Wednesday, September 7
Matthew 5:48 NIV
Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Matthew 5:48 MSG
“In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.
Writing in the 18th century, John Wesley got into a lot of trouble with a small tract he published entitled, “A Plain Account of Christian Perfection.” The tract itself made attempt to clarify what he meant by perfection. Church leaders thought he meant a person can be completely and utterly without sin, fault or flaw, and they utterly rejected the teaching. What he meant was the perfection of love.
Wesley responded that to “be perfect” is nothing more than “plain scriptural Christianity.” He preached far and wide of its possibility, that we are not held in oppression by the gravity of sin. Scripture does not present us with high and lofty ideals whose attainment is impossible. The Bible paints a portrait of the beautiful possibility of holiness. To be “perfect” in the biblical sense boils down to two words, “Holy Love.” It is to be filled continually with the Holy Love of God through the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Wesley knew only the poetic could hope to grasp such a vision.
This is the rest, the life, the peace,
Which all thy people prove;
Love is the bond of perfectness,
And all their soul is love.
O joyful sound of gospel grace!
Christ shall in me appear;
I, even I, shall see his face,
I shall be holy here!
He visits now the house of clay,
He shakes his future home; —
O would’st thou, Lord, on this glad day,
Into thy temple come!
Come, O my God, thyself reveal,
Fill all this mighty void;
Thou only canst my spirit fill:
Come, O my God, my God!
Fulfill, fulfill my large desires,
Large as infinity!
Give, give me all my soul requires,
All, all that is in thee!
John Wesley, A Plain Account of Christian Perfection.