Recently I have been thinking about some mind blowing text in the Bible which talks about victory over sin and I have been asking myself, “how attainable is character perfection in this present world?”
It is clearly taught in the Bible that all who will be translated from among men at Christ’s second coming must be found without spot, faultless and blameless. (1 Thessalonians 5:23, Revelation 14:1-5). To be among these special group of people, we must now send our sins before hand into the sanctuary that Christ may blot or purge all hereditary and cultivated tendencies to sin from the soul temple and also retain our names in the book of life. We have already entered into the time of the judgment since 1844 October 22; the time when all sins are to be removed from the soul temple as Christ simultaneously cleanses the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary.
If our sins are not sent into judgement for blotting, none can receive the seal of the living God in their forehead in the time of the refreshing of the latter rain. For we were told in Acts 3:19 to repent and be converted that the blotting out of sin can take place in the time of refreshing which will be bestowed from the presence of the Lord.
“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord” Acts 3:19.
The final atonement is both heavenly work and earthly work; christ work and man work. As christ cleanses the most holy place from all sins that is transfered into it, we also must simultaneously cleanse our hearts and mind from all sins which have been accumulated by traditions, customs and habits through the help of the Holy Spirit.
We all must, through the power of the former rain given by the Holy Spirit, overcome daily all our cultivated and inherited tendencies to sin which resides in their hearts.
Christ will not translate any of us if our hearts are full of sinfulness or any bent to do evil. No one will be in heaven with a bent or tendencies to do evil because all who will enter heaven must have attained the same sinlessness that Jesus had; they must be holy within and without. Therefore all must strive to overcome every selfishness, evil tendencies, cultivated habits and wicked ways. This is not a joking matter; it is a life and death issue. Christ will not accept 99.9% victory because 0.01% is putting heaven at risk. The Lord has promised to “make an utter end” of all afflication, adversity, trouble, sin and they “shall not rise up the second time.” Nahum 1:9.
Therefore, we all are to strive to enter heaven, looking unto Jesus our forerunner as our example. To strive is to go against what the flesh desire and do the works of the Spirit. Jesus have given us no assurance that we will attain to this state of perfection in a smooth ride but he has given us 100% assurance that whosoever take hold of His strength of victory shall find peace during this race to perfection. (Isaiah 27:5).
“But Christ has given us no assurance that to attain perfection of character is an easy matter. A noble, all-round character is not inherited. It does not come to us by accident. A noble character is earned by individual effort through the merits and grace of Christ. God gives the talents, the powers of the mind; we form the character. It is formed by hard, stern battles with self. Conflict after conflict must be waged against hereditary tendencies. We shall have to criticize ourselves closely, and allow not one unfavorable trait to remain uncorrected.“– Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 331, par. 1.
As i have previously noted, according to the quote, to attain a perfect character is through “individual effort” and “through the merits and grace of Christ.” Man must cooperate with heavenly agencies as he wage “conflict after conflict” against the sinful hereditary tendencies. All must seriously and sincerely criticize themselves closely and allow not one blemish, stain, wrong habit, wrong feelings, sinful thoughts, guile remain uncorrected. This must be done daily, hourly and every minutes.
They must heed to the words of Paul: “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? (2 Corinthians 13:5) Many christians are waiting for a miracle in their lives that will remove the filthiness in their soul. This, I say, will never happen. It is a false expectation that will never come to fulfillment.
It is true that there is no merit in our work. Nothing that we do earn us righteousness, for “by grace are ye saved through faith.” Ephesians 2:8. But yet the Bible is abundantly clear that we are judged and receive our rewards on the basis of our works. “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.” Matthew 16:27 (see Revelation 22:12, 1 Peter 1:17, Romans 2:6). Our works, deeds, effort, actions does not atone for our sins, but our cooperation with God is needed in attaining perfection of character. We must demonstrate to the fallen world and to the devil that we have Christ abiding in us and through Christ we can workout our salvation with fear and trembling.
Faith in christ is acting upon God’s word and living by every word that proceed out of the mouth of God. Faith is not idleness or inaction. Faith is action. Faith works by love and love is the fulfilling [keeping] of the Law. (Galatians 5:6; Romans 13:10). I often give this analogy to explain what faith is:
If you are in a lecture hall full of students and some group of police officers ran into the hall informing all to go out of the hall as a result of a time bomb which had been planted in the lecture hall by a terrorist and the time bomb could be seen by all in the lecture hall. Let me ask: “Will you remain sitted in the hall despite believing that a bomb was actually planted in the hall and the police officers are round to detonate the bomb, or will you run out of the hall despite believing that a bomb was actually planted?” Am sure a sensible person will flee from the hall as quick as possible despite believing that the bomb is about to be detonated by the police officers.
WHAT IS HOLINESS?
Faith is acting out what God has revealed to us in his Word and Testimonies. This faith is what lead us to a state of holy lifestyle. “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14). This is not an option. This is a command without which we cannot see God.
“Holiness is agreement with God”– Testimonies vol. 5, p. 743.
“Holiness is not rapture; it is the result of surrendering all to God; it is doing the will of our heavenly Father.”– Thoughts from the mount of blessing, p. 149.
“Holiness is wholeness for God; it is the entire surrender of heart and life to the indwelling of the principles of heaven.”– Desire of Ages, p. 555.
HOW DO WE PERFECT HOLINESS?
“Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” 2 Corinthians 7:1
This text is powerful. It has come to be one of my favorite text on victory over sin. Paul gave a simple ways to perfect holiness. After one have been justified by grace through faith (imputed holiness), he or she had just begone the race of holiness, he or she now must live the life of Christ, he must take the following steps to enjoy the sanctified life (imparted holiness):
1. Having the promise of God: We must have the promises of God stored in the heart and not just a head knowledge. All must have a daily settling into the truth of the word of God intellectually and spiritually that they may not be moved to sin. This promises are gotten from the word of God. They are divine. They are powerful and sharper than any two edged swords (Hebrews 4:12). These promises are the words of God by which all must live on. We must have these promises stored in the heart that we might not sin against God. Said the Psalmist, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Psalm 119:11. This was Christ’s method in overcoming. Since the word is from God and not from man, we can rightfully say this is God’s helping hand to make us holy unto perfection. It is the word that sanctifies the soul and sanctification is holiness (1 Peter 1:22,23).
2. Cleanse yourself: The next step is the role that you and I are to play. The text we are considering above says, “Let us cleanse ourselves,” it didn’t say, sit back and watch Christ cleanse you. Rather the emphasis is on us cleansing ourselves. Some one may say, “You are working out your salvation without the help of Christ. This is legalism.” This is not so! Faith, has we have explained previously, is action: acting out the word of God. James also gave a similar counsel: “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” James 4:8. Again we see a similar instruction to cleanse our hands and purify our hearts.
Does this mean we have a cleansing agent of our own to make this possible? Definitely not. What do Paul and James mean by us cleansing and purifying ourselves? David gave the answer. David asked the same question and the Holy Spirit gave him the answer: “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.” Psalms 119:9.
According to Strong’s Definition, “to take heed” in hebrew is “שׁמר” or “shâmar” which literally means any of the following “to hedge about (as with thorns), that is, guard ; generally to protect, attend to, etc.: – beware, be circumspect, take heed (to self), keep (-er, self), mark, look narrowly, observe, preserve, regard, reserve, save (self), sure, (that lay) wait (for), watch (-man).” That means if any one seek to have his life cleanse in this world he or she must build an hedge round about his heart with the word of God by observing and keeping all that the word says. Also he must hedge out anything that will defile his heart such as impure pictures, songs, words, etc. Jesus will not do this for us. In fact his blood that cleanses from sin will not benefit us if we do not accept it by faith.
3. Filthiness of the flesh and spirit: What are we to cleanse ourselves of? We are to cleanse ourselves from the filthiness of the flesh and of the spirit. What filthiness? Outward filthiness (in the flesh) and inward filthiness (in the spirit or heart). Man is made up of flesh and spirit. God wants us to be purified not only inwardly, but also outwardly. Must of us know the inward cleansing. This is purifying our hearts from evil thoughts, wicked thoughts and sinful hereditary tendencies. This inward cleansing is both the work of Christ and man. The cleansing agents are the blood, the word and the Holy Spirit. These three will not benefit us if we do not cooperate with Christ.
The area must often neglected is the cleansing of the flesh (the outward part). The flesh is the body and the body has been bought with a the blood of jesus.
“Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6:18-20
One way the body or flesh can be defile or made filthy is through sexual sin such as fornication, adultery, masturbation and having lustful desires by watching pornography movies or sexual content movies.
What we eat could also defile our body and make it filthy. Daniel understand this principle. “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.” Daniel 1:8. Defilement of the flesh is connected to diet. This aspect is broad which I might create a time to write upon.
To attain perfection unto holiness we must have a clean heart and flesh. The clean flesh is not the same as holy flesh or immortal flesh but a flesh undefiled of sinful habits or unclean food. Let us walk in the spirit and make no provision for the lust of the flesh.