What is your definition of a Christian?
With a word that contains a variety of connotations, I believe the Bible defines a Christian in one short statement:
One who is already perfect in Christ. Do you agree?
Jesus set the standard for heaven in Matthew 5:48 when he declared, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
In the context of Matthew 5, Jesus is confronting those who felt comfortable in their own righteousness. They believed that God would judge them favorably based on their commitment and obedience. In a sense, Jesus is asking them, “Really? Are you safe? Because you have not committed adultery, are you not guilty of lust? Because you have not murdered, are you not guilty of anger? My standard is to be perfect, because I am perfect.”
One sin, no matter how small, causes imperfection. Either you are perfect or you are not. The reality is that a person can never become perfect.
No matter your definition of a Christian, if perfection is the standard, how comfortable will you be on judgment day?
Jesus’ whole point on His sermon on the mount is to make a person uncomfortable with their righteousness.
The whole point of Christ’s life and death is to have a person receive comfort in His righteousness.
Saving faith means that a person has met the standard of perfection. By faith alone, a person receives the full benefit of Christ’s completed work on the cross. Christ’s perfect obedience becomes a believer’s perfect obedience. His payment on the cross becomes a believer’s payment. His life becomes a believer’s life.
This contrasts to a Mormon’s definition of perfection.
In a recent blog post I wrote for tilm, org, the focus is on the false belief that a person can become perfect based on their own obedience. Since perfection is unrealistic, the LDS Church redefines Jesus’ command to “be perfect”. In the process of becoming perfect and “practicing” to follow Jesus, they are in a sense, “being perfect.”
The blog post goes on to give three suggestions on how to share the biblical concept of perfection with a Mormon. Click here to read the blog post.
Do you have a holey gospel?
“Not only is that a catchy phrase it also describes a serious condition many believers have. What exactly is “a holey gospel”? It’s when people either don’t see or fail to apply the awesome truth that in a very real way Jesus sacrificed his life twice for us. Every believer knows about Jesus’ dying to pay for their sins. That is the basis for every believer’s hope of being accepted by God. We cling to Jesus’ cross for dear life’s sake. Many fewer believers, however, realize the significance and thus fail to derive comfort from the fact that Jesus not only died for us, but he also lived for us. That’s the hole in many people’s gospel.” (Mark Cares)
To read more from the article “Is your gospel holey?” click here