Is it possible for any human being to be perfect, other than Jesus Christ? I remember, when I was younger, pretending to fight with my younger brother. I chased him into his room, and started punching the wood frame on his bed as he yelled each time my hand hit the hard surface. After a few moments, he ran out of his room and into the living room of my parents house and tried to escape out of the glass door on the side of the house. I pinned the door closed so that he could not escape and began to hit the wood on the door frame. Again he yelled each time my hand hit the hard surface. It only took one time, but I misjudged the distance between my hand, the door and the back of my brothers head. My hand hit the back of my brother’s head and my brother hit the ground. My mother heard the solid thud, came in from her room and began wailing on me yelling, “What are you doing to my son!”
My judgment of the distance between my hand, the door-frame and my brother’s hand is a very minor example of the imperfection that resides in us as human beings. Here is the reality. There is a deeper imperfection that resides within each of us, and that imperfection is what separates us eternally from God. Even after we become Christians, after Jesus Christ is the Lord of our lives, we struggle with this imperfection. As much as we try, we seem to always sin in some manner while we live on the earth. My struggle is with performance. I want to perform well, and to such a degree that I am sometimes guilty of focusing more on the way I deliver a message than the message that God is giving me to deliver, and my question still remains. Is it possible for people to be perfect, even during their lives on this earth?
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
Romans 8:26-30 ESV
Intercession from the Spirit in prayer
When we are weak, and when we do not know what to say or how to talk with our God, the Spirit of God actually intercedes for us and communicates with God the Father on our behalf. Our prayers are for God and from God. Here is what that means concerning all prayer, not just when we are weak. Our prayer depends on God, not on our own circumstances, not on our own wants, not on our own desires, not on our own beliefs and not on our own action or attitudes.
I remember, as my parents were getting a divorce, praying and asking God to mend their relationship so that we could all be together as a family. God did not stop the divorce. My parents separated and I was hurt because of it. God does not answer prayer according to us. He answers prayer according to His will and, His will in that situation was that He did not impose on the free will given by Him to all men.
So, imagine that I am trying to reach someone with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I desperately want them to experience the type of relationship that I have with Jesus Christ, so I commit to praying for them every day. According to Paul’s first letter to Timothy, chapter 2 and verses 2 and 3, God desires that all people be saved. My prayer is in line with God’s will and still, some of those people that I pray for do not give their lives over to Christ. Why? If that is God’s desire anyway, would He not already be reaching out to them? I believe He is because if He is not then He is not the omnibenevolent God we declare Him to be. What, then, is the purpose of prayer?
Especially considering the fact that we prayer only by the power of God and not according to our own power, prayer works to conform our hearts to the heart of Christ Jesus. Consider the Holy Word of God. Why is it that some read it and treat it as through it truly enriches their lives, and some suffer through it because every passage seems to be boring and irrelevant? What if we were to read God’s Word with a prayerful heart instead of an “I need to figure out how to apply this to my life” attitude. All of the sudden scripture comes to life, convicts us and tells us how we need to change. Without prayer, that does not happen. The only way in which we can pray according to the will of God is if God reveals His will to us. We can only hear God’s will being revealed to us when we listen, and as we listen, God speaks to us and tells us great and unsearchable things. As we know God more, we also become more like God and it happens through prayer. Why do we not know God? We do not know God because we do not connect with God and ask Him to reveal Himself. Only in light of this should we ever read the next verse and consider its meaning.
God works for our good?
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28 ESV).
As we are praying, and as God is conforming our hearts to that of Christ Jesus, we can know that all things are being worked together for our good. Our good is being conformed to the likeness of Christ, and through that, God receives honor and glory. When God receives honor and glory because of His work in our lives we are also satisfied. That is the way that God designed it. We benefit spiritually when God receives glory, and it is all for His purpose.
Conformation through Predestination
Those whom God foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son. Those whom He predestined He also called. Those whom He called He also justified. Those whom He justified He also glorified. It amazes me just how limited mankind is in his perception of time. We say that God either predestined us at the beginning of time to be saved, or we say that we have a choice. We cannot mix the two without contradicting ourselves. Never do we seem to consider the fact that God exists outside of the bounds of time that He created. If God is outside of time and is not bound by time, then predestination takes place outside of time. God chooses us from outside the confines of time. He foreknows. He also predestines. He also calls. He also justifies, and He also glorifies according to His will outside of time. This does not limit the free will that God granted us in the beginning, or within time. It also does not constrict God’s authority. We limit our perception of God by placing Him within the confines of time.
Those whom God foreknows, He predestines them to be conformed to the image of His son: the image of perfection. Here is what that means. Before we even become an adopted child of God, God puts His stamp of approval on us according to His foreknowledge, while at the same time working in our lives from the outside pushing us toward perfection. Because of His influence on our lives, we are exposed to the presence of God, even if it is very difficult for us to perceive. Because of that revelation, we can then cry out to God and receive eternal life. Thus, Christ becomes the firstborn of many brothers. Those whom God pushes toward perfection, He also calls to eternal life. Those whom god calls to eternal life, He also justifies through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ forgiving all sin. Those whom God justifies, He also glorifies: giving them an eternal inheritance in His kingdom. Here it is put simply. If you are one of God’s children, then you will be perfect. It gets better than that. If we are already glorified according to God and through the power of Jesus Christ, then when God looks at us, He sees the image of His Son Jesus Christ: He sees perfection. God never sees His children as anything less than perfection. We just limit ourselves when we don’t choose to connect with God in prayer. We must remember that it is the Spirit’s intercession for us in prayer that conforms our heart to the heart of Jesus Christ while we are on this earth and that allows us to live according to the perfection that God already sees His children with.