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Text: II Corinthians 13:11
by Rev. T. Ray Cole, Sr
You may have heard the story about a perfect man who met a perfect woman. After a perfect courtship, they had a perfect wedding. Their life together was, of course, perfect. One snowy, stormy Christmas Eve this perfect couple was driving along a winding road when they noticed someone at the roadside in distress. Being the perfect couple, they stopped to help. There stood Santa Claus with a huge bundle of toys. Not wanting to disappoint any children on the eve of Christmas, the perfect couple loaded Santa and his toys into their vehicle. Soon they were driving along delivering the toys. Unfortunately, the driving conditions deteriorated and the perfect couple and Santa Claus had an accident. Only one of them survived the accident. Who was it? It was the perfect woman, of course, because everyone knows that Santa Claus and the perfect man don’t really exist. Besides, the woman must have been driving or else they wouldn’t have had an accident, right?*
I might as well go ahead and say it now so we can get it out of the way, “Nobody here today is perfect.” “I’m not perfect, and you’re not perfect, whether you want to admit it or not.” But I dare say we are all trying. The truth is we all have our flaws and failures and we have all sinned.
I. So, if nobody is perfect, does that mean that we can quit trying to be perfect. Does that mean we can just ignore all those passages in the Bible that talk about perfection? Does that mean that it’s okay to settle for a mediocre Christian experience? Does that mean that since only Jesus was without sin, it must be okay if we sin a little and if a little sin is okay, a lot of sin must be okay too? Does that mean that being saved is the only thing that matters? The answer to all of those questions is: Absolutely NOT! And let me tell you why.
In Matthew 5:48, Jesus commanded us to “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” In our key text the Apostle Paul tells us to “Aim for perfection.” The word that Paul uses for perfection means an end or goal or aim or purpose. Our aim is to be perfect through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit in order that we will become like Christ. This command to be perfect is not just for the new believer or the seasoned veteran believer. It is for every Christian believer. As long as we live and breathe we are to aim for Christ-likeness.
I love what Paul says in Philippians 3:12-15, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things.”
Notice that Paul states that he is not perfect yet, but even though Paul was not perfect in every way, he was still pressing on or working towards achieving that perfection Christ speaks about. The example that Paul sets for us also implies that even the most mature Christians among us are to keep on growing and to keep on maturing in their walk with Christ.
Chuck Swindoll tells that he was good friends with the
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