John’s Secret to Perfection
In Him is No Sin
Genuine church ministry cannot fall short of perfection. Jesus didn’t take the brutal beating and the appalling crucifixion so we can comfortably sin in grace. After salvation by grace comes perfection in “ever increasing glory.” God wants to see His image in and on us. Thus, John says Jesus came to “take our sins away” (1Jn.3.5) because in Him is no sin. Try to get that into our thick skulls—in Him is no sin. And Jesus came to “destroy the devil’s work” (1Jn.3.8). Is the devil’s work destroyed in you?
It's like how my son would make sure that not a grain of rice is left on his plate each meal. If he can do that commitment each meal, why not in our spiritual lives? Jesus said, life is more than food and clothing.
The Image Appeared
John shared a secret to this perfection. Millions of believers have been complaining about perfection to this day because they fail to see John’s points in his letters. And first of which is that perfection in this life is possible. In fact, perfection is the only thing real in this life. John and the disciples saw how with their own eyes. They saw what it looked like. They didn’t just hear it but felt it too, and touched it, and even smelled it. John powerfully declared, “The life was manifested.” In other versions, “The life appeared.” People who don’t believe in perfection see only themselves and their rotten church. The bible says, anyone who believes in this purifies himself just as He is pure.
When people see how God’s perfection plan cannot fit into how they envision their lives, they negate it and start formulating their own redemption plans, put in bible verses, and call it God’s plan. They have doctored a lot of things in Scriptures to crop God’s Word into their lives.
The Perfect Man
For centuries, in the Old Testament, perfection had been elusive. Even the perfect creature, Adam, failed miserably. So did David, the man after God’s own heart, and Solomon, the wisest king in the world that time. This shows that man’s perfection, pure heart, and wisdom, no matter how bible-based, are not enough. Adam was created perfect, but such as only on the level that man at best can have. He did not have God fully living in him 100 percent. When you have God 100 percent living in you (and you no longer live), you have perfection. Before Jesus, this perfection was not feasible.
Now, at last, John and his fellows saw perfection. Real and feasible perfection. Jesus showed them it was possible. He showed them how. He lived as a man, opting not to use His God-powers, but using only faith and His relationship to the Father. “He made himself of no reputation…but opted to be in the likeness of man” (Phil.2.6). Jesus shows us that perfection is very possible with genuine faith and relationship with GOD.
Satan tempted him to use his God-powers. “If you are the Son of God, turn this stones…” But Jesus said “Man shall not live by bread alone….” Jesus hinted at his humanity here. He could only save by being perfect man, though he was perfect God. And this perfect man is the only Way to the Father. Perfection is the only Way to God. Hence, Jesus said, “Be perfect like your heavenly Father is perfect,” (Matt.5).
But a lot of deceived “believers” today still trash perfection and maintain they are saved sinners. They hate the idea of perfection. They are comfy in the thought that the devil’s work is still alive in them—according to them, God’s grace keeps them okay despite it. They enthrone sinful man and dethrone the perfect God in genuine believers. A writer once said, "You cannot worship whom you dethrone."
The power of God-in-us is awesome. It is more powerful than 100 nuclear bombs. God in the flesh (or Word made, or appearing, in flesh) is the mystery of genuine godliness (1Tim.3.16). It has the power to wipe out sin for good. “God is light: in Him there is no darkness at all,” (1Jn.15). But many “believers” today downplay this truth and hold on to their sinful imperfection.
John’s message is that, through Jesus, the LIFE, zero-sin is now possible!
Big, Big Liars
Believers who claim to be in Christ and yet reject a zero-sin life are liars. “If we claim to have fellowship with Him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.” However, true believers “walk” or live in the light. And that’s the basis of a genuine fellowship, a kind of fellowship that has the power to activate the blood of Jesus to “purify from all sin.” God wants no less than purification from all sin, not partial cleansing as people who are “saved sinners” would have it. God’s plan is the gathering of saved saints living holy lives in Christ. If a church is peopled by nothing but “saved sinners”—those who keep sinning but still claim they are of God—true fellowship is impossible. The best they can have is religious socializing, mentioning God’s name now and then, and sounding spiritual. And fake fellowships—though happy and numerous and moneyed—cannot be washed by the blood of Jesus to purify from all sin.
Here’s among John’s powerful secrets: Purification begins with honesty. You must admit sin when it’s there. There would be times when sin would slip through and cause you to fall—even if you had been living in perfect holiness before it happened. Many people who believe in holiness fail to acknowledge such fall and act as if they have not sinned. That’s self deception. “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”
There was this pastor of a holiness church. When an invited lecturer said there were many Christians who lived in unrepented sexual immorality—active church leaders and even pastors—the pastor protested and maintained that such didn’t exist in his church denomination. He said this notwithstanding that his pastor-son was guilty of sexual immorality. This was also the sin of Eli. “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”
Perfection can abruptly end and abruptly start again. As long as you’re in the light (in God), you are sinless and perfect. “In Him is no sin.” But the moment you fail and sin, the perfection ceases. But God’s grace—if you use it right—is there to make sure you can immediately re-connect and continue in perfection. When you sin, don’t let the sin stay more than 3 to 5 seconds in you. Admit and repent right away! Thus, “No one who lives in Him keeps on sinning,” (1Jn.3.6).
If we repent, he is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all sin. God wants us to be always sinless and perfect in this way. If you sin, repent pronto and be in God again—whole and perfect. Remember, “In Him is no sin.”
What is Perfection?
Is perfection freedom from error? Not doing anything wrong? When a guy hates perfection he would see error in everything you do. Jesus was free from error and yet everybody thought he was wrong. Even his own disciples thought he miscalculated his moves somewhere and decided to abandon ship. His family thought he was not only in error—he was mad.
The concept of what is wrong is really subjective. A lot of right things can be wrong to other people, and vice versa. In fact, Jesus says, when you’re perfect like him, “All men will hate you because of me.” And since most people think the majority is right, you’d be deemed wrong when you are 100 percent for Jesus. No one on earth has the capacity to judge what is perfect and what is not—except those who has God’s mind. “The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment,” (1Cor.2.15). In another breath, Paul says, “…but God has revealed it to us by His Spirit,” (1Cor.2.10).
Perfection is not how some people see it, no matter how bible-based they sound (and especially if they are against perfection). Perfection to men is how you follow their rules. Perfection to them is when you become their slaves. However, even if you were a law-abiding person following their rules to the letter, you will never be perfect in God’s eyes. Because the people who made those rules—church denominational rules or other man-made laws—are NOT perfect. Only if God’s Word is made flesh in you can you be perfect in Christ. And if that were the case, you’d start looking all wrong to the world—especially the worldly church. You can never mix God’s ways and the ways of this world.
Perfection is how God sees it. And God enables genuinely spiritual believers to know and live out true perfection in Christ. How do you know you are in God’s perfection? You know it if you are genuinely spiritual. No one knows the thoughts of God…(but) we received the Spirit from God so we may understand what God has freely given us (1Cor.2.12). And this is understood “not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught us by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words” (v.13). It is ALL spiritual. It’s all in the Spirit’s tongue. And this means there shouldn’t be even an iota of worldly system in your ways. Everything you do is Jesus—because He alone is the Way. You have utterly given up all other ways, especially man’s ways and his denominations. This is true perfection.
Willful Sinning and the Abuse of Grace
What if you keep sinning because anyway you can “repent” later? Many people keep “repenting” from the same sins from the day they started believing to their death. Their whole church life is nothing but repentance from the same sins and involvement in church activities. They haven’t built anything in the Spirit. They are convicted each time the altar is opened, but repeats the sin after a few days. Even Hebrews says we should leave the teaching on repentance and go on to maturity. We should leave the life of sin behind.
Worse, some people are active in church only to make up for the chronic sins they have. They donate to pay for their sins. While having this rotten spiritual life, they claim they have been freed to serve God. There is a teaching today that you can sin even if you’re a Christian and not bother with repentance anymore because Jesus has set you free from all sin—past, present, and future. They don’t mind sinning while in ministry. No need to repent anymore—because they say Jesus paid for it once and for all. That’s what they mean when they say Jesus has set them free—free to sin.
Jesus did pay for all sin once and for all—past, present, future. But this truth should lead us to real holiness in ever-increasing glory, not sin more in grace. If you hold to this truth and yet sin more, you are of all people deceived.
And they masquerade this by catchphrases like, “Knowing who you are in Christ.” It’s a good intro, but this leads to the free-to-sin concept.
Peter has a warning: “If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness…” (2Pet.2.20-22).
You see the key? If, and only if, you fall into sin, it should not entangle and overcome you. You should genuinely repent and assume your spiritual position in Christ at once and go on to rigid holiness and being like Jesus in ever-increasing glory. If you keep on sinning, there’s something wrong. If you’re comfy in being a “saved sinner,” Satan has deceived you. Listen to the Word and the voice of the Spirit. God will surely point to you the problem. He is faithful and just. And be sure to have accuracy in repentance. If God speaks to you and you “claim you have not sinned, you make him out to be a liar and his Word has no place in your life.”
God’s Will and Provision
John is clear about God’s real will. “I write this to you so that you will not sin,” (1Jn.2). It is possible not to sin. That’s why John writes to us. It’s the real will. But some will be stubborn or weak or shallow, so God also provides a way out of sin. “But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ…”
The real will is living without sin. The provision is the grace of being forgiven in case you fall into sin—in case. But don’t focus on the provision. God doesn’t want to see us developing a habit for the provision. Some churches teach people to have an eye for the provision. The glorious church of Jesus teaches people to have an eye only for the real will of God. The provision is good but God’s real will is righteous, holy, and perfect Christ-likeness. We should belong to the glorious church of Jesus, without spot or wrinkle. And John has given us the vital secrets.
More by this Author
Great things are for the great. However, God's delight is in simple folks who have hearts like little children whose only talents are marvel at his work and heavily rely on him.
I began understanding the plan of God in the latter part of 1998. I had already been pastoring a big church then, starting as an associate pastor in 1983, and then being the senior pastor later. But everything was...
God shows you something in Scripture so crystal clear, and it’s so powerful. He tells you it’s yours in due time, so you wait in expectation. Then it never happens. Instead, you see other people have it, and...
No comments yet.