‘You shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect’ (Matthew 5:48). Is this possible? Do we not struggle just to do the right thing, and follow the Lord as best we can? ‘And be holy. Without holiness no one will see the Lord’ (Hebrews 12:14). Surely this is asking too much? Only God can be truly holy?
‘The Lord looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are ... any who seek God. All have turned away ... There is no one who does good, not even one’ (Psalm 14:2-3), ‘for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23). Is this not the tragedy of mankind today? Where are we heading? Have we lost the way? Are we doomed to a Godless eternity?
‘Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers ... nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God’ (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).
Perhaps we need to kneel alongside David and the Apostle Paul, and cry out with them, ‘Have mercy on me, O God ... Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight ... My sin is always before me’ (Psalm 51:1-4). ‘O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?’ (Romans 7:24).
But, take heart. ‘For, by one sacrifice He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy’ (Hebrews 10:14). ‘It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us ... our righteousness, holiness and redemption’ (1 Corinthians 1:30). As we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Saviour we receive the fullness of all that He achieved by His death and resurrection. Perfection and holiness have been won for us on the cross of sacrifice, ‘so that ... you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires’ (2 Peter 1:4).
Furthermore, ‘You were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God’ (1 Corinthians 6:11). ‘There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ ... for the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death’ (Romans 8:1-2).
Jesus came, not to abolish the law, but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17). He became the ransom for our liberty: ‘The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord’ (Romans 6:23). ‘Thanks be to God!’ (Romans 7:25).
Prayer: Lord, show me how to walk in Your holiness. I know that in myself there is nothing worthy of Your love, so it’s with deep humility that I receive Your grace. Help me to see myself as You see me, and to live accordingly, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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