I do not believe that God is as interested in perfecting us as He is in perfecting LOVE within us.
For our sins were nailed to the cross with Jesus Christ and there is nothing we may add to that finished work of redemption. Jesus told us that the entire law and the prophets were contained in fulfilling the first two commandments. They were not prohibitions, but a command to LOVE. And the third command, which He added, went beyond those.
John 13:34,35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
I find these revelations compelling. If the law were fulfilled in the first two commandments, why add another? I believe it is because in order to be of His kingdom, of which He was to become the ‘firstborn’, He knew it would require His kind of love. Immediately following this command, He informs the disciples that where He is going none can follow. Peter’s response is to declare a willingness to lay down his life for Jesus, to which Jesus replies, “ the rooster shall not crow before you deny Me three times.” Yet, then He declares a wonderful thing. “Let not your heart be troubled, I go to prepare a place for you.”
His love is of another kingdom. Not of this world. A love that does not keep records, or take measurements. It does not expect a return, and though that may seem ‘unfair’ it will always be ‘good’ for it cannot help but bear good fruit. And you shall know them by their fruits. So, while His disciples argued about who would be the greatest in His kingdom, the Greatest was quietly girding his waist with a towel and preparing to wash their feet. I am astounded. Where can I get a love like that? Only from the indwelling Christ.
It is easy to recognize those who lack Kingdom love for they are continually dissecting people’s words or behavior according to the law. But Jesus told the Pharisees in John 5:39 “You search the scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.” It is these also who will read my words and begin to argue, ‘but you are giving people a license to sin!’ Heaven forbid! Kingdom life is not about splitting hairs, or straining gnats! What an abominable reduction of the power of the cross and resurrection! Jesus said if your eye is clear you will be full of light. If it is not, how great the darkness. We will know them by their fruit, not by dissecting their doctrines or their lives.
Romans 14:4 “Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.”
And again: Luke 18:9-14 “Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men – extortionists, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’
And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you; this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
It is only in dying to our self-efforts towards self-righteousness that we are finally able to yield fully to the indwelling Christ. Perfect love already lives within us when we partake of Him. It is only self which stands in the way. Whether that self leads us to view pornography or to outdo others in knowledge and good works in order to feel justified, it is death. The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
O what freedom! To at last lay down my vain efforts to save myself and others. I feel like one who draws near to the end of a terminal illness, who finally accepts my state of utter helplessness. A clarity of mind comes to me, which was previously hindered by all the cares of this world. It is not about me, it never was. I now take His yoke upon me. It is easy and light. And I take on as well His meekness and humility. I must decrease so that He may increase. No more self-seeking and self-preservation. It is finished.
2 Cor 3:17-18 “Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”