Share This Episode
The Bible Study Hour James Boice Logo

Perfection for Saints

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
September 19, 2021 8:00 am

Perfection for Saints

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 586 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

September 19, 2021 8:00 am

An old song tells us what the world needs now is love, sweet love. The world certainly does need love, but just what kind of love does the world really need, and where and how can it be found? Join Dr. James Boice on The Bible Study Hour as he looks at Jesus’ perspective on love and loving our enemies from His Sermon on the Mount.

Sound of Faith
Sharon Hardy Knotts and R. G. Hardy
Leading the Way
Michael Youssef
Destined for Victory
Pastor Paul Sheppard
Insight for Living
Chuck Swindoll
Matt Slick Live!
Matt Slick
Renewing Your Mind
R.C. Sproul

Someone once said to a Christian teacher. If God's passing score is 75. I will make it one of God's passing score isn't 75. One of his standard is perfection. Christ's command to be perfect is a devastating proclamation against all human attempts to enter heaven. Yet that short directive may be the single most important verse in the entire sermon on the Mount are welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically.

If we would properly understand this hard saying of Jesus DE perfect we could understand the essence of all his other teaching, but how are we to understand can mortal man perfect, listen dollars. Dr. Boyce explains God's simple answer to this most perplexing human question at an early point in the sermon on the mount, the Lord Jesus Christ taught that if a man is to enter heaven, he must possess a greater measure of righteousness or goodness, then that righteousness possessed by the scribes and Pharisees, who were the most religious. Send respected men of his day as he taught this doctrine, a person might easily have said you teach that a man can only enter heaven if his goodness exceeds the goodness of the scribes and Pharisees, all right then, how much in excess of their righteousness must save man's righteousness be the Pharisees can be credited with having attained 70 or 75% of the standard. What must our goodness be is 76% sufficient or is 80% necessary. How good must a saved person be to these questions. Jesus now answers with a statement that is devastating to all human attempts to earn heaven, and which is meant to turn men away from all man-made attempts at salvation to God's grace. Jesus said, in summary of all his previous teaching be ye therefore perfect, even as your father was in heaven is perfect. I believe that this verse is the most important single verse in the sermon on the Mount. It's the climax of the first of the sermons. Three great chapters and its almost the midpoint of pinnacle from which much of the later teaching follows. I believe that if you can understand this verse you understand the essence of all the Jesus Christ is teaching. What's more, you understand the heart of the Christian gospel and of the Bible generally know what does it mean. Be ye therefore perfect, even as your father who is in heaven is perfect. What is perfection. The first and the best way to answer this question is by studying the words that are translated perfection in the old and new Testaments. The first word is Tom or Tommy is Hebrew it means to be entirely without defect door without blemish.

Thus it's used of the sacrificial animals that were to be without blemish and without spot. It has a negative connotation. The second word is Shaolin which means the whole or complete. This word speaks of perfection in a positive sense is Shaolin is related to the common Hebrew greeting shalom, which means peace. It suggests the ideas of security soundness and well-being in the New Testament. The major word for perfection is telling us this word means complete, as when a ship is fitted out perfectly for see your legion of soldiers is equipped in all respects for battle. The moral realm. The word means blameless when these various definitions of the word are put together. They show us that God's standard for a man is complete and utter moral rectitude is to have nothing lacking all that he should be, and he is to have no blemishes. In short, is to be as blameless as the Lord Jesus Christ. Of course, when we said this. We also made it clear that no one lives up to the standard because old man fall short of such perfection. And in doing so, they show themselves to be sinners. This is what sin is, after all.

Romans 323 says for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.

The verb in that verse is a word taken from the practice of archery and refers to the arrows of those who fall short of and therefore missed the target other words, the target was to be set up at one end of a football field. All of the archers were to line up the other end of the football field and shoot their arrows. The verb would refer to the shots of all those who did not reach the target. The verse says that this is what all men have done. God's standard is a bull's-eye and no one has hit it old man fall short. Consequently, no one will ever enter heaven by his own efforts as you say will and what is a person to do what what am I to do. The answer is that you must turn away from your own efforts completely and you must receive the perfection which God is already taken steps to provide for you as a gift, nothing that you ever do will be perfect, only God is perfectly what God does is perfect. Therefore, if you're to reach the perfection that God requires must be is the result of his working for you and in you in the course of my preparation for this study.

As I looked up all the verses in the Bible that speak about perfection, I came across a paragraph that I had never noticed before but which was striking to me, chiefly because it makes this point so succinctly in the 18th Psalm David speaks of perfection twice, once of God's perfection and once of man's and the point of the verses is that God is responsible for both kinds.

Verse 30 David writes. As for God's way is perfect. Then to verses further on, he adds, it is God who girded me with strength and maketh my way perfect. Who is God. God is the one who was perfect and what does he do God works to perfect sinful man now. How does he do it. That's the question the answer to that question is a tremendous answer because it involves the whole counsel of God is several parts. First, God begins by perfecting the record second. He works at perfecting us in this life.

And third, he perfects us completely and always at the moment of our death.

Let's look at those one at a time. First, how does God work to perfect the record and what does that mean anyhow. Will the background. What that means is to be found in the fact that sin consists in for more than what it does merely to the individual sinner. Sin involves others and sin is an offense to God's justice, it cannot be ignored or even simply forgiven it must be dealt with. Consequently, God the father sent God the son to die for the sin of others bearing sin's penalty and canceling all claims of justice against the sinner forever is the meaning of the cross of Jesus Christ is not simply an example, still less a meaningless tragedy. It is the place at which on punished sin and canceled its claims against all who should believe in Jesus, the author of Hebrews speaks of this aspect of God's work of perfecting his children when he writes for by one offering he and his Christ hath perfected forever them that are sanctified of the second way in which God works to perfect the believer is to begin to perfect him more and more in this life and this too is necessary is true that the believer has been perfected forever by his faith in Christ didn't one sentence but is equally true that he is fuller from perfect in another sense, Paul knew this was when he wrote to the Philippians he wrote of two distinct types of perfection.

He said not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect, but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus, and practically in the next breath he adds, let us therefore as many as be perfect, be thus minded clearly, although he knew that the record had already been cleared before God on the basis of his faith in Christ. Nevertheless, he was still aware of the practical work of his being perfected that still lay before him how each Christian should also find this to be true in his own experience when a person first believes in Jesus Christ as Savior. He normally has a great sense of joy and gratitude to God for removing the penalty of sin. Sin that had previously condemned him. He's thankful he's liberated the same time, however, and quite apart from these things. He's still not much different in terms of his natural inclinations and his conduct and his thoughts than he was previously before he believed the gospel. He was filled with many wrong ideas about who God was and what he was like he was wrong about himself and about what God required of him. He had bad habits now use saved but many of these wrong ideas. These wrong actions remain. What's to happen. Well, he is to begin to learn that many of these things must now change these to develop a distaste for sin, then hunger for righteousness. In other words, is to experience the second aspect of God's work of perfecting this does not mean that the man is getting better and better so that the day will come when you be able to say that he no longer sends some Christians must've said this in John's day because he wrote to them, saying, if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us other words, were fooling ourselves and were lying. It actually means that the man is becoming more and more aware of his sinfulness. As a result, is becoming more and more ready to turn to God daily and sometimes hourly forgiveness and cleansing sleep. The old principle of the seesawing theology. The principle that of God is up in theology. Man is down, and of man is up. God is down both never be up or down at the same time. Some persons have man up, always talking about how well man is doing within have a very small God because is not much need of him as man can manage so well by himself, others, ones who know their Bibles have man down when they do that then God is everything.

He becomes increasingly wonderful to them that is what God wants and he wants it because he knows that as we get lower. He will get higher and we will look up to him for the help, strength and encouragement that we so desperately need all the final stage of God's work in perfecting the saints is to perfect them completely in the moment of their deaths. Of course it's this that transforms death for Christians death is an enemy. Even the Bible calls it that. But it is also the portal to that total perfection that we shall never know in this life local death again when he compared the life of eternity to the continuation of this life.

He said that the first was far better. Paul knew the death brings the believer into the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ and he knew that it results in the believers becoming Christ like he becomes like Jesus in holiness, knowledge, love, wisdom, humility, obedience, and in all of his other perfections that is salvation. It is past, present and future, and most it touches every aspect of our living.

I want to give you one more verse on the subject and it's a great first because it teaches that God's purposes in this process that I've been describing our absolutely unshakable and that therefore what God is begun in the moment of your salvation. He will work to continue throughout life versus Philippians 16 being confident of this very thing, that he went begun a good work and you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. Other words, if you're a believer in Jesus Christ. God has already begun the work of perfecting you because God does not change his purposes will not change God never begins a thing that he does not intend to finish using what this means one thing, it means that no one who is believed in Jesus Christ will ever be lost. Were you the one who was responsible for your becoming a Christian. Not at all was God. He called you he straightened out the record, if there was ever a moment in your life in which you seem to be seeking God was only because he was there before hand moving you to do it. That's why we sing i.e. sought the Lord and afterword, I knew he moved my soul to see Kim seeking me was not I found all Savior true no, I was found of the God finds us. God calls us God perfects us and God never begins. The thing that he does not intend to finish second means that you will inevitably become like Jesus.

What is the verse eight says he went begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. What is a good work. Well, the answer is not given very clearly here in Philippians but it's given very clearly in the book of Romans chapter 8 verses 28 and 29 Paul speaks of God's great purpose and calling the Christian which is the says to be conformed to the image of his son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Just think of that. It means that God is so delighted with Jesus Christ, that he is set the whole course of the creation of human history and motion. Just so that he could callout a race of sinful human beings put his life within them and then transform them to be like his dear son. The result is to be that there will then be millions of Christ's, where there was only one before. This is not mean that will become divine, of course, Bible doesn't teach that. But we shall be like him. We shall be like the Lord Jesus, we shall be so.

Inevitably, because it is God himself who does the transforming. The third thing. This verse teaches is that God will not give up in his purpose of making you like Jesus Christ. Even though you may want him to give up.

Of course there are times when you will, they will come in your Christian experience when you will soon find that you like it to say to yourself I think I would just like to keep on sinning. In this way will what will happen then the answer is that God will begin work on your they will begin to poke you pride you whittle you even knock you around a bit of necessary into you get out of your sin back in the way that he has marked out for you. Moreover, the prodding will get rougher and rougher as long as you persist in your own way. Why because God must be true to his own nature and his nature is set against sin.

He loves you but he must lead. You are right you must be true to his purposes and his great purpose is to make you like the Lord Jesus as far back as in the book of Hosea. There's a picture of how God did this with the Jewish people in Hosea's day, the people of been disobedient and gone and been forced to judge them for their sin.

Yet he continued to love them so he says that he is going to come to them like a moth gently in order to get them back to himself.

He says therefore will I be on to Ephraim like a moth and the house of Judah like rottenness, however, says God is real will not repent.

Well then I will be under Ephraim like a lion and like a young lion to the house of Judah.

I even I will tear and go away. I will take away an unusual rescue him. It is a great principal gone is deep threatened to leave you in righteousness when you see and he will deal gently if he can, but he will also deal roughly if he must in fact he will even break your life in little pieces. If he is forced to do it all Christian learn this great lesson and do not force God to come to you as the roaring and ravaging liar. Learn to recognize the fluttering's of the loss. Those slight inconveniences. Those little failures that restlessness that miscarriage of your plans that warn you of God's displeasure at your present course of action and of his desire to turn you back to himself.

If you learn that you will go on from strength to strength, then you will rejoice that he who has begun a good work in you will keep on perfecting it until the day of the Lord Jesus Christ and our father, we thank you for your great purpose in our lives, which is to make us like the Lord Jesus. There are those listening today would not taken the first step of belief in the Lord Jesus Christ as their own Savior and Lord, give them great restlessness until they come to him there some who know you but are persisting in sin will prompt them until they yield to your own perfect way. Bless all who know you and bless especially all who love you fervently and who look for that moment when they will become like Jesus Christ, forever. We pray in Jesus name, amen. You're listening to the Bible study hours between the teaching of Dr. James Boyce if you'd like to learn more about Christ teaching on perfection we be pleased to send you a free CD entitled perfect salvation by the late Dr. Donald Gray Barnhouse is free CD offers our way of saying thanks for listening. Give us a call at 1-800-488-1888 will send you a copy of perfect salvation straightaway that number again is 1-800-488-1888 God's word never returns void and there are many ways through which his word is proclaimed today radio and Internet broadcasts reach many with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Would you help us to continue broadcasting Dr. voices messages by making a generous donation you can also call us directly are numbers 1-800-488-1888 or if you prefer mail a check to the Bible study our 600 Eden Rd., Lancaster, PA 17601. We thank you for your generous support, think and act biblically is Dr. voices daily devotional that corresponds with the message you just heard on the Bible study our read and subscribe to think and act hi Mark Daniels thank you for listening in the world believes charity arises from the natural goodness of the human spirit. The true charity came into the world to Christianity as a byproduct of a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. This is Dr. James Boyce explores the roots of true charity and its effects upon the human race. That's next time on the Bible study our repairing you to think and act biblically

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime