True Christian living requires us to live according to Kingdom standards which bring Heaven to earth
By: Frank L. Hoffman
Jesus said, "Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5:48)
Chapter 19N -Judging Oneself
(Wesley's writings are in bold)
In this chapter of our discussion of John Wesley’s A Plain Account of Christian Perfection, Wesley is asked a very important question during the conference.
"Question. When may a person judge himself to have attained this?
"Answer. When, after having been fully convinced of inbred sin, by a far deeper and clearer conviction than that he experienced before justification, and after having experienced a gradual mortification of it, he experiences a total death to sin, and an entire renewal in the love and image of God, so as to rejoice evermore, to pray without ceasing, and in everything to give thanks. Not that 'to feel all love and no sin' is a sufficient proof. Several have experienced this for a time, before their souls were fully renewed. None, therefore, ought to believe that the work is done till there is added the testimony of the Spirit, witnessing his entire sanctification as clearly as his justification.
In Romans 3:23, Paul writes, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," which seems to convey the message that if we are truly honest with our self-analysis, we will never judge ourselves to be totally perfect.
I’ve used the following expression to describe my own journey toward Christian perfection: "The closer I get to God, the farther I realize I am from Him." Since God is absolutely holy and righteous, and our journey to perfection is based upon His perfection, we come to see ourselves in that perfect light. The closer we get to God, spiritually, the more His light shines ever more brightly upon us, and the more it discloses to us our innermost thoughts and actions, even those we have hidden from ourselves.
Anything within our nature that doesn’t come up to the perfection of God separates us from God. Thus, the closer we move toward God’s perfection, the more we see ourselves as God sees us, the good along with those imperfections that remain, especially those we have previously never noticed or considered to be imperfections.
We must not overlook the good in our lives while "beating ourselves up" about some "pet sin" or our inability to control all of our emotions. The good in our lives helps us to move forward while working at eliminating our imperfections. "Beating ourselves up" focuses our energies on our imperfections rather than on our perfection, thus putting the brakes on our journey toward Christian perfection.
We should constantly be raising the bar of perfection in our own lives, so that every day we work at seeking to eliminate those things (temptations and irritations) in our lives that are not in the will of God. This is the repentant state in which we seek to sin no more and when we are most likely to hear the still small voice of the Holy Spirit guiding us.
This does not mean that God’s grace is any less important in our salvation, but it means that we are less likely to cheapen His grace by asking for forgiveness for sinful actions we are not really willing to give up.
This is when we truly come to know what it really means to judge ourselves in the light of Christian perfection.
The prophet Isaiah reached out in the Spirit of God and saw the perfection of God reestablished in the Peaceable Kingdom, and he wrote (Isaiah 11:6-9 NASV):
And the wolf will dwell with the lamb,
And the leopard will lie down with the kid,
And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together;
And a little boy will lead them.
Also the cow and the bear will graze;
Their young will lie down together;
And the lion will eat straw like the ox.
And the nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra,
And the weaned child will put his hand on the viper's den.
They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain,
For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
As the waters cover the sea.
© 2001-2004 - The Mary T. and Frank L. Hoffman Family Foundation. All rights reserved. May be copied only for personal use or by not for profit organizations to promote compassionate and responsible living. All copied and reprinted material must contain proper credits and web site link www.all-creatures.org .
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Chapter 19O – Can We Imagine Ourselves Sanctified when
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