With our latest post on perfection, we have, in a way, come full circle. We started this blog with the conviction that rightly understanding the extreme newness of who we became in Christ at our conversion will influence how we live. Particularly, how we relate to and achieve victory in our conflict with sin. Our theme has been, “Put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” (Eph 4:24). Our thinking has progressed something like this:
- At salvation, we were given a new identity and all kinds of new that came with it.
- Our new identity has a moral resemblance to God Himself.
- This fact is something we need to know.
- This fact is something we need to “reckon” or write in our accounting book.
- This fact is something we need to “walk in”.
- We walk in this fact by walking in the Spirit.
- We walk in this fact by walking by faith.
- Walking in the Spirit (obey) and walking by faith (trust) lead to victory over sin.
- The root of our sin is selfish ambition, pride, or any expression of the old nature.
- The expression of our new nature is love, the essence of God’s character inside us.
- The ultimate fruit of our faith is love, not theological knowledge.
- We can only love well by the power of the new life.
- We received the power of the new life at salvation when we were given a new identity and all kinds of new that came with it.
God is love and we demonstrate His life inside us when we love well. Let me close with this quote from To Love as God Loves, an introduction to the writings of the desert fathers (circa 300-500 AD), pointing to love as the ultimate goal, “Perfection is a concept that appears over and over in a wide spectrum of early Christian literature, and our own suspicion of the idea would have struck our Christian forebears as both odd and frightening. The gospel, after all, is clear in its demand for perfection…To be a perfect human being, a human being the way God intends human beings to be, is to be a fully loving person, loving God, and every bit as important, loving God’s image, the other people who share the world with us…For the sisters and brothers of the desert, ‘to love is human; not to love is less than human.’ ”
We like to think “to err is human.” And it was under the old arrangement, the old covenant, the old nature. But for the believer, “to love is human”; the full expression of who we have become in Christ and the new normal, the “supernatural Christian life.”