Does God Speak Seriously?
God says a lot to us in His Word. Some of His sayings are easy to understand and seem possible to be kept: “You shall not kill. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal.” Others however seem much more difficult to attain:
“Be holy, for I am holy.”
And what about those, which we feel intuitively, that they are impossibilities:
“Be perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Did God speak seriously, when He said these things? Were we in His mind, when these Scriptures were written? Is it possible, that these Words are addressed directly and personally to me?
One difficulty is our understanding of these words. We have a rather obscure concept of holiness in our churches, and it is rarely mentioned. And we almost never hear about perfection. But they are there both in the Old and the New Testament. Holy
in its different forms, more than a thousand times, and
more than a hundred times.
So God does not just mention His calls casually to us. If we consider the fact that the word holy is used twice as many times in the Bible as
we can conclude that God meant something very seriously concerning it.
The other difficulty is that somewhere inside we feel that we are not able to fulfill the commandments of holiness and perfection. Do not kill and do not steal seem they can be kept, but for us to be holy and perfect, well, they are surely beyond our abilities. Holiness and perfection are God’s attributes and not man’s. So how could we fulfill them?
It’s all true that from our own strength we could never rise to the heights of holiness and perfection. This is an important, in fact, indispensable realization for us to go in the right direction: not in the way of human endeavor but of faith.
Also, it is good for us to see that from our own power not only holiness and perfection are unattainable. The fact is, that from our own power, without God, we can achieve
Jesus spoke seriously, when He said:
“without me you can do nothing”
But if we are unable to obtain holiness and perfection, we have only one chance remaining: God must work. And we can trust Him for that, because He has made promises.
In the Old testament the Lord tells His people several times that He is the One who sanctifies them. And He says this in the New Testament:
“to them that are
sanctified by God the Father”
(Jude v. 1).
And there is the well known 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24:
the God of peace Himself sanctify you
wholly; and may your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He that calls you, who also will do it.”
So God said very clearly, that He works, He sanctifies us.
And what about perfection? Does God have promises on this area? There are some. Let’s see one here. 1 Peter 5:10-11:
“the God of all grace,
who has called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that you have suffered a while,
make you perfect,
establish, strengthen, settle you. To Him be glory and power for ever and ever. Amen.”
God Himself works. He makes us perfect. He is our Sanctifier and Perfector. He has the willingness and the power to do it. Let us believe that He does it to us too. To Him be glory! Amen.