True Christian living requires us to live according to Kingdom standards which bring Heaven to earth.
A commentary on John Wesley's A Plain Account of Christian Perfection
By: Frank L. Hoffman
Jesus said, "Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."
(Wesley's writings are in bold)
In this section of John Wesley’s A Plain Account of Christian Perfection, we are going to look at another question posed at the conference. As we look at the question of what a person who is perfected, or in the process of being perfected, in God’s love, does, we also need to consider what such a person would not do.
"Question. But what does the perfect one do more than others? more than the common believers?
"Answer. Perhaps nothing; so may the providence of God have hedged him in by outward circumstances. Perhaps not so much, though he desires and longs to spend and be spent for God; at least, not externally: he neither speaks so many words, nor does so many works. As neither did our Lord himself speak so many words, or do so many, no, nor so great works, as some of his apostles (John 14:12).
Even though Wesley’s answer seems to imply that John 14:12 applies only to the apostles of Jesus, it doesn’t; and I don’t believe Wesley intended his answer to limit "great works" to the apostles only. Let’s take a look at this verse.
12. "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. (NASU)
Even though Jesus is talking to His disciples, the way He expresses His thoughts indicates that His message is not limited to them alone (as the reading of the chapter indicates), but to all who believe. What is the greatest work that any of us can do in the world around us? I believe it’s to love unconditionally.
Think about Paul’s definition of love (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a):
4. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
5. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails.
If those who are being perfected in God’s love (assuming for the moment that none are fully perfected) live this way, they will always seek to do no harm either emotionally or physically. Even if they forget and do something in anger or from forgetfulness, they will see the error of their way, and seek to correct it. And, when we add in our modern technology, we can easily see that we can reach out further than Jesus was able to while incarnate upon this earth.
Before continuing on with this thought, let’s look at the rest of Wesley’s answer.
"But what then? This is no proof that he has not more grace; and by this God measures the outward work. Hear ye him: 'Verily, I say unto you, this poor widow has cast in more than them all.' [Mark 12:43, Luke 21:3] Verily, this poor man, with his few broken words, hath spoken more than them all. Verily, this poor woman, that hath given a cup of cold water, hath done more than them all. O cease to 'judge according to appearance,' and learn to 'judge righteous judgement'! [John 7:24]
We can all do at least this much. But if we put our minds to the task, we can do a lot more.
I doubt whether any of us have been able to multiply bread to feed five thousand people, as Jesus did; but we can surely feed people with the word of life, love, and compassion. In just a single day on the Internet, we are spreading the word to more than five thousand people. A published letter to the editor will reach thousands of people.
We can all do something to make this world more loving and compassionate for our fellow human beings, for the animals, and for the environment, by being peacemaking children of God (Matthew 5:9). And, in the process we will lead them to the Lord.