The Imperfect is Perfected

 

What do these men have in common?

Adam: Ate the forbidden fruit.

Cain: Cain killed his brother Abel.

Noah: Became drunk and left himself exposed naked in his tent.

Abram/Abraham: Lied about his wife being his sister.

Lot: Got drunk and slept with each of his two daughters.

Isaac: Followed in the steps of his father, Abraham, and called his wife his sister.

Jacob/Israel: Stole his brothers blessing by fooling his father into thinking he was Esau.

Esau: Spurned his birthright for some bread and lentil stew.

Saul: Disobeyed God.

David: Adulterer and murderer.

Solomon: Built temples for foreign gods.

Jonah: Ran from God to avoid doing what he was told.

Saul/Paul: Approved the killing of Stephen and persecuted the Christians.

Judas: Betrayed Jesus.

Peter: Denied knowing Jesus, three times.

Job: is perhaps the only major Bible character in which no obvious sin can be found.

 

What about the women?

Eve: Was the first to disobey God.

Sarah: Was complicit in her husbands lie.

Rebekah: Was complicit in her husbands lie.

Athaliah: Became ruler of Israel by killing almost all of the male heirs.

Sapphira: was complicit when her husband Ananias withheld money pledged to God.

 

Clearly these men and women are really good examples of human frailty and also really good examples of how God  can work with the imperfect and transform it into perfection. Not in this life but in the life we will have when the Lord returns. But there are a few big, “Ifs” involved.

 

Theme: Imperfection makes us human but not hopeless.

Now perfect is one of those words that have a range of meanings. Often the meanings are nearly synonymous or at least you can see a relationship. Here is what I am talking about from the American Heritage Dictionary.

*   Lacking nothing essential to the whole; complete of its nature or kind.

*   Being without defect or blemish.

*   Completely suited for a particular purpose or situation

*   Complete; thorough.

*   Pure; undiluted; unmixed

*   Excellent and delightful in all respects.

You can see the relationship between complete and without defect. You can also see perfection in one area does not necessarily mean perfection in all areas. Perfection is admirable even though it might not be achievable in a particular set of circumstances. Perfection is what we should strive for. Striving for perfection is what it takes to make us our best. Paul makes that point in these scriptures

*   (2 Cor 13:9-11 NIV)  We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is for your perfection. {10} This is why I write these things when I am absent, that when I come I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority--the authority the Lord gave me for building you up, not for tearing you down. {11} Finally, brothers, good-by. Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.

And what are the results? We can be made perfect by God through the atoning blood of Jesus.

*   (Heb 12:22-24 NIV)  But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, {23} to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, {24} to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

But perfection takes time and is not something we expect to see in this world.

*   (Phil 3:10-12 NIV)  I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, {11} and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. {12} 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.

*   (Heb 5:7-10 NIV)  During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. {8} Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered {9} and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him {10} and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.

Here is our assurance that makes it all worthwhile.

*   (Heb 10:12-14 NIV)  But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. {13} Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, {14} because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

*   (Heb 11:39-40 NIV)  These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. {40} God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

So we must heed the admonitions in the Bible because failure should not be considered an option!

*   (Col 3:1-5 RSV)  If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. {2} Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. {3} For you have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God. {4} When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

*   {5} Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

*   (1 Tim 5:24-25 RSV)  The sins of some men are conspicuous, pointing to judgment, but the sins of others appear later. {25} So also good deeds are conspicuous; and even when they are not, they cannot remain hidden.

*   (Col 1:28 NIV)  We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.

 

I wish I could truly comprehend perfection but it escapes me. I wish I could fully embrace all that God has in store for me but I cannot. I wish I didn’t have to wait for the reward God has promised but wait I must. In the time that I have to wait I will simply aim for perfection and trust the Lord to convert what is perishable and imperfect into what is eternal and perfect.

*   (1 John 3:2 NIV)  Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

*   (1 Cor 13:9-10 NIV)  For we know in part and we prophesy in part, {10} but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.

 

Let us learn from the examples of the Bible characters, both heroes and villains. Let us not despair. God wants us to be with Him, forever! We may not be perfect now but God can fix that if we always strive for perfection. With God all things are possible.