The sermon on the mount is full of wisdom and balance for weak people walking in an impossible world. So why does God say BE YE THEREFORE PERFECT! “How perfect, you ask?” AS PERFECT AS I AM PERFECT! He responds. Seems like a lot for a weak person to pull off.
What is your personal response to this command? Are you like most Christians who read it and give a nod of assent but do not see it as relevant, just some sort of poetry.
Or do you run right out and strive to be stronger, wiser, more nearly perfect?
Or do you beat yourself up because you are clearly so far from God-like perfection? At least people who beat themselves up, see their weakness, feel dark inside when they look at the truth, are HALF WAY THERE.
The rest of the way is to learn that, although in me dwells no good thing and apart from God I can do nothing, but I am not apart from Him. Because I am in him and hes is in me I am a new creature, there is no condemnation from him towards me, and if he does not condemn, who can? He has done the great alchemy, instead of merely turning lead into gold: (Ephesians 1.6) I have been transformed by his grace and the renewing of his word into someone acceptable, someone who brings praise to the glory of His grace.
Watchman Nee once set himself the task of being dead to sin and alive to God. In the morning he would get up and promise to strive for deadness as the Bible says in Romans 6 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead unto sin but alive to God. In the evening he would look back on his progress and realize that he had fallen far short of the glory of God. He even fasted and prayed for 40 days. (Yes it is possible to drink only water and fast for that long.) Hoping to discover the secret to acting dead to sin and alive to God. He eventually gave up and was eating break-a-fast, when God asked him if he wanted to know the secret to being dead to sin and alive to God? Then God told him, “YOU CAN’T KILL DEAD PEOPLE!”
Imagine that you found a corpse and wanted to kill it. How would you tell when you had finished the job?
Of course my “corpse”, my own flesh has this spooky way of acting alive to sin and dead to God. So what to do?
Watchman decided to claim his deadness/ picture how dead people act/ copy the corpses’ response in his own responses to temptation. At the end of the day he would thank God for his help and that he was ALREADY dead to sin and alive to God. He stopped TRYING TO BECOME dead and instead rested in Christ.
How big is God’s grace? BIG!
If I told you it is about 27 trillion miles to the first star beyond the sun, proxima centari, do you get a picture? No! To get a picture you would need something to compare it to. The fastest object we have been able to hurl into space is going 45,000 miles an hour. That’s about twice around the world in and hour. That would take 45,000 years to get to the first star. Now you have a bit of a picture. That’s far.
How can we picture a grace big enough to handle ALLMY SIN and the rest of mankind’s sin thrown in for bad measure? Well I need a measuring stick.
The measuring stick of Grace is—-> First to see the full height depth and breadth of the mess that I am, no minimizing, no blaming, no watering down, no attempts to balance with good deeds—–>then to SEE AND REST IN THAT FACT THAT GRACE IS BIGGER THAN ALL MY SIN! Wow big big big!
Those who never see glimpses of the debt they owe, who never argue with the apostle Paul as to who is the greatest sinner thinking that surely Paul must be because he said so. They never can appreciate HOW BIG GRACE IS. Their gratitude and zeal is limited to their puny sense of debt. They live in terror of finding out that they are worse than they think. They indulge in comparison with and judgement of others. They resist any feedback from the Holy Spirit or others. They might read the Bible and then jump from doctrinal statements to trying to minister but totally avoid the steps of reproof, correction and equipping.
Dear Lord, help me get a bigger and bigger glimpse of my weakness, foolishness, and the debt I owe.