We have recently been studying the issue of perfection, as set forth in God’s Word. Our focus has been on what perfection means in the life of man. And we have learned that it has several nuances of meaning related to completeness, maturity, fullness, completion. In the Ministry of the Holy Spirit+ today, Mary Eklund read from Malachi 3: 16-17a, and it reminds us of God’s desire for us to be focused on him, “Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord listened and heard them; so a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who meditate on His name. ‘They shall be mine,’ says the Lord of hosts.” And it shows us God’s reaction if we will but fear Him and meditate on His name. So, today, I ask you, and the Holy Spirit+ asks you, to enter upon a season of not being so focused on your selves, but of being focused on God and who He is.
Today, the Holy Spirit has invited us to focus on God, and who He is, by studying what “perfection” is in God, not just what it is in man. Those same nuances of completeness, maturity, fullness and completion apply in that concept of perfection in God.
Our God, the Godhead of the Holy Trinity (God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit), is perfect in all His ways. We sing that song of praise, with the phrase, “You are perfect in all Your ways!” What does that mean in God?
We people are so focused on ourselves, and our personal issues, that we lose sight of God’s perfection. Sometimes, for one reason or another – and not necessarily all bad reasons – we substitute focus on God for focus on ourselves, and we always lose something important in the process, no matter how pure might be our motives, and that something we lose sight of is God’s perfection. And when we lose sight of that we lose the priority in our lives of awe of Him, our Creator, we lose the sense of majesty in our attitude towards God. We may even lose our sense of fear of God, as we consider ourselves instead of God.
It’s easy enough to understand how we lose sight of God if we willingly engage in sin, how we would obviously engage in de- prioritizing God if we place our sin above God.
But, as I said, our motives may not even always be evil, for us to lose sight of God, or to de-prioritize Him. For example, we might get out of balance in our business of trying to understand grace and receive forgiveness. We might get out of balance in dealing with sin and guilt. We might get out of balance in harboring and nurturing some grudge against another. All in all, we might get out of balance, in our self-focus, even in seeking our own maturing, our own perfecting by cleansing ourselves of all filthiness of flesh and spirit, as we seek to perfect holiness in ourselves (II Corinthians 7:1). Our short-coming in all this is that we take God off His throne in our daily focus, or we don’t see Him on His throne and we don’t keep focus on God and his majesty, even if we modestly think we aren’t putting ourselves on a throne.
The Holy Spirit has given me the example of someone who wants to deliver needed medicine or supplies to people far off through a wilderness. If that messenger gathers the supplies, and starts off, head-down, with an overwhelming focus on just going
on the mission, and does not keep looking at his sign posts, his mile markers, his goal – basically, at where he is going – what do you think the odds are that he will get lost and not achieve his mission? Pretty high odds, right? Because then he is left only with the odds of randomness of whether he will get where he is supposed to go.
So, today, the Holy Spirit wants us to pause from the business of our own maturing, of our own naval-gazing, and to review and renew our perspective of God: To renew our awareness of what that perspective of God is for us, and thus to sustain us in keeping that perspective of God, in keeping those priorities in balance as we walk our journey, our mission, in life.
The foundation of God’s perfection rests in who God is. God is Love (I John 4:8). Then, I Corinthians 13:13 reminds us, indeed it teaches us, the importance of love, and its supremacy among those spiritual things that last, that “abide”: “And now abide faith, hope and love, these three, but the greatest of these is love.” This teaches us, right off, that of all the spiritual things, the greatest is Love, and that, my friends, is God. We mere humans aspire to Love – it is a verb for us – “to love”, but God is Love – it is a noun in application to Him. Love is the purest essence of who
God is. Because it is a verb for us, we sort of have to work at it, but because it is a noun for God, He does not have to work at that, as it is just who it is. You know, when we look, even when non- believers look, at someone with a particular talent, we/they often say something like, “Look at his natural talent – in music, athletics, or art; it’s in him, and it is so easy for him: makes the rest of us look inept.” That is sort of the way it is with God and who He is. His Loveness, the who He is, Love, makes it so easy for Him to love us, to move that nouness of being into the verbness of doing. For us, it is the other way around, we are not love in our being, and we struggle with moving from our verbness of loving into our nouness of being love. Get it?
And because the Lord our God is not just consumed with Love for us, but is, Himself, Love, He is jealous for us, and for the devotedness of our attentions to Him, as our god, and to no other god, not even to the “god” of our selfishness or self-centeredness.
Now, understanding the essence and the fullness of the Godhead is not just a little intellectual game of punning about nouns and verbs. This is critical to understanding what we are up against in our efforts to rid ourselves of all filthiness of flesh and spirit, of perfecting holiness in fear or awe of God. When it is said that we must overcome ourselves and our flesh it is true, because the essence of what we must overcome is that we are not, in essence and by definition, Love. If we were Love, like God is, we would not have to overcome ourselves and be something other than Love, we would already be there.
And when we stop and think about that one thing – our being-ness as compared to God’s being-ness, we should take a deep breath and put on a new, or renewed perspective: see how different God is from us, and why we must keep our eyes on Him, on His throne as we are on our walk, our mission, our journey in life. In that perspective, we are deeply impressed that the source of God’s perfection is His being-ness, His Love-ness, and that out of that flow all of the things He, who is also omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent, does for us.
And we should be deeply impressed, also, by the corresponding truth, fact if you will, from I Corinthians 15: 42-50, of these almost unbelievable differences between us and God, that because of that difference in our being-ness from God’s being- ness, we are born corrupt and, (John 3: 16), because God so loved, out of His being-ness of Love, the whole world that He gave us Jesus for the propitiation of our sins and sin natures, that, through
Christ, we are repaired, we are raised up, after our journey, our walk, our mission on earth, as heavenly beings without corruption. It reminds us of the song we sang today, this phrase from the song, “You took the fall and thought of me, above all.” Why did He is perfect take the fall for us who are imperfect? That is God’s perfection in His grace. Now, Here’s that scripture, I Corinthians 15: 42-50, “The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being.’ The last Adam became a live-giving spirit.
However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall (as Christians) also bear the image of the heavenly Man. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption.” (I Corinthians 15: 57), “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Out of His being-ness of Love, God covers, in Christ, all of our sins. (Proverbs 10:12).
He teaches us by His example to mature into the perfection of holiness: that the way we rid ourselves of all filthiness of flesh and spirit is by Love, love of God, fellow-believers and even enemies:
- Matthew 22: 36-38, “ ‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?’ Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’”.
- John 15:12, “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”
- And Matthew 5: 44, “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.”
And thus, through those three Scriptures, we see, clearly, how God’s love is supposed to impact and propel our lives into heaven, through how we live on earth, in the verbness of our Love, and this impact is summarized in I Corinthians 5; 14-15, “For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died: and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.”
These things we have studied today are the ways and things of God’s perfection – He is perfect in all His ways – that we should continue in awe and reverence to study. God is marvelous, and we should marvel at His perfection in all His ways.
Out of these types of meditations of our heart, on the fullness of the Godhead, of really understanding and embracing who God is, Love, and how he applies that to us and calls us to apply that to Him, to our fellow-believers and even unto our enemies, we are stimulated, even compelled as we just read, to radically change our own lives that we live for Christ, knowing that to live is Christ and to die is gain (Philippians 1: 21).
And out of this study of God’s God-ness, His Love-ness, His being-ness, our hearts are nurtured and transformed from glory to glory, and we will come to understand that Commandment from the Book of Exodus, 34: 14, “(for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God)”, we shall come to understand that, before an almighty and everlasting God
we should be quite slow to thumb our noses at His jealousy, His jealous-ness, which is the attitudinal manifestation of God as Love.
But He gave us Free Will and Free Choice, He just desperately wants us to come to Him, to draw nigh to Him (James 4: 8), in the decisions we make in Love, and He, in Love, will draw nigh to us. Hallelujah!!
There is none like Him in heaven or earth, none who is Love. Let us meditate upon Him, marvel and wonder at His Love-ness, and, indeed as the commandment says, worship Him. If you will just take a little time away from fixing your self, and re-focus your perspective and priority on God, you will find it much easier to carry out your personal missions of perfecting holiness in yourselves, while loving God, your fellow-believers and even your enemies, as you by example and teaching disciple the whole world, one by one. God is perfect in all His ways, and it is because He is Love, and He calls us to be so edified in the perfection of all His ways, Ephesians 4: 13, that “we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect (complete or mature) man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”