What Does “Perfect in Christ” Really Mean?


I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.
I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

 

One hot July afternoon at an Oklahoma Camp meeting, I visited a friend in her tent. Just outside sat my friend’s 13-year-old daughter with a friend she had just met. This was her friend’s first camp meeting. He had come with his grandfather who just became a Christian. He did not know what to think about all the meetings and asked my friend’s daughter, “What do you think about Jesus? What is He really all about?” My ears perked up, as I was quite interested how she would answer.


“Before my mom and I met Jesus, we argued and yelled at each other all the time, and I could not stand my home, but now that we met Jesus we don’t yell anymore, and I love my home now.”
I will never forget what she said.

Interesting. She introduced her new friend to Jesus as a literal friend Who had literally changed her life, and not as some pretend theory.

I heard a radio preacher once say, “in order to be able to call Jesus your Savior He has to actually save you from something.” He was right. Many people speak of faith almost like it is pretending. Some use a very Biblical term, “perfect in Christ,” but then they add, “but it is only by faith.” By saying “only by faith,” they make it sound like faith is only pretending. When we read in Hebrews 11:30 about the walls of Jericho falling by faith, we take that to mean that the walls of Jericho literally fell and did not just pretend to fall. So when we read in Colossians 1:28, “that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus,” should we not take that “perfect in Christ” to be literal also and not just pretense?

Read how Ellen White describes the term “perfect in Christ” In the Great Controversy, page 623.

… we should seek to become perfect in Christ. Not even by a thought could our Saviour be brought to yield to the power of temptation. Satan finds in human hearts some point where he can gain a foothold; some sinful desire is cherished, by means of which his temptations assert their power. But Christ declared of Himself: “The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me.” John 14:30. Satan could find nothing in the Son of God that would enable him to gain the victory. He had kept His Father’s commandments, and there was no sin in Him that Satan could use to his advantage. This is the condition in which those must be found who shall stand in the time of trouble. It is in this life that we are to separate sin from us, through faith in the atoning blood of Christ.

If faith literally made the walls of Jericho fall, then we have to believe that faith will also make a literal and practical change in the way we live our lives.

On that hot summer afternoon, so many years ago, my friend’s daughter gave an example of how her faith literally changed her life, thus showing faith is not just make-believe, but instead makes things practical and literal. I am totally powerless to tear down the strongholds Satan has set up in my life, but the same faith that made the walls of Jericho come crumbling down will also make those strongholds in my life to come down as well.

You may study this week’s Sabbath School lesson here.

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