Greetings and good morning, 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. In today’’s broadcast we explore the assurances of spiritual perfection. What is the basis for our pursuing spiritual perfection? What tools are at our disposal for achieving it? What are the characteristics of it? How do we know when we have achieved it? Does spiritual perfection means that we are perfect in intellectual and material status? Does spiritual perfection preclude error? Does it prevent evil? Does spiritual perfection preclude doubt? What are the benchmarks along the way? How do we know that we are indeed following the Spirit of Truth? How does the Spirit of Truth guide us towards spiritual perfection. How does our relationship with our brothers and sisters change when we acquire this spiritual perfection?
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
The Assurances of Spiritual Perfection
"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." Matthew, Chapter 5, Verse 48
The heavenly Father has commanded us to be perfect even as he is perfect. Since the heavenly Father is spiritual, this perfection once attained will also be spiritual. We begin the perfection process by making a decision to obey the command. Doing so, we enter the kingdom of heaven, of divine values and meanings, relationships between us and the heavenly Father and between one another. In essence, when we enter the kingdom of heaven, we realize that God is our Father and that we are all spiritual brothers and sisters, having the same spiritual Father.
Subsequent to our newfound realization, it is only naturally that we should want to grow up--to achieve spiritual perfection in our sphere of existence just as the heavenly Father is spiritually perfect in his eternal sphere of existence. Just as earthly children want to grow up and become adults, so do spiritual children want to grow up and become spiritual adults.
Entrance to the kingdom of heaven does not depend on our social, intellectual, or material status. Entering the kingdom of heaven only depends on our faith, our willingness to wholeheartedly believe Jesus, our ability to discern right from wrong, our moral status, and our desire to do the Father’’s will. With these factors we begin a growth process that eventually leads to spiritual perfection. Let’’s examine each of these factors:
Faith: There is a transition from the material status of which we are absolutely sure of to a spiritual status which we don’’t know. We must rely on faith to comprehend the values and meanings of the transition from the material to the spiritual. Since divine things have to be loved in order to be known, we must exercise faith in order to know them. With our faith, we are able to receive then when they are revealed to our souls and minds. Without faith, we will never believe nor accept the divine values and meanings as being valid.
Faith allows us to believe wholeheartedly in the reality of the heavenly Father, using it to know him and our relationship to him. Faith instructs us that even though the material mind doubts the reality of spiritual values and meanings, we should still seek to acquire them by embracing them when they once appear in our spiritual consciousness despite the doubts of the material mind. This is an arena in which the material mind is not competent to make judgments. Spiritual reality is an entirely new reality within our being that is beyond the reaches of the material mind; the mind is of no value in determining the validity of spiritual values. But once this mind becomes spiritualized it comprehends the meanings of the divine values that are revealed in the soul.
Wholehearted willingness to believe Jesus: Jesus is the Son of God. He was with the Father before coming to earth. He knows the Father thoroughly. He and the Father are one. He who has seen him has also seen the Father. When he says that he is the way, the truth, and the life, he makes no mere poetic boast. He is telling the absolute truth. We cannot come to the Father (achieve his character) except by going through Jesus. We cannot find the way to acquire the Father’’s character without him. Jesus is the personal revelation of the Father’’s character, the pattern to which we must aspire to and copy if we are to acquire a righteous character. When we wholeheartedly believe Jesus, the way is then opened for our souls; we begin the transformation process that leads us from self to the divine self where we acquire a character like the heavenly Father. We come under the guidance and teaching of the Spirit of Truth, which guides us into the perfect relationship with the heavenly Father.
Moral free will: As we proceed from a known point of material status to an unknown point of spiritual status, we must be able to choose values of a spiritual nature. That is, we must be able to choose the values of a righteous character from the values of an unrighteous character. The righteous character is the character of the heavenly Father as revealed in his Son, Jesus; the unrighteous character is the unspiritualized character with which we begin our journey. And as there are values associated with both the righteous and unrighteous character, we must choose between the two. When we choose righteous values, we are choosing a righteous character, the divine character.
Wholehearted desire to do the Father’’s will: In order for this transmutation to take place in our souls, we must have the wholehearted desire to do the Father’’s will, the desire to be perfect even as he is perfect. We must be willing to submit our wills to the Father’’s will. We must be willing to abide by the divine values that are revealed by the Spirit of Truth. When we desire to supremely abide by the Father’’s will, we will be and do all things that are necessary to achieve this divine perfection.
Characteristics of divine perfection: Again we must look to Jesus to grasp the characteristics of divine perfection. We must look at Jesus moral and spiritual character. And since the spirit of Jesus’’ character, the Spirit of Truth, surrounds our souls, we travel no farther than our souls to view this character of divine perfection. The character of divine perfection is motivated in all of its actions by love and dominated in all of its actions by mercy. Such a character not only chooses that which is right at all times under all circumstances but does so with love. Such a character is divinely unselfish. Such a character is illuminated by worship on the inside and actuated by service on the outside. The fruit of the spirit illuminates his life. Such a person loves God with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength and loves his neighbor as himself, as Jesus loves.
Knowing when we have achieved divine perfection: We have a moral and spiritual pattern within our souls. When we have aligned our moral and spiritual characters matchlessly with the moral and spiritual pattern of the Spirit or Truth, then we have achieved moral and spiritual perfection. When we are motivated by love and dominated by mercy, perfectly submitting our wills to the Father’’s will, choosing divine values over our own, then evil becomes a thing of former times in our lives, since we always choose the good, the Father’’s will. With the Spirit of Truth surrounding our souls, and with our characters matching the character of the Spirit of Truth, there can be no doubt as to our divine sonship and our spiritual perfection. When our will becomes the Father’’s will, then have we achieved divine perfection. When we have perfectly aligned our will to the Father’’s will, then have we achieved perfection. When we have passed through the stages of the will to believe, the will that believes, and have finally become the will that is a revelation of the Father through his Son, Jesus, then have we achieved perfection.
Finally when we hear those congratulatory words in our soul, "This is a beloved son, in whom I am well pleased," then we have achieved divine perfection. We have become an eternal conduit for the Father through his Son, Jesus.
This concludes today's message on understanding the assurances of spiritual perfection. 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.