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March 2017

PRAY TO BE PERFECT

“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever.” – Hebrews 13:20,21
 
Dr. H. Lockyer writes:
 
“What an inspiration and a benediction this prayer for perfection contains! All Paul’s wishes for the Hebrew Christians are swallowed up in this consuming passion—TO DO HIS WILL.  This is the simple yet sublime end he emphasizes.  The apostle prayed thus because the glory of God demands it, and our own happiness depends upon conformity to the will of God.
 
Let us not be afraid of the word “perfect” used in this verse. The word is translated “fitted”.  At the heart of the term there is the idea of being “fit”.  This is what the apostle prays for here.  He wanted those Hebrew converts (and us) to be “fit,” ready to do God’s will or to suffer for it.  Paul had in mind “not a perfection of doing,” but “a perfect desire to do God’s will.”
 
Once we are saved by grace, our one desire then should be to live in obedience to God’s Word, not to save us, but because we have been saved.
 
Oswald Chambers writes:
 
“Christian perfection is not, and never can be, human perfection.  Christian perfection is the perfection of a relationship with God that shows itself to be true even amid the seemingly unimportant aspects of human life; and amongst the difficulties and trials of life.”
 
The person who tries for “human perfection” is always focused on self and trying to be good enough; when all the time Christ was good enough, and out of gratitude and love, I now joyfully live to do His will!
 
Paul writes: “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” – Philippians 3:12   
 
In other words, grace comes from our being apprehended by Jesus Christ. It is not our laying hold of Christ first, but His laying hold of us, (from beginning to end) which is our happiness and salvation. 
 
“We love Him because He first loved us.” – 1 John 4:9
 
We just need to keep hold of the truth that “…I don’t have a righteousness of my own, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.” – Philippians 3:9
 
“We are kept by His mighty power through faith unto salvation.” – 1 Peter 1:5
 
Beverley Carter 

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