(originally posted 8/24/2015 at littlegirlriseup.blogspot.com)
I just read a quote from a popular pastor of a megachurch in Houston where he said, “God doesn’t expect us to be perfect”…blah blah your best life is now, etc. Well, that’s how I read it anyway.
What he actually said is, “God doesn’t expect us to be perfect, but He does expect us to keep trying, to keep growing. You have to be willing to change. When you make mistakes, don’t stay down on yourself, get up and go again.”
Now, many people may be asking why I take issue with such a blissfully uplifting statement. What could possibly be wrong with such encouragement? I take issue with it because it is unscriptural. God does, in fact, expect us to be perfect, otherwise He wouldn’t have needed to die for us. The whole point of Christ’s death is because we FELL FROM PERFECTION into sin and imperfection. Christ’s atoning death makes it possible for humans to reach perfection once again. We will not reach perfection as long as we are in the flesh, but God expects us to strive for it. “Be perfect, therefore, as your Heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matt 5:48); and “..but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.'” (1 Peter 1:15,16).
Scripture says that we are being transformed into the image of Christ (2 Cor 3:18) and Christ was perfect because God is perfect, “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” (Col 1:15) So that means that God set the bar pretty high for all of us. Impossibly high. He set it at perfection. But that’s okay because, while we are in this world, encompassed in these bodies of flesh, we are called to persevere as God performs His perfecting work in us by and through His Spirit, “for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” (Phil 2:13).
So indeed, God does, “expect us to keep trying, to keep growing…to be willing to change…get up and go again.” This part of the pastor’s statement is true, this part is scriptural, “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:4). But the very impetus of such perseverance is Godly perfection, “so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” For only through faithful endurance are we saved from imperfection into perfection, “but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.” (Matt 10:22)
False teaching is subtle and it usually makes us feel good about ourselves. False teaching will always have some truth mixed in with it, that is what makes it so successful, appealing and spiritually deadly. I pray for discernment for the Body of Christ, for we need it now more than ever before