardly and outwardly. The Spirit of Truth unerringly guides and transports our souls into the patterns of perfection when we submit to the command to be perfect even as the Father in heaven is perfect.
Consider this analogy: A person desires to circumnavigate the world by oceanic transport. He cannot swim around the world, but if he had a suitable boat he could easily make such a trip. As long as he stayed in the boat, he could continue his journey and even enjoy it. The Spirit of Truth does for our souls what they are unable to do for themselves. It encapsulates them as it were and by multiplying the power of the soul enables them to make the dual response to the Father’’s will. All we have to do is to stay within the enclosure of the Spirit of Truth. We do this by wholeheartedly submitting our wills to the Father’’s will. This is accomplished by our supreme desire to submit. And if it is our supreme desire to submit, we will submit our wills to His.
We know that we are perfectly capable of remaining in the capsule of the Spirit of Truth. And we know that no one can eject us from it except us. We know very well that those times when we have been ejected, it was our own fault. We neglected to keep the doing of the Father’’s will supreme in our minds and our souls. And because we neglected to maintain His will uppermost in our minds and souls, we lost the desire to do it. Therefore did our wills not submit to His will but responded to the desire of self, the desire for evil.
Not wanting to acknowledge our lack of supreme loyalty towards the Father’’s will, we fell back on the lame excuse that no one can be perfect as the Father in Heaven is perfect. We run the race for perfection but we never cross the finish line. We die in our imperfection.
Consider this analogy. During this time on earth, exercise and fitness clubs are the rage. Two popular machines in these clubs are the exercise bike and the treadmill. Now these instruments allow the exerciser to ride or walk in the same place. They pedal the bike or walk on the treadmill, but they go nowhere. They build up their leg muscles, but they have not traveled anywhere. Consider the marathon runner or the cyclist. These individuals are actually going through the same muscle training as the exercisers, but they accomplish something they think is great: they wish to win a race. The marathon runner and the cyclist achieve a satisfaction and reward that utterly eclipses those who merely ride or run in the same place without achieving any external objective.
We know that without a goal, we are unlikely to embark on and pursue such. We are unlikely to acquire the know-how or to implement the dedication, the persistence, and the discipline necessary to achieve such a goal. If we have already convinced ourselves that we cannot cross the finish line of achieving spiritual perfection as revealed by Jesus when he lived his life in the flesh and as His Spirit of Truth which now reveals to us in various moral and spiritual encounters, then we have no hope of achieving such a magnificent goal of self-conquest that is within our reach and grasp.
We will certainly not cooperate with our angels, who supply the moral and spiritual stimuli designed to make our souls robust and strong. When confronted with such progressive resistance, we are likely to shrink from them and retreat back into ourselves like a turtle who goes back into his shell when he senses danger.
We must settle this issue in our minds and souls once and for all. The Father would hardly give us an impossible command to achieve. And for those who think that we can only achieve spiritual perfection after we move to the next level, He sent His Son in human form, who demonstrated this same perfection in mortal life. And besides, if we cannot achieve perfection on this level, than there is no hope for this world ever becoming perfect. There’’d be no hope for overcoming the evil and error that causes us so much pain, sorrow and disappointment, evil and error that continually fill our souls with despair, displacing the hope that desperately cries for us to do something to make things better, to become perfect even as the heavenly Father is perfect.
We must not confuse the mercy of the Father that rescues those recalcitrant souls who fail to cross the finish line of divine perfection with the righteous invitation-command to be perfect even as He is perfect. This command contains both the standard as well as the power to meet the standard. We must be willingly to take the Father at His word and believe His Son.
There is only one ingredient that we must have and exercise once we have made the decision to be perfect even as the Father in heaven is perfect--living faith. Though living faith is given by the Father, we must exercise this faith. We must believe wholeheartedly that we can really become like Jesus. And when we combine this living faith and trust from the Father and from ourselves, we immediately begin to make progress in the journey for spiritual perfection. As we continue this journey, at some point we cross the finish line. At some point we realize that we really do love the Father with all our hearts, our souls, our minds, our strength, and love our neighbor as ourselves.
If we don’’t achieve this spiritual perfection, it is not the Father’’s fault. He has supplied everything that He can without violating our free will. It is our fault because we fail to desire it, refuse to submit our wills to His will. But if we do, we avail ourselves of that well-known spiritual law: What the true son desires, and the Father wills, is.
This concludes today's message on understanding the meaning of the achievement of spiritual perfection through Jesus. We hope you find something in this message to ponder and pray about as you go about your day.
Until next time, this is Dr. James Perry.