Quit sinning, stop sinning end sin, no sin, sinless, perfection, be perfect, be complete
“Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God” (1 Pet 4:1-2).
Does this sound like a good plan? Why don’t I just put on the mind of Messiah, quit sinning and live for God? Unfortunately, we all know this is not just a matter of going to the local Christian bookstore and ordering a mind meld. Many claim to have been working on building the mind of Christ for years, but have never quite been successful. They still sin. Peter claims those who have the same mind as Messiah and suffer in the flesh have quit sinning. Do we do that, or is it done for us by the Spirit?
“And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” (1 John 3:3)
“He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.” (1 John 2:6)
“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double–minded.” (Jas 4:8)
The instruction God gave us exhorts us to clean ourselves. Our Creator doesn’t force us to obey. He is looking for those who recognize that He has the answers and knows what is best. Both James and John agree with Peter that the goal is to be pure like Messiah is pure. Each of these exhortations assumes we know how to do that. How do we do that?
“But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (II Tim 3:14-17)
Anyone serious about purifying himself and walking as He walked would be helped by a careful study of the Hebrew Scriptures. Of course, the New Testament tells us a lot about Christ and His teaching. Knowing that is vital too. Timothy was taught the Hebrew Scriptures from the time he was a child. The Jews educational system revolved around the Hebrew Scriptures. Most Christians today really have a lot of catch-up work to do. The average person in Jesus audience was much more knowledgeable in the Hebrew Scriptures than even the well studied today.
"Because this is the covenant which I will covenant with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD, giving my laws into their mind, also upon their hearts I will inscribe them; and I will be to them for God, and they shall be to Me for people.” (Heb 8:10 EGNT)
The Creator is especially interested in His people having His laws as part of their nature. This particular translation, which is very true to the Greek original, highlights that believers need to exercise their mind first. His ways must be given into our mind first. Once the mind has a solid grasp of them they can be written on the heart, made part of our nature. We must participate in this. It will not happen without our active involvement. We decide what goes into our mind. Ultimately our Creator inscribes His laws on our heart by our own hand. We cannot sit passively by and expect this will just happen to us.
Hebrew parallelism tells us His Law is His covenant (Ps 78:10, Hos 8:1, Am 2:4). Anyone wanting to prepare his heart for the inscription of His Law should feed His covenant to his mind.
Just because we can read scripture that commends the New Testament believers for their changed lives, doesn’t mean that we have attained to perfection. The Corinthians illustrate this to a degree. Paul encouraged them, but he also pointed out what was plainly unacceptable.
“I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus, 5 that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge, 6 even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, 7 so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 1:4-7)
“And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; 3 for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?” (1 Cor 3:1-3)
The sad truth was that the congregation in Corinth had some major problems. Paul was determined to deal with them, but he was also intent on being gentle and encouraging as much as he could. The reason is apparent.
“being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil 1:6)
Fortunately, our Creator is extremely patient. He gives us our whole lifetime to learn how futile our own way is. Hopefully it won’t take that long, but if it does the Creator can handle that, as long as we do learn the lesson. He will not easily give up on us.
“Again, when I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ if he turns from his sin and does what is lawful and right, 15 if the wicked restores the pledge, gives back what he has stolen, and walks in the statutes of life without committing iniquity, he shall surely live; he shall not die.” (Eze 33:14-15)
Our merciful Creator does give time for repentance. Notice here the individual items highlighted: restore the pledge, return the stolen. Although reference is made to upholding the statutes, which relate to both the Creator and man, there is more focus on fair and honest dealings with other people. Being supportive of each other is very important to our Creator, as it would be to any parent.
Consider as well, Isa 58:5-6.
"Is it a fast that I have chosen, A day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head like a bulrush, And to spread out sackcloth and ashes? Would you call this a fast, And an acceptable day to the LORD? 6 Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, To undo the heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free, And that you break every yoke?”
The Creator does not feel glorified because we fast and afflict ourselves for a day, if every other day we oppress one another. We may not be keeping slaves beyond their time of release or exacting usury. Do we cut others off in traffic, make uncomplimentary remarks about others behind their backs, make light of their difficulty or ignore the hungry? How we treat our fellow man is extremely important. Paul indicated the whole Law was focused on loving one’s neighbor.
“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Gal 5:14)
When asked what one should do to inherit eternal life, Messiah answered “keep the commandments” (Mat 19:17d). It is clear He focused on the commandments recorded in Exodus 20. In the case of the particular person that asked, He especially highlighted those commandments that directly relate to other people. How we relate to our fellow man is extremely important.
CreatorsCovenant.org is focused on highlighting the foundation of the Law of God. Finding, pondering and living according to that law is the first step in being able to avoid sin. It could have worked for ancient Israel (Ex 20:20). Don't assume you already know it. Those who know it best will realize there is still more to learn. Think about it as you go about your daily life. Ask the Creator for insight. We have not only that instruction, but also the example of the special representative of the Creator, the Messiah. Is He unreasonable in asking us to purify ourselves?
There can be major infractions and minor infractions that taint us. Some offences seem more egregious than others. Does this mean that minor offences are OK? Messiah is concerned about how we think (Mat 5:27-28). A minor infraction involves the same mindset as a major infraction. Infractions come as a result of putting our way first ahead of what our Creator would have us do. Offences can also come as a result of ignorance or not being aware of circumstances. If we are to love our neighbor as ourselves, we would need to avoid all of these.
One who is thinking about what he is doing will have a minimal number of ignorant lapses. His mindset will lead him to continually evaluate how he interacts with others and with the Creator. He will be alert to his surroundings and careful not to offend. He will be considerate of others in all he does. He will be examining his own actions continually. This is not just a pre-Passover responsibility.
“Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves...” (II Cor 13:5a)
Being the representative of the Creator is not like being in a daze or day dream. The mind cannot be wondering off by itself. The son of God must be alert to what he is doing and how he is impacting others. Messiah considered the needs of others even when it was not his direct responsibility.
Mat 15:32 ‘Now Jesus called His disciples to Himself and said, "I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat. And I do not want to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way."’
Being oblivious to the needs of others could easily be equated to practicing lawlessness. "Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness" (I John 3:4). The Greek word for lawlessness is ‘anomia’. This is a combination of ‘a’ and ‘nomia’, basically meaning ‘without law’. Someone who is oblivious is unaware of his surroundings and his responsibility in relationship with them, even though there are indications of what his responsibility is. He is unaware of the law, traditions or expectations with which he should comply. In his own little world, he is without law. Being unaware, he is likely to offend some expectation, yet he is unconcerned even though warnings exist.
This is a mindset issue. He may not be robbing people at gunpoint or throwing rocks through windows, but he is not showing the kind of consideration the Creator expects when He says “Love your neighbor as yourself”.
The enormity of the exact offence may be a factor in how WE humans perceive things. How important is the particular offence if one is talking about mindset? “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much” (Luke 16:10).
“For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” (Rom 8:6)
The enormity of the sin is not really the problem. The mind that is unconcerned with a little offence is likely to overlook a major offence. The mind that is diligent to avoid a small offence will reject the major offence too. The end result is peace. The difference in the mentality is night and day, darkness and light.
If one is primarily concerned about taking care of himself or what he perceives as his own needs or desires, he has a fleshly mentality. If one is more concerned about properly representing his Creator and conducting himself according to His higher way, then he will be carefully examining all his conduct. He will be focusing on things of the spirit, the mentality and thinking about why he does what he does. He will consciously do what the Creator expects of a son rather than what that individual would normally do.
A “minor” offence misses the mark just as sure as a “major” offence. Both can be eliminated if we can be brutally honest about why we do what we do and determine to be just as concerned about our fellow man as we are about ourselves.
“For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world” (II Cor 11:31-32).
A May 26, 2012 article in the Wall Street Journal (Why we Lie, Pg. C1) highlighted a study about our perception of little offences. They found that people are actually more likely to cheat if the benefit is reduced. We excuse ourselves if we cheat someone out of just a small amount whereas a larger amount would begin to prick our conscience. As children of the Creator we must reject any form of theft. Being attuned to minor offences is vital. We don’t need or want to overlook this. He will provide for us.
"But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust... Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” (Mat 5:44-45, 48)
Our Father wants us to act like He acts. His thought processes control what He does and how He does it. These are most important.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isa 55:9)
‘Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness”’ (Gen 1:26a).
Although He may well present Himself in a form that is similar to human form, His shape is not what is important about the Creator. How He thinks, His approach to others is what is important. In spite of the vast difference in mentality between us, His intention is to teach us to think like He thinks.
“And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” (1 John 3:3)
Mahatma Gandhi is purported to have said, "I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."
If we claim to be followers of Messiah, but do not conduct ourselves as He taught and expects, our conduct is attributed to Him anyway and we bring shame on Him. Instead of attracting people to the Creator, they are repulsed.
“by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (II Pet 1:4)
The Greek for ‘partakers’ is ‘koinonos ‘ (Str. 2844). The primary meaning is ‘partners’. The goal is that we willingly and wholeheartedly join with the Creator to think like He thinks, to accomplish His purpose. A significant characteristic of that nature is that it is void of corruption normally due to various desires or lusts. If we are looking to the Creator to care for us, there is no need to cut corners and elbow our way to what we want. The scriptures have a lot to say about our desires.
Many have found that it is easier to get forgiveness than permission. When they are not sure they can get permission to do what they want to do, they do what they want and expect forgiveness. This is not the mind of Messiah at work. This is the carnal mind working to further its own cause.
John 6:38 "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me."
Luke 11:9 "So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you."
If we seek the will of the Father we will trust that we will receive permission. He will grant permission if what is desired is something we should have or do. If it is not, the mind of Messiah doesn’t want it. The problem could be any one of many things, timing, self centeredness, ego or just plain old fleshly lust. The scriptures have a lot to say about our desires.
Lust and Desires
Rom 6:12 “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.” We must actively participate to bring this about. We cannot be passive or oblivious. The best way to do this is not to work to avoid the negative, but to engage in the positive. Our body wants to be pampered. It seeks happiness in things, but this happiness is deceptive and fleeting. The root cause of the problem is caving in to physical desires to which we have no right.
Rom 13:14 “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” Again, we actively emulate Christ, with no concern for the pride or passions typical of the human condition. This can be done if we are focused on properly representing our Creator and His selfless approach. He did set aside time for Himself, but when He was with others, He was considerate of them.
Eph 2:3 “among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.” Wanting to coddle the flesh is standard for humans. Unfortunately, this approach and mindset stirs up anger in others because sometimes we offend and leave victims in our wake. We figuratively step on others to satisfy ourselves. This is not the mind of Messiah. He came selflessly to support others.
Jas 1:14-15 “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full–grown, brings forth death.” We are our own worst enemy. We become distracted by something we think is important and focus on it, rather than on representing the Creator. If we properly represent the Creator, He will care for us. If we’re not representing the Creator, we’re on our own.
We think we deserve something, or ought to have something or just plain want something and so we take it, or do it. Often without thinking we negatively impact others or misrepresent our Creator in the process. Buying something honestly if we can afford it is not a problem. The question is, ‘Are we expecting to find happiness in this thing?’ Did we need it to boost our ego or prestige or to impress others? If these apply, we are seeking a fleshly, earthy reward, not the glory of the Master.
Gal 5:24 “And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
This often overlooked verse follows immediately after a list of the fruits of the spirit. They are “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness” (5:22-23 RSV). Sermons often focus on these things, but neglect the above quoted verse that follows. It seems self evident there is a connection between these three verses. Likely one will not have the fruits of the spirit unless one crucifies the flesh with its desires. Smashing these desires directly leads to having the fruits of the spirit.
The bottom line: when one is not looking out to preserve and coddle himself, he can show godly love and kindness towards his neighbor. When he is not trying to keep up with the Jones’s, he can have the joy that comes with contentment. When he is trusting in his Creator to supply his needs, he can have the peace that his needs will be met, and he will learn patience in the process. In short, it is our insistence on caring for ourselves, #1, that prevents us from consistently caring for others. If we trust #1 to our Creator, we can walk in His ways and correctly represent Him. Being the servant and son of our Creator requires faith. The spirit seeking mind will consider these matters and despise the motivations that center on ego and run contrary to the mind of God.
"For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.” (Mark 8:35)
Coupled with faith, the one focusing on the spirit will set his typical approach aside and support his fellow man. Faith includes the confidence that the Creator knows our needs. We are freed to show concern for others. A believer will not be overly concerned about himself. That is the Masters job. The Master likely will not always do things the way we would like. His long range goal is our improvement. This is why faith is faith. It requires patience and trust.
“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Mat 6:31-33)
Our needs will be met. Believers are not promised great wealth or a new BMW every year. “Then Jesus said to His disciples, "Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Mat 19:23)
"But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ 21 So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God." (Luke 12:20-21)
The question boils down to: ‘Do you trust in this life and in your ability to provide for yourself, or do you trust in your Creator and what He will provide?’ We still need to work to support our self, but we must know the real source of wealth (Deu 8:18). When Messiah walked the earth He did invite some to give everything away and follow Him. He is not asking each of us to do that. He does not ask us to quit our jobs and preach in the streets. He does expect us to be concerned about others as much as we are about ourselves. That requires being aware of others and their needs and being willing to put ourselves at risk.
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” (Jas 1:17)
The Creator knows our needs. He gives His children things that are good for them. We don’t necessarily know what is good for us. We should ask and trust the Creator to provide what is good. If we have to work the angles or step on or over someone else to get what we want, it is most likely we are grabbing for ourselves, not waiting on the Creator to give us what is good.
That doesn’t mean we expect everything to be delivered to our door, so we exert no effort. We are to work to provide for ourselves and to have something to give to those in need (II Thes 3:12, Eph 4:28). He prospers the work that His children do (Deu 28:12). Great wealth should not be our goal. There is nothing wrong with wealth if we remember its true source and don’t put our long term trust in it.
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” (Mat 6:24)
Messiah willingly risked His life for the opportunity to pay for our failures. In doing this He showed His selflessness and the great lengths to which the Creator is willing to go for us.
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” (Phil 2:5-8)
We are to think like He thinks. We should seek to please our Creator and Master first. We do not need to gain the praise of men. Not that we are arrogant toward men. Messiah was not that way, although He did occasionally accurately describe the self centered conduct of some. Obviously, we need to show respect toward our fellow man.
The point is that without any absolute guarantee of success, Messiah gave up a glorified spirit existence and willingly made Himself human, knowing the brutal murder that awaited. There was nothing striking about Him that caused any special notice (Isa 53:2). As a child He was subject to His parents like any other child (Luke 2:51). He was just like any other person in His home town (John 6:42). Yet, He created our parents thousands of years before (John 1:1-3, 14). Paul exhorts us to think like Messiah thought. If He was selfless and humble like this, what allows us to think that we are deserving of anything above our fellow man?
Traditional Christianity focuses on the love and grace of Jesus Christ. Certainly there is a lot to examine in those areas. However, one can see these qualities in the Creator in the Hebrew Scriptures. Time after time He overlooked Israel’s shortcomings and the blatant disrespect shown by the people and leadership. Messiah’s life recorded in the New Testament illustrates something that was not obvious in the Hebrew Scriptures; His selflessness.
“For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: 22 Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth; 23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously” (I Pet 2:21-23)
“how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Heb 9:14)
Our Savior knew who He answered to. He was intent on accomplishing His Father’s cause. We are not generally expected to suffer the way He did (Heb 12:4). Messiah paid the price for our failures (I Cor 6:20). Our priority should be to do the Fathers will if we claim to be His servant and son.
We can trust the Creator to be faithful. He sent His special one, His firstborn, our Creator, to die for us so that Messiah could take responsibility for our error. Why would we doubt how much They both care?
“Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” (Luke 6:37)
Our Creator has incredible patience with us. How can we be impatient with others? As long as we are alive our Creator is still working to improve us. He is doing this with others too. We in effect condemn Him if we cast aspersions on others. He hasn’t corrected them fast enough for our liking.
Sometimes we feel the need to denigrate people to others. As with all we do, we need to ask why we do this. What are we trying to accomplish? Often we are trying to lift ourselves in the mind of someone else, by putting some other person down. This accomplishes nothing. It indicates that we are judging another man’s servant, but also by trying to impress someone else, we show that we don’t understand that Messiah is the only real judge.
“But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!” (Gal 5:15)
In scripture there are a number of lists of distasteful qualities. Envy, whisperers and evil speaking are on those lists (Rom 1:29, Eph 4:31, 1 Pet 2:1). These ungodly practices go hand in hand with that “world of iniquity”, the tongue (Jas 3:2-6). If we understand who the judge is, we will lose the need to lash out, backbite or promote our self to others. This is a big part of being complete (vs. 2).
“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” (John 15:2)
Likely our pruning process will be continuing as the Creator nips off the pieces that don’t look like Him. Expect to be tried. Wait on the Creator to show the way of escape (1 Cor 10:13). In the meantime, do what you can within what He allows. Pray for guidance and understanding. Realize that He’s not finished with others either.
“Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.” (Rom 14:4)
With regard to your own actions, consider that the Master sees. We can't fool Him. Do what is right and there will be no reason for worry.
Messiah is the judge. What other people think of us or what we think of others is not of any critical importance. We do need to represent the Creator well, by conducting ourselves as He would. Beyond that, other people’s opinion is of little importance. Our opinion is not of any great importance either. We need to evaluate how we conduct ourselves based on the word of God. It is our Creator’s responsibility to judge others. Leave it to Him.
“till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph 4:13)
When scripture talks of perfection it typically is talking of being complete or finished. The Greek for ‘perfect’ in Ephesians 4:13 is ‘teleios’. The primary definitions typically read: ‘1) brought to its end, finished’, 2) wanting nothing necessary to completeness.
Ephesians 4:13 helps us understand more clearly what completeness is. Through Hebrew parallelism we can understand that a complete man is one who is complete to the full stature or maturity of Christ. This is a pretty tall order, but we are not on our own to achieve it.
“If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever–– 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” (John 14:15-17) “Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.” (John 14:23)
Those who follow the instruction of Messiah are qualified to receive some help. A helper can be sent. Believers must prove themselves serious before the Helper will live in them.
Actually, the one who was with them and would be in them is Christ, who in spirit lives inside the believer (vs. 23, above). “Now the Lord is the Spirit” (II Cor 3:17a)
Receiving the spirit of God is not something that is done to us, but something a believer diligently seeks. It comes through a combination of a willing obedient servant and son, and a pleased Messiah and Father who are confident we are committed to Their ways. A believer wants to understand the mind of Christ. He acts on the instruction he already understands and searches the scriptures as Paul recommended to Timothy.
“But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.” (John 15:26)
What is known as the 'Holy Spirit', comes from the Father. All good things come from the Father. The Son of the Father, our Messiah, receives it from Him. Messiah administers it to those who obey. Not only is the nature of Christ included in His spirit, but the Father’s nature is included as well. Actually, the mentality is the same. As a human, Messiah was only able to dwell with a few. As a spirit, He can dwell with many, forever. The spirit will bear witness, clarify, the life and conduct of Christ.
"And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him." (Acts 5:32)
Messiah lives in us and gives help to our own efforts to understand His ways and obey. We must show ourselves to be serious first, with our conduct as evidence (Acts 26:20). When we step out in faith to do the will of the Father in supporting our fellow man, Messiah will help us maintain the mentality that is continually careful and aware of others.
This author is unaware of any scripture that indicates the Holy spirit is given to those who usually obey or mostly obey. The standard is higher than many would like to think. The Helper may be anxiously standing by, nudging, but will not be living in someone who is not obeying. The Father doesn’t like to share our minds with darkness and neither does Messiah. There is no common ground between light with darkness. (II Cor 6:14-15)
"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Gal 2:20)
We are complete when Christ is living His life in us. He can commit His spirit to us, because we are obeying and are determined to continue obeying Him. We have what we need to reflect the Father and be His image. In whatever we do, we conduct ourselves in accord with His instruction and example. Some details may still be fuzzy. Because we are complete, doesn’t mean we do everything exactly as Messiah would do it or we perfectly understand everything. However, we keep ourselves from offense (I John 5:18) and evaluate continually our conduct toward better understanding the will of God. We grow in the graciousness and understanding of the Messiah (II Pet 3:18). We might still sin, but as a rule we do not (1 John 2:1, 3:6)
“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.” (Rom 8:5)
Because a spirit filled believer is complete does not mean improvements cannot be made. When we continue to put our mind to the things of the spirit we will improve our understanding of the mind of God. How to best apply love can be challenging in some circumstances. As parents we don’t always know what the best way to teach our children is. Even so, by pondering our actions and comparing against the instruction of scripture, we can learn to better represent the Creator. Our focus is no longer our own preservation and comfort, but the promotion of the ways of God. Perfection, in the sense that things cannot be further improved, is not a concept taught in scripture.
This is what Paul is encouraging in Philippians 3:9-16. Paul did not relax or become complacent and consider that he was complete. He continued pursuing the high calling of God for which Messiah chose him in the first place. There is always more to learn. Paul expected “as many as be perfect (complete, teleios)” to have that approach (vs. 15).
We can attain to the yardstick of the maturity and fullness of Christ. Walking on water is not necessary. Having His spirit, His mindset, working in our mind is. The Creator is greatly desiring to support us (Luke 12:32). We must continually do our part.
1. Diligently study and ponder His Law. Ask for understanding.
2. Recognize that little things are important in correcting the mentality.
3. Brutally examine your conduct. Why do you do what you do?
4. Trust and accept that the Master will care for you.
5. Follow His example of selflessness.
6. The Master is the judge. Leave others to Him. Examine yourself.
7. Serve the Master, not yourself.
8. Go back to step 1.