Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Perfection in Humans: What Is It?

Sunday School from May 17, 2009
Perfection in Humans: What is it?

Other meanings of the words translated “perfect” from Strong’s concordance: complete, safe, peaceful, perfect, whole, full, at peace, complete, lacking nothing in strength, beauty, sound, wholesome, ordinary, quiet, complete, morally innocent, having integrity, brought to end, finished, complete, having integrity and virtue, mature, completed, mended, equipped, put in order, made ethical, Make complete, make perfect, achieve goal

2 Chronicles 16:9 For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the entire earth, to strengthen those whose heart is true to him. (NRSV)

For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. (KJV)

1 Kings 8:61 Let your heart therefore be perfect with the LORD our God 430, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day. (KJV)

Therefore devote yourselves completely to the Lord our God, walking in his statutes and keeping his commandments, as at this day (NRSV)

Matthew 5:48 Be perfect as your father in heaven is perfect; be perfect as your heavenly father is perfect

Luke 6:36 Be merciful as your father in heaven is merciful

Matthew 19:21 If you wish to be perfect (rich young ruler)

Luke 6:40 (blind leading blind, mote in eye)
A disciple is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully qualified will be like the teacher. (fully qualified->perfect)

Hebrews 2:10 Jesus made perfect through suffering

“It is finished”—it is completed, it is perfect

What does perfection mean with reference to Job?

Complete, lacking nothing in strength, beauty, sound, wholesome, ordinary, quiet, complete, morally innocent, having integrity

Job 1:1, 1:8, 2:3
Job blameless and upright, feared God, turned away from evil

First response to losing everything: Job 1:20-21: Then Job arose, tore his robe, shaved his head, fell on the ground, and worshiped. He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there; the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Second response to personal illness: Job 2:10 “Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and not receive the bad?”

Job humbly takes both good and bad as from God’s hand and worships God in his sorrow.

Job describes his life of integrity (sounds a lot like Sermon on the Mount, James, parable of the sheep and goats):
Chapter 29:12ff, 30:24ff, 31:1ff
governed his eyes with regard to women, not adulterous
told truth, not deceitful
did not abuse the earth
did not conceal his transgressions
made unrighteous people behave themselves
did not exercise his power to the harm of the powerless
responsive to complaints of slaves
did not rejoice when enemies failed
did not curse his enemies
Actively compassionate, generous
delivered the poor and the orphan who had no helper
gave to poor, shared with orphans, upheld the widow
eyes to blind, feet to lame
father to needy, championed cause of stranger (immigrant)
did not turn against the needy
wept for those whose days were hard
grieved for the poor
gave clothing to the needy, opened doors to the traveler
Nothing above God
did not trust in gold
did not worship sun or moon

God refers to him in 42 as “my servant Job” who has “spoken of me what is right” and says that he will have mercy on Job’s friends when Job prays for them, despite the fact that they said wrong things about God

Jesus—also referred to as perfect in the NT (see Hebrews reference above): what does perfect mean with reference to Jesus?

Obedience, God comes first

John 4:34 My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete (perfect) his work

John 5:36 the works that the Father has given me to complete, the very works that I am doing, testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me

John 17:4 I glorified you on earth by finishing (perfecting) the work you gave me to do

John 17:23 I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one (made perfect)

John 19:28—fulfilled (perfected) the scripture; John 19:30 “It is finished” “It is perfect, it is perfected” “Perfect” “Teleo”

Hebrews 5:9
Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him

The temptation of Jesus reveals where he was perfect:

He responds to the temptations with quotations from Deuteronomy. In context, these reveal important aspects of his perfection.

Humility, dependence on God, obedience to God, focused attention on what God wants
Deuteronomy 8:2-3 Remember the long way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, in order to humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commandments. He humbled you by letting you hunger, then by feeding you with manna, in order to make you understand that one does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.

God comes first, no attempt to coerce or manipulate God, obedience to God
Deuteronomy 6:14, 16-18
Do not follow other gods because God who is present with you is a jealous God
Do not put the Lord your God to the test
You must diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God and his decrees
Do what is right and good in the sight of the Lord, so that it may go well with you

God comes first, God isthe source of all
Deuteronomy 6:12-14
God gives good things you did not earn, take care you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of slavery; The Lord your God you shall fear; him you shall serve, and by his name alone you shall swear

The Perfection of Humans
Remember God who gives you all pleasant things; fear God, serve God, put nothing ahead of God, do what God has said to do, what is right and good, what God tells you to do every day

When suffering comes, remember God, worship God, submit to God, serve God, put nothing ahead of God, do what God says to do

Learn from suffering to be obedient, complete the work God has given you to do

This is human perfection

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