Word of the Month

Perfection

July 2010

Perfection. This word sounds a little frightening. And the term implies a high standard indeed: we are to come to perfection and worthiness (cf. Matthew 5: 48). We are to overcome and be prepared for the moment of Christ’s return. When we then think about all our mistakes and shortcomings, we might easily become anxious and ask: “How am I ever supposed to reach perfection?” Of course we will never actually come to the point where we can truly say: “Now I am perfect!” The Lord in His time already made it clear through various parables that there are different degrees when it comes to this. In the parable of the sower, He mentioned that even good soil has varying degrees of fertility – some brings a thirty-fold harvest, while other types of soil yield a sixty-fold or even a hundred-fold harvest (cf. Matthew 13: 23). Thus there are differences and varying grades of perfection, which shows us that we do not need to be concerned about not reaching perfection in all matters. The important thing is that we remain on the path that leads to perfection and that we continually endeavour to attain it.

But how do we actually reach perfection? The most important thing is that we continue to move forward step by step. Development, increase, and growth must take place if we seek to reach perfection.

Let me ask the question: “Is there any growth to be seen in us?” Here we must all examine ourselves. Is there any growth to be seen in our faith? Then we are on the way to perfection. Has there been any growth in the sense that we serve the Lord more today than we did in the past? Then we are on the path toward perfection. Is there any growth in the sense that we are increasingly successful in avoiding sin and other ungodly things? Then we are on the path to perfection. Is there any growth in the sense that love has become more evident in the congregation? Then we are on the right path, namely on our path to perfection.

Growth is the important thing when it comes to reaching perfection. Certainly we could never manage this on our own. Our perfection will ultimately be effected by the Lord! He creates this within us through His word and grace. By applying this divine grace and working on our weaknesses with the power of Christ’s merit, we will move forward, step by step, and ultimately reach perfection.

Our worthiness on the day of the Lord will not depend upon whether we have reached perfection in all things. This will not be the case. We are and remain dependent on grace, especially in view of our perfection. If we have done our part, the Lord will add grace to what we are still lacking in the end. Then we will be able to say that we have reached perfection through grace.

(From a divine service by the Chief Apostle)