In Pursuit Of Perfection
Sermon by Tom Trinka
Some years ago, the Lexus auto company, had an advertising slogan, that I would like to use as the spring board for my message today. The slogan
stated that the Lexus brand was “In the Relentless Pursuit of Perfection” Now friends, that may or
may not have been true, with regard to Lexus. But that statement, “In the Relentless Pursuit of Perfection”
as I hope to point out today, should most certainly be true, when it comes to the life and calling of a Christian. So with this premise in mind, let’s begin today, by turning to Hebrew’s 12, and let’s read verse 14.
Heb.12.14 “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord”
I’d like to zero in on the second half of this verse. Here God, talking through the Apostle Paul instructs us to pursue, that is to seek, to strive to obtain: holiness. For if we fail to obtain it, we will not see God. Meaning we will not be apart of the first resurrection, having fallen short of completing our calling. Let’s mediate on this vital point for a moment. God’s word states quite clearly here, that we must possess, the characteristic of holiness, or we will not obtain salvation. Therefore, what is critical for all of us to comprehend, is since the characteristic of holiness is obligatory for salvation, it therefore follows, that we must develop holiness, now, in this physical life time. Holiness is not something that we are simply given at the resurrection.
So since we see that holiness is such a vital prerequisite for salvation, I’d like to explore this subject with you in some detail today. Let’s begin, by asking the simple question of what exactly is holiness? And then begin to understand why it is something that we must fully develop in order to qualify for salvation? I have in my possession, a reprinted facsimile of Noah Webster’s First Edition of the American Dictionary of the English Language, which was published in 1828. Noah Webster was the grandson of the original Pilgrim Governor William Bradford from Plymouth Plantation.
The fact that Noah had strong Christian roots and values, is made evident by the first page of his dictionary, wherein is placed the quote from 2 Cor. 3.17 which states “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” Webster wrote that “No truth is more evident to my mind, than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people” I make mention of these things, to point out the fact that Webster used the bible as the basis for his American English Dictionary. Therefore the definitions that I will be reading are quite instructive. As an aside, I also mention these things, as a suggestion to all of you, if you have not yet obtained a copy of this dictionary, you may want to do so, as a good foundational addition to your library.
So let me read what Noah Webster has to say about the term holiness “the state of being holy, purity in heart and of moral character, freedom from sin” Holiness means purity of heart, which of course, really means purity of mind or thought, which therefore leads to freedom from sin, since sin occurs first in our minds. Also since holiness, is the state of being holy, lets also define the term holy, to get a good foundational understanding on this subject.
[Holy] “From an ancient root that means to heal, or make whole” “The sense is whole, entirely complete, sound and unimpaired” Please note this principle definition, for it will help us to more fully comprehend why, we must become holy. The root means to heal, and or to make whole.
Friends, this root meaning brings us all the way back to the first several chapters of Genesis. God is reproducing Himself, through mankind. This is the foundational truth, on which the entire bible, and our very existence is predicated. But as we know, Adam and Eve failed to complete the process, having failed to choice the correct path of life. Hence, the vast majority of mankind has lived and died in an uncompleted state. Possessing the spirit of man, yet without the Holy Spirit, by which they might have become a completed creation, attaining the image and likeness of God
Please turn with me to ISA. 58, verses 11-12. Let’s look at a prophecy that forecasts this “healing” of humanity. Of finishing the creative process of making mankind complete and thus holy.
11 The Lord will guide you continually, And satisfy your soul in drought, And strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
12 Those from among you Shall build the old waste places; You shall raise up the foundations of many generations; And you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.
These verses of course, speak of the millennium. Note the first part of verse 11.
“The Lord will guide you continually” How will Jesus Christ continually guide millions, if not billions of people in the millennium? Well apart from the help of the resurrected saints, God will guide humanity by the Holy Spirit that will be available to everyone at that time.
As we read in Joel chapter 2, God will “pour out His Spirit on all flesh” Humanity will be guided by the same Holy Spirit that dwells in all of us today.
OK, Now let’s focus in on the last half of verse 12.
Repairing the Breach, what does that mean? God will repair the breach, that is the separation between humanity and Himself. The breach that was caused by Adam’s sin. Repairing this breach, will thus restore the everlasting covenant relationship that God wills to make with all mankind, in order to bring them to salvation.
The word “Restore” in Hebrew, likewise has a wealth of meaning. According to the Theological Wordbook of the OT, the word implies repentance, turning from evil and doing that which is good.
Moreover, streets to dwell in, might more accurately be translated as “Paths to Live by” Restoring mankind to the proper path, the proper way to live ones life, living in harmony with God’s laws.
A related scripture would be PSM 119.35 where David prays “God let me walk in the paths of your commandments”
So then in summarizing this scripture, we see that God is explaining to us what He will do in the millennium for Israel, and then through Israel, eventually also for all mankind.
Restoring the covenant relationship with mankind, that had been breached by Adams sin.
Thus restoring the process on a grand scale, of completing the recreation of Himself. A process that God has begun through His Church, which as 1 Pet.4.17 informs us, is now under judgement or evaluation.
Brethren, we must be mindful of this fact, that God is currently evaluating our progress in this creation process. As to whether or not we are growing towards completion. Becoming a Holy creation, in God’s image and likeness.
OK, so before we go any further, I’d like to make a fundamental point regarding prophetic text, and for that matter, a lot of scripture in general. The principle is that God often uses physical examples to emphasize spiritual truths.
For instance, let’s take the example of ancient Israel’s 40 year sojourn in the wilderness. The word translated wilderness in Hebrew, means desert, a dry desolate place, a wasteland.
Therefore, applying this understanding spiritually, we realize that we are sojourning in a world, a society that is spiritually every bit as desolate, being devoid of God’s Spirit, as was ancient Israel’s physical journey.
The lesson being, that Israel had to rely on God to provide water out of the rocks in the desert, for there very survival. So therefore, likewise we must rely on God’s Holy Spirit for our spiritual survival, or we will just shrivel up and die in the spiritual desert of this world.
So we see how the physical helps us to comprehend the spiritual. OK, so armed with this understanding, lets turn to Isa 35 verses 5-6, and 8, to glean a deeper insight into this millennial picture regarding holiness.
5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.
6 Then the lame shall leap like a deer, And the tongue of the dumb sing. For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, And streams in the desert
And verse 8.
A highway shall be there, and a road, And it shall be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean shall not pass over it, But it shall be for others.
Whoever walks the road, although a fool, Shall not go astray.
In these verses, God is painting a picture of the future physical reality, which also portrays and under scores the spiritual. However to see the scriptural intent more clearly, we again need to clarify the Hebrew text.
Let’s focus in on verse 8. According to Green’s Interlinear Bible, the first half of the verse should be translated as follows: “A highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called the way of holiness” In other words, if you are reading from the NKJV, the word road and the second word highway, are both the same word, which is more precisely translated as way.
The KJV does in fact use this more precise translation.
The first word translated highway, also needs some added clarification. According to the TWOT, this word literally means a raised way, or an elevated road. It can also imply walking in an upright manner. Thus, we can begin to see the underlying spiritual intent defined by the future physical reality.
The elevated road, or high-way being symbolic of an upright or righteous way of life, that humanity will take when God’s Kingdom is reestablished on earth. The word way, further supports this understanding.
This same word is used in Gen. 3.24, where God placed Cherubim at the gate of the Garden of Eden “to guard the [way] to the tree of life” Mankind, in general, was at that point, cut off from the Holy Spirit, thus being cut off from finishing the creative process of being fully formed, children of God.
Another example would be found in Gen. 18.19. Let’s turn there and read that verse.
Gen.18.18-19 since Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? 19 For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep “the way of the Lord” to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.”
Abraham, taught his children the way of the Lord, which is defined for us here as doing righteousness and justice. There are two key points that I want to draw from this verse.
The first being, that we can’t teach our children, nor anyone else for that matter, what we don’t know ourselves. In order for Abraham to teach the way of the Lord, he had to live that way himself. Which of course he did, for he is called the Father of the Faithful.
Secondly, note that teaching the way of the Lord, involves righteousness and justice. Righteousness may be broadly defined as obeying God’s voice, keeping God’s laws which themselves define God’s way of life. Which is the way of holiness.
Therefore righteousness defines the way to live ones life, while justice involves putting in practice, God’s way of life in our daily interactions with others.
So brethren, do we see the template that God is presenting to us in these verses? Which is that holiness is something that physical human beings must obtain and employ, whenever God decides to call them. Whether that be in the millennium, or in our case, now in our present life times. For Holiness is God’s way of life.
We must develop God’s holy righteous character now, in this physical life, in order to qualify to lead all nations on that highway of holiness towards their completion, thus helping God to repair the breach, for the salvation of all mankind.
Well that was kind of a long introduction, but lets now continue covering Noah Webster’s definition, of the word holy.
[Holy] “being” Properly whole, entire, or perfect in a moral sense” “Hence, pure of heart, free from sin and sinful affections” “Applied to the Supreme Being, holy signifies perfectly pure, complete in moral character” “We call a man holy, when his heart is conformed to the image of God, and his life is regulated by the pine precepts” Hence holy is nearly synonymous with being Godly” Webster, completes this definition by quoting from 1 Peter 1.16 where God commands His Church, to be Holy, for I [God your Father] is Holy
So simply put, to be Holy means to be like God. Possessing the same characteristics, as God Himself. Which again brings us back to GEN.1.26. Being formed in God’s likeness and image.
This is truly profound when we begin to fully grasp what the bible really tells us that we must do. Yet there are many scriptures that inform us that we must become holy in order to inherit eternal life.
And we often read right over them, not fully comprehending what is required of us, to obtain salvation. Let’s look at a few.
2 Cor. 6.16-18 “And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.
17 Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.” 18 “I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.” And now the punch line, verse 1 of chapter 7. “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” So here we see that we are instructed to perfect holiness. What does that mean? Well to perfect something means to bring it to completion. We are to bring to completion the transformation of ourselves, from possessing the nature of carnal man, to fully developing God’s holy nature within us.
We are to fully develop the mind of Christ, as is stated in Phil 2.5 and 1 Cor. 2.16 That’s our goal, that is our mission in life. It is the very reason God created us and called us.
So how are we doing? Are we truly dedicated to our calling? Are we correctly prioritizing our lives, as Matt. 6.33 instructs us to do? Seeking first the kingdom of God and developing His righteousness? I have two quotes that kind of sum up this point about properly prioritizing our lives. The first by Ralph Waldo Emerson “No one can cheat you and me out of our ultimate destiny except ourselves.” And the second by Benjamin Franklin “That time lost is never found again”
Two incredibly simply statements, yet so profound and applicable to our calling. So let me ask the question again, addressing myself as well. Are we wasting our time? And more importantly are we wasting God’s time? With these questions in mind, turn with me please to 1 Cor. 11.28-30 “But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.
Now this of course is directly related to the Passover ceremony. However, verse 30 raises an important point, that is not often discussed. The brethren in Corinth were taking the Passover, in a half heart fashion.
They were just treating the renewal of the sacred covenant that they had made with their Creator, as just another meal. These actions reflected a lack of sincere devotion to God and their calling.
And because they were not taking their calling seriously, Paul informs them that, that was the reason why, many of them were sick, and that some had even died.
The reason I bring up this passage in 1 Cor. 11, is that what is being revealed here, in in fact quite sobering.
The brethren were squandering their time since they were called into the church, failing to put their spiritual life in proper perspective, and so God was trying to wake them up by allowing them to be inflicted with various illnesses.
And apparently, some of the brethren, still had not repented, and so God simply withdrew the offer of salvation that He had given them, and ended there life.
As we might say in the vernacular; God putted the plug on their calling.
The thought of this happening, makes me shutter, but that seems to be what the Apostle Paul was inspired to convey in this scripture.
These brethren, had indeed wasted God’s time. The time that He had allotted to them, after calling them and giving them His Holy Spirit
Now I know this is a very sensitive subject. For we have to be mature enough in the faith, not to go off half cocked, and judge other brethren as to possibly why they are suffering from some physical trial.
We must be ever mindful, to keep our examination focused on ourselves, as Paul specifically instructs us to do in our personal Passover preparation.
We are to examine ourselves, not anyone else, as to whether we are living according to the faith. And of course this is something we must do on a continually basis, not just once a year.
And as we get up in years, our bodies are naturally prone to various forms of decay.
So someone that is in there 70‘s or 80’s is naturally prone to experience physical ailments to a greater degree that someone in there 50’s or 60’s.
This is a reality of having a mortal body. What some passages of scripture refer too as a tent. Our bodies are just temporary dwellings, and meant to be so.
And God even allows certain infirmities to keep us on the straight and narrow, as was the case with the Apostle Paul, with his torn in the flesh. However, on the flip side, God is able to heal all our infirmities, as we read throughout the scriptures.
So as mature Christians, lets understand these principles, and not make the sinful mistakes of judging one another in this matter. But rather, let us use the scriptural examples for self edification, as is God’s desired purpose.
Yet another perspective on this matter, is found in Deut. 34.7. Where it states that “Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died. His eyes were not dim nor his natural vigor diminished” So we see in the case of Moses, that God ended his life, although Moses was still in vibrant health, at 120 years of age. Thus he probably would have lived many more years, if God had willed it to be so.
The point being, is that Moses had fulfilled his calling, by both perfecting God’s holy character and also by having finished the part of God’s plan that Moses was assigned
Another parallel principle is found in Isa. 57.1 which states that God will allow the righteous to die, to spare them of the evil to come. Which most certainly applies to the time directly in front of all of us.
Therefore the overall lesson, that I want to bring out by these scriptures we have just covered, is that God is sovereign over all physical life. He along decides when our time is up.
Whether ones life is cut short, from our lack of resolve to our calling, as was made apparent from 1 Cor. 11.
Or on the contrary, when one has fulfilled there God given mission in this life.
Having proved to God, beyond a shadow of a doubt by there sincere and earnest steadfastness, having molded and perfected their character, into the image and likeness of God.
So just so summarize this important point. It behooves each of us, to take stock of our personal relationship with God, and make each and every day count, in our character development. For we truly do not know, how much time we have left, inpidually or collectively.
A parable that drives this point home, is found is Luke 12.16-21 16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully.
17 And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?‘ 18 So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods.
19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”‘ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; 21 “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” Friends, let’s remember the lesson of this parable of the rich man, for none of us knows how much time we have left. And therefore, we can not rest on our laurels
We can not allow ourselves to think, that well I did all these wonderful works in the past, and now I’ve been in the church for many years, so I can just kind of coast into the kingdom. Sort of like going on what we might call Christian cruise control.
Rom. 2.6-7 God, who “will render to each one according to his deeds”7 eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality.
We will gain eternal life through patiently and methodically developing God’s Holy nature, by striving to be led and guided by the Holy Spirit each and every day.
Rom. 13.11-14 11 And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.
12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.
13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.
14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.
Friends, yet another key principle that we must be mindful of is this; It is not how we necessarily begin our calling, but rather how we finish our personal race, that is all important.
For it is the quality of our personal relationship with God, and our level of spiritual development attained by the end of our lives, that will determine our ultimate destiny.
As is often said, where there is life, there is hope. Whatever happened in the past is past. God is most interested in the here and now. Of how we live today, and tomorrow, and everyday from now on, until the end of our lives.
Consider the scriptural examples recorded for us of King David and the Apostle Paul. Both men were complicit in murder, and yet both of them, having sincerely repented of their sinful conduct, were thus able to be used mightily by God.
Being two of the most prolific writers of both the Old and New Testaments respectively
The Apostle Paul thus leaving us this sage advise found in Phil. 3.
Phil. 3.13-15 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
15 Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind.
And this fundamental principle, of steadfastly remaining on task, overcoming our ungodly traits and tendencies, is stated over and over again throughout the bible. In fact it was a central theme that Messiah Himself gave to us.
Christ tells us in Matt. 24, verse 13 ” But he who endures to the end shall be saved” We must endure until the end of our lives. Meaning as long as we have our mental faculties, we must be pursuing righteousness and holiness, or as we read at the beginning of this message today, in Heb. 12.14, we will not see the Lord.
This lesson of using time wisely, and making every day count, has had a personal impression on me over the course of the last several years. Having witnessed first hand, how quickly ones personal situation can change, suddenly, without any forewarning or prior knowledge.
My mother now 89 years old, up until about a year and a half ago, was living on her own, driving a car, handling all of her own personal affairs, having a very clear and sharp mind.
Then after a fall in her home, in which she broke one of her arms, my mother was taken to the hospital, to have the arm x-rayed and set. Usually a routine matter, even for some one of that age.
However, little did we know at that time, that my mother was never to step foot into her home again. For while she was in the hospital, she had a stroke which severely reduced her mental faculties, as well as causing paralysis on one side of her body. So just like that, her life had drastically changed, and so it could be for any of us. For we truly do not know what may happen tomorrow. All we can do, and what we must do. Is to be good stewards of the time that God awards us, no matter how much more time that may be
So how should we properly use the time that we have remaining? Let’s look at several points, which could be entitled Principles for Perfecting Holiness.
The first one is 1 Thes. 5.17 “pray without ceasing” Prayer,can be defined, as talking with God. So we are being instructed to have our minds conditioned to be in consistent communication with our Heavenly Father.
Let’s turn to James 4.6-8, for some added instruction.
6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” In other words, God gives us the ability through His Holy Spirit to overcome.
However we must earnestly desire it, and thus continually seek God’s help.
We must “Pray without ceasing” And we must also be humble, that is to be fully yielded to the Holy Spirit as it works within our minds. Just as Jesus was humble, always yielding to the will of His Father, doing the things that pleased Him. Continuing in verse 7.
7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
What this verse tells us, is that God will respond to us in proportion to the effort that we employ in seeking Him. We must draw near, that is seek God with all of our heart and soul and being. For as Heb. 11.6 informs us, God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
And as verse 8 states, we can not be double-minded. Rather, we must show God, by our sincere dedication, that we truly desire to become a Holy creation.
And this ties in with another principle to perfecting holiness.
Rom. 8.14 “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” Friends, as with all things in this life, we have a choice. A choice of whom we allow ourselves to be in mental contact with. Our carnal mind is naturally in tune to the spirit of this world. Which works with the sons of disobedience
We however have an alternative, for we have been given the Holy Spirit. But we must train our minds to be in continual communication with the Holy Spirit. As Paul states, “to pray without ceasing” And we must allow God’s Spirit to lead and direct our entire thought process.
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God” Therefore, it also follows, that if we are not allowing the Holy Spirit to guide us, we will not be considered God’s children.
In Rev. 3.20, Christ tells us that “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” Brethren, God is knocking on the door of our minds. He wants to guide and direct our lives on the highway to holiness. Are we listening and responding appropriately? Are we allowing God’s Spirit to guide and direct us? Are we fully yielded too and eager to be led by God’s Holy Spirit? In Eph. chapter 4, we are admonished to do so. Let’s turn there please.
Eph. 4.17 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind.
Verses 21-24 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.
And let’s back up and read verse 13. EPH.4.13 “till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” Herein we find the definition of what it means to be considered perfect. The perfect man, is the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ”
In other words, a fully developed Christian is defined as being a perfect reflection of Jesus Christ Himself. As it says in verse 24, in true righteousness and holiness.
The word translated perfect in verse 13, means fully finished, or completed. And recall the definition for holy, that we covered at the beginning of this message. Holy means, to be made whole, or entirely complete.
In essence when we are complete, we will have fully developed the mind of Christ, thus having been formed into the image and likeness of God. Just as Jesus said to Phillip, in John 14, if you have known me, Phillip you have also experienced the Father.
And friends, this must be the guiding principle of our life. To fully develop the mind of Christ.
Let’s turn to Matt. 5 and read a related admonition.
Matt. 5.48 “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect” There is no wiggle room in this verse is there? Again our stated goal is to be pure of heart, free from sin and sinful affections” The Apostles understood this point well, as is made evident by their writings. Let’s read something from Peter’s epistle.
1 Peter 1.13-16 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.
Again we are exhorted as obedient children, to become a perfect, completed holy creation. As we have seen this is a central theme that runs through the entire bible.
As well it should, since it is the very reason for our being created in the first place, as we find revealed to us in Eph. chapter 1.
Eph. 1.3-4 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love” So again, we see that we are called to be holy, that is our purpose in life.
OK, in drawing this message to a close, I would like to cover several physical examples in the OT, that I hope may serve to drive home this point, that we must be relentlessly pursuing perfection while we are still able, or we will fall short.
For in failing to fully comprehend what is required of us, we also will lack the resolve necessary in order to fulfill it.
So keeping in mind what we covered earlier, that God often gives us physical examples to teach us spiritual truths. Let’s look at an example of the diligent effort that we must employ in order to fulfill our call to holiness.
Num. 8.6-7 “Take the Levites from among the children of Israel and cleanse them ceremonially.
7 Thus you shall do to them to cleanse them: Sprinkle water of purification on them, and let them shave all their body, and let them wash their clothes, and so make themselves clean.
Friends let’s just take a moment to mediate on what we just read. Men I want you to especially consider what the priesthood was required to do.
They had to shave all of their hair from their entire bodies. The literal Hebrew translated to English reads “ let a razor pass over all your flesh” Now ladies I can only imagine what a chore it must be, to just shave your legs. I find it a chore just to shave my face. But just imagine the effort involved in shaving your entire body completely. Head, eyebrows, arms, legs, hands, feet, chest, back and also your private parts.
This was real painstaking work. And of course all things recorded in the OT are for our spiritual reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness, as we are told in 2 Tim. 3.16..
So this physical example not only reflects the diligent effort that we must employ, but also the totality of resolve necessary to fulfill what God requires of us
OK, so we see here, God’s emphasis on our need to really knuckle down and bring our heart and mind into complete accord with our Father in Heaven.
Now, let’s look at a couple of other scriptures, that stress the necessity to complete our pursuit of perfection, now, in our present life time, before the resurrection.
1 Kings 6.7 And the temple, when it was being built, was built with stone finished at the quarry, so that no hammer or chisel or any iron tool was heard in the temple while it was being built.
Friends. I’m sure we can all discern the spiritual parallel stated here. 1 Peter 2.5 informs us that we “also, as living stones, are being built into a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” Thus, note what we read in 1 Kings 6.7, that the stones were finished prior too, the temple being put together. Implying that we also, as the living stones, must be finished, that is holy, and complete, prior too the resurrection. Another well know scripture drives this very point home as well.
Lev. 23.17 You shall bring from your dwellings two wave loaves of two-tenths of an ephah. They shall be of fine flour; they shall be baked with leaven. They are the first-fruits to the Lord. These two loaves, representing the entirety of the first resurrection, were made of fine flour, which is flour that had been finely ground and sifted multiple times. Then, this specially made dough, after it had been shaped and fully formed, was baked. Thus completing the production process. And then those fully finished loaves, as it states in verse 20, were waved before the Lord, which is symbolic of the resurrection. The point that I want to stress, is that the loaves had to be fully formed prior to the baking process taking place. Likewise, we must complete the transformation of our hearts and of our minds, in order for God to complete the process, of transforming our bodies.
For it is a simple thing for God to quicken our mortal bodies. However, it is only by our own, fervent desire and steadfast determination, that we will be able to fully transform our minds. So as we have seen throughout the bible, God gives us numerous scriptures, emphasizing what we are required to do, in order to qualify for eternal life. Stated simply, we must do what God states at the very beginning, in Genesis 1.26.
Our minds and our hearts must become like that of God Himself. We must fully develop the mind of Christ. Thus completing our spiritual development in the flesh. And we do this by developing an earnest whole hearted resolve, being 100% committed and focused on overcoming our sinful nature. Being continually in tune with, and fully yielding too, the Holy Spirit that God has given us.
Brethren, if I can leave you with one simple thought, it would be this. Holiness means Completeness. Just like the temple stones and the two baked loaves, we must complete the process of being fully formed, having developed the heart and mind of God.
So in conclusion my friends. From this day forward, let us all diligently strive in the Relentless Pursuit of our Personal Perfection. For without Holiness, we will not see the Lord.
Thomas C. Trinka
Aug. 4, 2012