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For more information on this subject, refer to Chapter 16 which deals with a sinner's justification.


Perfectionism is a belief that God's children can keep God's law perfectly; that they can live without sin in this world. This view is based on verses such as, "We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not" (I John 5:18).


"Whosoever is born of God sinneth not" refers to the believer's new nature -that which is born of God in his regeneration. The error of Perfectionism is not in its reference to the new nature, but in its failure to balance the scriptural teachings regarding the new, with those pertaining to the remaining old nature. John also writes in the same epistle, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us" (I John 1:8).


It is the remaining old, sinful nature which produces an ongoing spiritual warfare in the hearts of true believers. It is this same fallen nature that prevents God's children from reaching perfection in their life on earth.


The deepest desire of God's children, however, is to pursue perfection, to totally destroy sin, and to live perfectly, pleasing God. While God's people can and will fall into sin through weakness and failure, they can no longer live in sin -they cannot find their satisfaction or life in it. While they may backslide into sin and an unrepentant spirit for a time, God will renew them again to repentance. When this happens, they will be filled with sorrow for their sins and become earnestly desirous to overcome them in the future.


One day God's children shall reach perfection; however, not during their earthly life, but after death. Their deepest desire to live perfectly sinless lives shall be fulfilled in heaven. There all sin shall be walled out and all holiness walled in. There they shall perfectly know, love, serve, praise, and commune with God, without sin, self, world, and Satan. All their enemies shall be excluded forever. Their deepest desire on earth, perfectionism, shall become reality for them in heaven.

 

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us.

- I John 1:8-10

For in many things we offend all.

- James 3:2a

I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.

For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:

But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

0 wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

- Romans 7:21-25

 

If perfectionism were possible for God's children during their life on earth, why would Jesus have taught His disciples to daily pray "Forgive us our debts" (Matthew 6: 12a)?

 

As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness.

- Psalm 17:15

 

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