“Your Perfection” (2Cor. 13:9)
Certainly, all believers ought to know and appreciate how and what Paul shares of the rich and precious teachings of our reconciliation, redemption, and justification by the shed blood and cross of Christ as seen in the earlier chapters of Romans… but there is more for us. Paul then progresses towards the end of the epistle sharing with us in Romans 15 ‘how to live’ righteous, self-giving lives with Christ … whose life, strength, power… is life, strength, power is now our as we live “with Him.”
This article by Rod Jones reveals the high bar of living “with [by] Christ” as our righteous life to be lived out as we grow in and by His words, love, and life as our new ‘identity’ in union with Christ. - Arthur Licursi
Consider Our Powerful Identity With Christ:
2Co 13:3 Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, which to you-ward is not weak, but is mighty in you.
2Co 13:4 For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with [in union with] him by the power of God toward you.
2Co 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except [unless] ye be reprobates?
One of the most ‘powerful’ and important Biblical aspects of our life as Christians is our ‘identity.’ But oftentimes many Christians only ‘identify,’ and glory in the identity that we have “IN Christ” based upon our faith in the gospel of our salvation from the debt and penalty of sin against us. In this study, we are going to look at an identity “WITH Christ” which sadly goes un-noticed. This identity “with Christ” involves the Saints operating based upon Christ’s Power.
In the verses above and below, notice the words used like, “power,” “might,” “perfect,” “strong.” These words all refer to the Saint being ‘more than just justified unto eternal life,’ our Father has equipped us with His Word so that we too can ‘live by’ the power of God. And this ‘living’ is not referring to ‘eternal life’ but rather living our lives NOW by His Holy Word.
But what is significant to note is; how Paul says, “we also,” and that ‘we too’ “SHALL live WITH Him by the power of God toward” us. And this type of ‘living’ refers to our current life. This is not simply being saved from the debt and penalty of sin against us, but our living sanctified righteous lives WITH and BY Christ, as the “power of God,” as we are being strengthened by His Word, His love, and WITH Christ’s Life.
Rom 15:1 We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
Rom 15:2 Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.
Rom 15:3 For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.
Furthermore, just as Paul uses the ensample of Christ living by the power of God in 2 Corinthians13:4 (above), he then says, “we also.” Paul does this in the doctrine concerning the “strong,” and the “perfect” in Christ. The Apostle Paul is teaching that it is this godly ‘form of living,’ and its Godly Power “toward” the Saint who desires this powerful life. And here in Romans 15, we see another verse that shows our identity “with” Christ. and this identity is as a ‘Minister’ of God and teaching the “weak in the faith” for their godly “good.” This is the ‘powerful’ identity in Christ that many Saints do not understand and appreciate, but the Apostle Paul shows Jesus Christ as an ensample when he says, “for even Christ” (Rom 15:3).
In Romans 15:1-3 Paul gives us the exhortation as those who “are strong,” then he says, ‘look at the Lord’s selfless ensample.’ And that; “for even Christ pleased not Himself,” ought to be a godly selfless pattern to follow, and this done by the Saint who is “strong,” and who have “obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine.”
Rom 15:5 Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:
Rom 15:6 That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Rom 15:7 Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.
Rom 15:8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:
Therefore, our “perfection” is an identity that the “strong” desires to live. Paul says things like, “be strong,” and “be perfect,” this is an identity. And the word “be” in itself denotes an identity. Children desire to have an adult career, and to “be” someone as an adult. So, when we see Romans 15:5, and Paul says, that God would “grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:” notice the “be likeminded one toward another ACCORDING TO Christ Jesus.” Our minds ought to be “likeminded” WITH Christ Jesus. This is having the “mind of Christ” as the strong, and living our lives WITH the mind of Christ, and following this selfless ensample unto godly “perfection” by His Word.
Notice the selfless ensample being taught also in Romans 15:7 and 8, where Paul says “receive ye one another, AS CHRIST ALSO received us,” we are to treat one another with this powerful selfless ensample of perfection (2Cor. 13:9) “AS CHRIST ALSO” would walk. And the Lord being shown here in verse Rom. 15:8 as a “Minister” shows ‘the strong’ the Lord fulfilling His Ministry, and then Paul is shown later in the chapter also fulfilling his Ministry, both are our ensample to “be” in this “perfect” identity as a “minister” “for the truth.”
2Co 13:6 But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.
2Co 13:7 Now I pray to God that ye do no evil; not that we should appear approved, but that ye should do that which is honest, though we be as reprobates.
2Co 13:8 For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.
2Co 13:9 For we are glad, when we are weak, and ye are strong: and this also we wish, even your perfection.
2Co 13:10 Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the power which the Lord hath given me to edification, and not to destruction.
2Co 13:11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.
However, this “perfection” 1) is done by the reading of our Father’s Holy Word, and 2) by the Spiritual thinking “according to” His Word and living our lives with an “enlarged heart” by HIS selfless Grace unto us. And our being “perfect” is an ‘on going’ process with God’s Word.
In 1st Corinthians, and 1st Thessalonians, Paul’s earlier epistles during the Acts period, Paul said that these Saints could “be perfect,” and “strong.” And Paul would say that he and others were “faithful,” strong in the faith, “blameless,” and that he was operating based upon “the power of God.”
We too can now begin to operate upon a ‘perfected’ life in Christ. Our Father’s “perfection” begins with Our Hearts Operating Upon His Word Alone. And when this is done, the ‘son and daughter’ is a “blameless,” “perfect,” “faithful,” and “strong” son who Lives HIS Sanctified Life By The “Power of God Toward” Us. Our lives ought to be an ‘On Going’ Life Of Edification By His Word, but not just the ‘details’ that we see in God’s Word, but the ‘Doctrine,’ and that is the “life” of God, the heart of God, and the ‘why’ of the verses with Spiritual understanding, not looking at ‘just’ the historical facts found in His Word. But rather being “Likeminded” According To Godliness and Being “Perfect” has a ‘beginning point;’ Unto The Lord’s Coming. This is the ‘life’ of perfection that we are exhorted to walk in “according to [or in accord with] Christ Jesus.”
Eph 1:18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
Eph 1:19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
Eph 1:20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
By Rod Jones