#Relationship #PerfectRelationship #Detection #Deception #SelfDeception #11thcommandment #CharlesSpurgeon #Pride #humility #perfection #CognitiveBiases
Series – Perfect Relationship: 24 Tools for Building BRIDGES to Harmony and Taking Down WALLS of Conflict in our Relationships –
Episode 5 – Adopt the 11th (eleventh) Commandment – DO NOT KID THYSELF – Find out why we kid or fool ourselves so frequently and our remedy if any
Friday 18th of November 18, 2022
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Series – Perfect Relationship: 24 Tools for Building BRIDGES to Harmony and Taking Down WALLS of Conflict in our Relationships
Episode 5 – Adopt the 11th (eleventh) Commandment – DO NOT KID THYSELF – Find out why we kid or fool ourselves so frequently and our remedy if any
Friends, if there is anything we humans have adopted to a large degree in our relationship with self and others, it is this – Self-Deception! Hence the title today on episode 5 – “Adopt the eleventh commandment – DO NOT KID THYSELF – find out why we kid or fool ourselves so frequently and our remedy if any.” This applies to our relationship with ourselves and others.
If you missed episode 4 on Perfect Relationship: 24 Tools for Building BRIDGES to Harmony and Taking Down WALLS of Conflict in our Relationships – Intimacy with God in the secret place – Episode 4 – How God brings us into intimacy with Him through STORMS of life – True story by Bob Sorge
Follow this link: https://www.otakada.org/perfect-relationship-24-tools-for-building-bridges-to-harmony-and-taking-down-walls-of-conflict-in-our-relationships-intimacy-with-god-in-the-secret-place-episode-4-how-god-bring/
Question – To find answers to the question of “Find out why we kid or fool ourselves so frequently and our remedy if any,“ we took some views from the world and from Jesus Christ, Paul and Charles Haddon Spurgeon in his sermon of July 31st 1856.
Now, introduction to self-deception from worldly observation or diagnosis and remedy.
Self-deception takes place when we know that a certain thing is the case but we convince ourselves that something else is true. We know that we’ve deceived ourselves this way when, for example, a romantic relationship goes sour and we realize that we “knew all along there was an issue but I didn’t pay attention.” Or when we may believe in a religion or a political party or a profession for years only to find at some point that we have “finally come to our senses.” Sweepingly, too, we deceive ourselves about our superiority; most people, studies show, believe that their qualities and abilities are above average.
The payoff seems to be found in our relationships with other people. We are and always have been obsessed with reading each other: who to trust, who to help, who to mate with, who is lying, what a person’s motives are, who is in cahoots with whom, who is faking an emotion, and what others are thinking about us. Underlying most of these calculations run the twin skills of deceiving others and knowing when others are trying to deceive us (as in “Femi or Joseph may look relaxed but I get the sense that he’s about to ask me to do him a big favor.”) Consider how much of our social conversation revolves around such detection and deception.
Psychologist Robert Trivers’ argues that the reason we deceive ourselves is that doing so makes us better at deceiving others. “Self-deception evolves in the service of deception—the better to fool others.”* If you have convinced yourself that your child is extraordinary at the piano or that your fiancée is perfect, you will be able to talk on those subjects without stumbling over your words, looking flushed, or showing other signs of lying. And self-deception has an added advantage: it makes our dishonesty not only more convincing to others but also less stressful for us, since in fact, to us, it doesn’t feel like deception at all.
In Psychology today, an article posted in February 5, 2019, by Karen Wu Ph.D., The Modern Heart – 4 Ways Our Brains Fool Us When It Comes to Love, Could your cognitive biases be keeping you from finding “the one”?
Before I go into Karen Wu’s post I will like to bring to you the meaning of cognitive biases mention by Karen in the title above and you will see this in this post.
A cognitive bias is a systematic error in thinking that occurs when people are processing and interpreting information in the world around them and affects the decisions and judgments that they make.
The human brain is powerful but subject to limitations. Cognitive biases are often a result of your brain’s attempt to simplify information processing. Biases often work as rules of thumb that help you make sense of the world and reach decisions with relative speed.
Some of these biases are related to memory. The way you remember an event may be biased for a number of reasons and that, in turn, can lead to biased thinking and decision-making.
Other cognitive biases might be related to problems with attention. Since attention is a limited resource, people have to be selective about what they pay attention to in the world around them.
Because of this, subtle biases can creep in and influence the way you see and think about the world.
In this Introduction to Karen’s post, be attentive to the worldly reasoning and why we kid ourselves in relationship with self and also with others. She wrote and I quote.
“Use your head, not your heart.” Many of us have been told that our brains will lead us down the right path. But are our brains really so wise in matters of love? Or do they lead us astray?
In the past few decades, researchers have discovered that we are not as rational as we think. We have all sorts of biases that may help us in one realm, but harm us in another. For instance, it was once believed that we make decisions based on careful, deliberate thought. Instead, most of the time, we act based on our feelings, using our cognitive resources to convince ourselves that we made the best decision.
This process works most of the time and keeps us feeling quite pleased with ourselves. There are times, however, when our decisions are more complex, perhaps with more long-lasting consequences, and our convoluted rationalizations are not enough to keep us happy.
Matters of love can be particularly tricky. Many of us may find ourselves wondering if we just have the worst luck in love — or if it’s just us. And sometimes, it is us, but not in the way that we would think. Sometimes our biases can trick us into wanting all the wrong things. Below are four ways that our brains fool us when it comes to love.
- We think we know what we want — but we don’t.
Perhaps you know someone who insisted that they were looking for something specific in a partner — maybe a certain body type, a specific height, or even a particular occupation — but instead they ended up madly in love with someone who was the complete opposite! This is not uncommon. The reality is that many of us have no idea what we really want.
In my recent speed-dating study, Asian Americans reported that they would prefer to date someone of their ethnicity. At the actual speed-dating event, however, they did not act upon their reported preferences and were not more likely to offer in-group members a second date. In another study, men thought that they were attracted to intelligent women, but actually found them less attractive in real life.
Psychologists have explained this phenomenon through the “hot-cold empathy gap.” According to the hot-cold empathy gap, we anticipate our decisions in a “cold” rational state, failing to account for the emotions we go through when we actually make our decisions. When we actually act, we are in a “hot” state, driven by visceral desires. In my study, then, perhaps participants were dutifully thinking of their parents and their expectations when they reported their preferences, but these thoughts disappeared when they sat across from their speed-dating partners and felt the full force of attraction.
- We like more choices — as many as possible.
We like choices. We think that choices give us freedom and allow us to maximize our happiness, and we think that we will enjoy having many choices until we actually get them (another example of the hot-cold empathy gap). The truth is, choices can be very bad for our well-being. In the face of too many choices, we often freeze, a phenomenon known as choice paralysis or choice overload. We fail to make a choice.
Those of us who are popular may experience an overwhelming flood of suitors and decide that the best thing to do is to not commit, even if we really want love, because how can we possibly choose? Those less popular may succumb to the illusion of choice (all those potential partners that we can swipe right on!). When we experience a little bump in a budding relationship, all these other “fish in the sea” tempt us and make us think about what could be.
- We try to be rational by “keeping our options open.”
We keep our options open, because we don’t want to miss out. This can, however, be detrimental for two reasons. First, when we make a choice, our brains naturally kick into action to convince us that we have made the best choice. We focus on all the merits of our choice and the weaknesses of our alternatives in an effort to reduce cognitive dissonance, or the discomfort when our beliefs clash with our behavior. By keeping our options open, we stay in a state of uncertainty.
For instance, say that you have committed to your new partner, and then discover that they have a really unappealing habit. Your brain might kick into action convincing you that this habit actually doesn’t bother you. Or it might convince you that this means you just love your partner that much. With other options available, you would instead struggle to decide whether you should be turning to someone else.
Second, keeping our options open keeps us from properly investing in a relationship. How can we expect a relationship to flourish when we are only putting in a fraction of our effort?
- We stay with the wrong people, because we don’t want our effort to go to waste.
Putting in effort is great — to a certain point. Putting in effort tends to make us happier in our relationships, due to a combination of cognitive dissonance (the more we put in, the more we like something) and relationship growth. However, sometimes we stay with the wrong people because of sunk cost. You may know that a relationship won’t work, but you don’t want your time and effort to go to waste. You end up staying and staying, and it becomes harder and harder to leave. Most of us also have a dose of unrealistic optimism that further fuels the flame.
It’s clear that our minds play a lot of tricks on us. Oftentimes it’s a good thing, but sometimes it’s not. It’s up to us to take a cold hard look at ourselves and ask whether we are truly operating in our own best interest.
Once we determine that we are, we can let our guards down and be content as a “fool in love.”
That ends the psychologist’s prognosis!
For a relationship to work, we must come to the point that we accept that we are all flawed vessels. Humility demands that we accept this as fact and the Holy Spirit can then work with us to come to the point of repentance that leads to transformation. But, we will not because we are fool of pride and arrogance and as the scripture says, “God resist the proud and gives grace to the humble. Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God and He will exult you in due time. Same thing was repeated by Apostle Peter and James.
1 Peter 5:5-6
New King James Version
Submit to God, Resist the Devil
5 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for
“God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.”
6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,
New King James Version
6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:
“God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.”
Humility Cures Worldliness
7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
Others scriptures are as follows:
For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly, but the haughty he knows from afar.
King James Version
23 A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.
King James Version
10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.
11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.
12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.
Read, hear, digest and meditate upon what Jesus Christ, Paul and Charles Spurgeon said concerning the why reason as it affects our theme on perfect relationship.
Amplified Bible, Classic Edition
17 And as He was setting out on His journey, a man ran up and knelt before Him and asked Him, Teacher, [You are [a]essentially and perfectly [b]morally] good, what must I do to inherit eternal life [that is, [c]to partake of eternal salvation in the Messiah’s kingdom]?
19 You know the commandments: Do not kill, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not bear false witness, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.
20 And he replied to Him, Teacher, I have carefully guarded and observed all these and taken care not to violate them from my boyhood.
21 And Jesus, looking upon him, loved him, and He said to him, You lack one thing; go and sell all you have and give [the money] to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come [and] accompany Me [[h]walking the same road that I walk].
22 At that saying the man’s countenance fell and was gloomy, and he went away grieved and sorrowing, for he was holding great possessions.
23 And Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, With what difficulty will those who possess wealth and [i]keep on holding it enter the kingdom of God!
King James Version
48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
Amplified Bible, Classic Edition
2 Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].
3 For by the grace (unmerited favor of God) given to me I warn everyone among you not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought [not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance], but to rate his ability with sober judgment, each according to the degree of faith apportioned by God to him.
4 For as in one physical body we have many parts (organs, members) and all of these parts do not have the same function or use,
5 So we, numerous as we are, are one body in Christ (the Messiah) and individually we are parts one of another [mutually dependent on one another].
Our perfection is not in ourselves but in Christ finished work. Christ is our perfection
Amplified Bible, Classic Edition
28 Him we preach and proclaim, warning and admonishing everyone and instructing everyone in all wisdom ([a]comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God), that we may present every person mature (full-grown, fully initiated, complete, and perfect) in Christ (the Anointed One).
Lets hear, read and meditation of Charles Spurgeon’s message on Perfection in Christ delivered on the 31st of July 1856
Perfection in Jesus Christ! What effect ought it to have upon our hearts if it really is ours? Perfection! What do we know of it from Scripture? We know that it is a word so large that, while it, takes us little time to say it, yet it comprehendeth all words within its meaning. There is no good word of any description which can be applied to any creature but this word perfection takes it in; and though it be easy to utter it with our lips, I question whether there is any mortal mind capable of grasping the idea of perfection, any more than it can grasp the idea of eternity. When we begin to think of eternity, without beginning, without end, we are lost in trying to comprehend it, because we are finite; and when we once endeavour to conceive perfection, without fault, without flaw, we are lost because we are imperfect; and therefore we cannot understand perfection, any more than the finite can grasp the infinite! Perfection, indeed, seems to be the sole prerogative of God. He is perfect in everything.
In all his attributes there is no lack; from whatever point of view we regard him, he is without blot or blemish; and no man, speaking truthfully of God, can say that there is aught of imperfection in him. If we speak of majesty, his glory is unsurpassed; if we talk of power, his is omnipotence, and that indeed is infinite power; if we speak of wisdom, his is the wisdom of the Godhead; he knows all things, from the most minute to the most immense; he comprehends all secrets, and grasps all knowledge in his mighty mind. It does seem, at first sight, as if perfection could belong only to the Creator, but we remember that the works of God are also perfect, and so are all his ways. When he made the earth, the sun, the moon, the stars, he looked upon them and said, “They are very good.” Written on the face of nature, there was then this one word, Perfection. All God’s works were perfect, without a flaw; the great Artificer completed all his workmanship, and left nothing undone. There was no lough and crude matter which he had not formed; then was no substance he touched which he did not turn into the gold of perfectness. All things were good, yea, very good; all were perfect.
There is one thing on earth even now which is perfect. Albeit that perfection was blasted by the Fall, and ever since the Garden of Eden was devastated by the sin of man, perfection has gone, yet there is one thing on earth, which we possess, which is perfect. You all know what that is, it is the perfect will of God contained in the Sacred Scriptures. He who would be able to spell perfection in mortal language must read the Bible through, for he will find it perfect in all its parts, — perfectly true, perfectly free from all error, perfect in everything that it is necessary for man to know, perfect in all that can guide us to bliss, perfect in all that can warn us of dangers on the road. There is still left something of perfection here; but when we come to look within, where is perfection then, beloved?
I shall not stop to prove the depravity of mankind, I will not talk much about the fall of Adam, and how it injured us, and destroyed the perfection of our nature; but I would ask this simple question of you, — Do you not feel in your own souls that perfection is not in you? Does not every day teach you that? And though there are times when you are striving to be like Christ, and seeking to serve him, yet in the very striving and seeking you forget that you must live wholly on Christ, that you must trust him as well in your duties to sanctify them as in your sins to forgive them; and then you begin to set up a perfection of your own, although you have so often had a view of your own heart, that you ought not for a moment to dream of any perfection there.
Without making it a doctrine, I simply state it as a fact which you will not deny, that in you, that is, in your flesh, there is not only imperfection, but there dwelleth no good thing. Honestly, from the depths of your soul, you confess that, whether Adam lost perfection or not, whether you ever had perfection when you were born or not, it is not to be found in you now, in your conduct, conversation, or life. You only wish it wore there. Daily experience makes you bemoan the lack of it. Every tear that trickles from thine eye says, “Imperfection”; every sigh which comes from thine heart says, “Imperfection”; every harsh word which proceeds from thy lips says, “Imperfection”; and every duty which is not done with the most holy, strict, and rigid observance of God’s law, cries out, “Imperfection.” You sit down, like the captive daughter of Zion, and confess that the crown of perfection is gone from your head, and departed from your heart. Guilty you must lie before God, for perfection is not in you.
But, then, while speaking of the doctrine of perfection, we must remember that, according to the sacred oracles, perfection is absolutely necessary for all who hope to enter heaven. We may have lost perfection, but that does not alter God’s demand for it. It may be impossible that we should ever be perfect in ourselves, but God demands that we should be perfect. The holy law was given by God; and if we wish to be saved by it, we must keep it perfectly: no man who is not perfect can ever hope to enter heaven. Unless he can find perfection somewhere, — in another, if not in himself, he must be irretrievably ruined, and driven from God’s presence. No man under the sun can ever walk the starry plains of heaven, or tread the golden shoots of bliss, until he gets perfection somehow or somewhere. Let me tell you why.
First of all, it would be unjust in God if he did not punish man if he is not perfect. God required of all men, originally, that they should keep his law entirely. Now, if a man is not perfect, it stands to reason that he must have broken God’s law, otherwise he would be perfect. Having broken it, God has said, “I will punish sin; ‘the soul that sinneth, it shall die.’” And— with reverence to the Most High God, we say it, — if he does not punish every sin, he is not a just God; if he does not exact the punishment for every transgression, there is a blot upon his escutcheon, the whiteness of his throne is tinged with stains, and he is no longer that awfully, severely just God we have considered him to be. I tell thee, man, the very nature of God demands that thou shouldst be punished if thou art not perfect. If but one sin has been committed by thee, thou hast broken the tablets of God’s commandments, and thou art guilty of all. Ah! but it is not merely one sin that thou hast committed, but ten thousand times ten thousand; thou art far from perfection, and unless thou canst got perfection somewhere, — in Christ, or in thyself, — thou art lost beyond all hope of remedy, for perfection God must have, as a just God, or else he must punish thee for thy sin.
Moreover, remember that we must be perfect, or else we shall never be fit companions for those who are perfect in spirit, and stand before the throne of God. Are not the angels perfect? Hath sin ever stained their purity? Once, it is true, “There was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven;” but the spirits now before God’s throne are spotless and pure even as God is. Hath God any stain on him? Will any dare to say there is imperfection in him? Nay, God and the angels are perfect; and would men be fit companions for angels and God if they had imperfection? If men should have sin when they come to die, would they be lit to live with those spirits who know no sin, and in whose breasts there has been no guile? Could I hold acquaintance and familiar converse with the man whose lips are always guilty of profane swearing? Could I live in peace with the man whose character is not akin to my own conduct? And, surely, there is not so much difference between me and my follow creatures here, as between the sinner and his God. No, my friend, unless you get perfection somewhere, — in Christ, or somewhere else, — you cannot go to heaven. Perfection you must have, for God hath declared that nothing that defileth shall in any wise enter the gates of Paradise.
“Those holy gates for ever bar
Pollution, sin, and shame.”
None but those washed whiter than snow, and as pure as the Almighty, can hope to be companions of the Deity, and co-heirs with the celestial spirits. You must have perfection, if you would enter heaven; this is evident not only from the nature of God, but from the holiness of heaven itself; otherwise you would be unlit to enter it, and you would not be happy if you were there.
“Where, then, is perfection to be found?” again cries the poor sinner. We find a multitude of persons ready to tell us, “Here is perfection,” or “There is perfection.” The ceremonialist says, “I will give thee perfection; here it is. Thou shalt in thine infancy have sacred drops to fall upon thy forehead, and hallowed words shall be pronounced over thee, and thou shalt be regenerated. In thine after years, thou shalt kneel before the sacred table, and the bishop’s hands shall be solemnly laid upon thine head, and thou shalt take the sacramental bread and wine. And when thou comest to die, the priest shall sit by thy side, and he shall give thee, in thy last expiring moment, some drops of goodly cheer called wine, and a piece of bread, and these shall be thy passport to heaven; and so thou shalt be perfect.” Ah, poor ceremonialist, thou will find thyself mightily mistaken and much deceived! Like a dream when one awaketh, God shall scatter all the baseless fabric of thine hand; all that thou hast done, and all those pretty garments thou hast woven, shall be rent in sunder, and cast into the fire, and thou shalt stand naked before him.
Then comes the speculative perfectionist, and he tells you that you must believe in Jesus Christ, and then, by a rigid system of devotion, and constantly observing religious duties, you will attain to three or four stages. You will got, in the first place, to justification, then to sanctification, and go on by degrees until you will be perfectly sanctified, and come to the highest degree men can have in the body. I have met with some of these “perfectly sanctified” gentlemen, but I could have spoiled their perfection simply by treading on their corns; and I believe I have done so, for they have seemed to be immensely cross when I have denied their proud boast.
I have heard of a particularly perfect man who came to John Berridge, one morning. The quaint and honest minister treated him very rudely, whereupon the man turned round at once, and began to speak all manner of evil words. John said to him, “Pretty perfection was thine, that I could spoil in so easy a manner!” You will always find those so-called “perfection” gentlemen far from perfect. I would not trust the man who called himself “perfect” in anything whatever, for he that saith he hath no sin is a liar, and the truth is not in him. He that says he is perfect, mistakes God’s Word, and knows not himself.
Where, then, is perfection to be found? The text tells us that all Christians are perfect in Christ Jesus, that the sons and daughters of the Lord God Almighty are perfect in Christ Jesus. Let me try to explain the meaning of this perfection in Christ.
- First, consider now GOD’S PEOPLE ARE “IN CHRIST.”
I remark, first, they are all of them in Christ in the covenant of election. When God chose his people, he did not choose them one by one, separately; but he chose Christ, and all his people were chosen in him. Just as when I select an acorn, I select all the unborn forests slumbering in that acorn cup, so, when God chose Jesus, he chose all the people that were in him, all whom Christ had taken to himself by an eternal union, and had made one with his own person.
Secondly, the chosen ones are all m Christ also by redemption. When Jesus died, each one of us who believe in Jesus died in him; and when he suffered, we suffered in Christ. Our sins were laid on Christ’s head; and now, Christ’s merits are laid on us. Christ made an atonement for the sins of all his elect through the shedding of his blood upon the cross. We were in him when he died, we were in him when they laid him in the grave, we were in him when he rose and led captivity captive, and we are in him now.
Thirdly, we are in the Lord Jesus Christ actually, positively, and to our own knowledge, when we believe in him. It is then, when faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God, that we become consciously in Christ. We were in Christ before, but we did not know it; we were made secure in Jesus from before the foundation of the world; but we did not know it, we had no evidence of it whatever. We were like a man who is under ago; the possessions his father will give him when he is twenty-one, or which have been left to him, are positively his, but he cannot touch them until he comes of age; so, all the possessions of the covenant belong to the elect, even before they believe, but they cannot touch them until the appointed time comes, when by sovereign grace they believe.
A man who has not attained his majority cannot get much comfort from what he is to have when he comes to full ago; he cannot live on it, he cannot be supported by it. So, the Christian cannot food on what he has not received. When we have faith, then we come into our inheritance; the moment we believe, we have attained full age; we are no longer under tutors, and governors, and schoolmasters, but we are brought to Christ; we are of perfect ago, and then we are said to be “in Christ.” The moment a sinner believes, then he is “in Christ;” and no man whatever has any right to make any pretence that he is in Christ until he believes, until he has surrendered himself to Christ, until he has given himself to Jesus to be saved by him, to serve him, to live for him, and at last to die in him, and live with him for ever.
- The doctrine of our text is, that EVERY MAN WHO IS IN CHRIST IS PERFECT.
Does not this startle us? The majesty of our text demands someone who could discourse with eloquence; yea, it needs an angel to proclaim its glorious moaning. Believers are, in Christ, perfect, — every one of them. There is a new-born child of God! It may be only ten minutes since he put his faith in Jesus Christ. Before that time, he had been a drunkard, a swearer, a blasphemer; but yet I tell you, if that man has really believed and is in Christ, he is perfect in Christ. There is another man who has been a backslider! Once he walked in God’s ways, but he has been suffered to wander from the faith. Now God is bringing him back; he is laying hold on him, and the man is weeping, and repenting, and crying out; his bones are broken through the fall, his soul is sore and sick even unto death; see him as he stands with tears of penitence coursing down his cheeks! I tell you, that man, backslider though he may have been, though he has sinned even as David did, is perfect, in the person of Christ. There is another, a greyheaded old man. Long has he fought his master’s battles, — he has received many a wound and scar, and the troubles and trials of this mortal life have greatly weakened him. If you ask him whether he is perfect, he tells you, “Nay; from the crown of my head to the sole of my foot, by nature I feel diseased. In me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good things.” He disclaims all righteousness of his own, all trust in himself, all hope out of Christ. I tell you, that old man is perfect in Christ.
I care not what may be his frailties, what may be his weaknesses, he is perfect in Christ. And then, O Christian, what though thy sins are many, what though infirmities beset thee, though thou hast a hasty temper, and perhaps the lusts of the flesh sometimes rise, and only preventing grace saves thee from going astray; what though evil thoughts cross thy mind, and to-day thou art bemoaning thy sad case, and crying out, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” I tell thee, Christian, thou art complete in him, thou art perfect in Christ Jesus; being washed in his blood, clothed with his righteousness, united to his person, thou art this moment perfect in him.
There is one passage in Solomon’s Song, which once flashed on my mind with great brilliancy when I was reading that blessed Canticle. It says, “Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee.” That is Jesus Christ talking to his Church. She says, “I am black, because the sun hath looked upon me.” She acknowledges her own imperfections, and her want of beauty; but Jesus Christ says, “Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee.” Looking at his Church, from the crown of her head to the sole of her foot, he sees not a blemish, because she is in him. She does not stand in herself. Her divisions and the sins of her members and of her ministers are sore blemishes if you look at her with the eye of the world, or with the eyes of Christians; but if you look at her in Christ, all her blemishes are gone; she is covered with a robe that makes her shine like a queen. Though her old garments may have been those of beggary and ruin, she hath now the garments of majesty and light. “Ye are complete in him,” yea, ye are “perfect in Christ Jesus.”
Methinks it would be very hard to make some who are the Lord’s people believe this. Some of you are drudging on in bondage, because you do not understand justification by faith completely; and I believe that the great fault of the ministry of our day is, that complete justification in the person of Jesus Christ is not preached in all its length and breadth. Because there are some ministers who, while preaching it, say things which have a tendency to lead men to licentiousness, therefore we are forbidden to say anything at all about it. But, beloved, I am sure that all I can say to you about our perfection in Christ will never lead a Christian to licentiousness; for, because he is “perfect in Christ,” he will long to be more like him in himself, and he will seek more and more, day by day, to have the sanctifying influence of the Holy Ghost exerted upon him to keep him from sin. Many go to Arminians and semi-Calvinists to hear this, that, and the other; they have all kinds of divinity conglomerated into one; little bits of Pelagianism tacked on to small scraps of Arminianism, these hooked on to Calvinism, and that again joined to Socinianism, all sorts of strange combinations mixed up into one curious medley for them to drink; whereas they want, instead of that, the pure unadulterated milk of God’s Word in the shape of the doctrinal preaching of justification by faith.
How are we justified? That is the question for us to answer. Are we justified by works, or by grace? Every true Christian says, “We are justified by faith; by grace are we saved, through faith, and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God.” Well then, if we are saved by faith in Christ, can we be said to be saved by works? If I had no good works at this moment, and if I have faith, am I not as completely justified as though I had ten thousand good works? I know, if I am justified by faith, good works will always follow; but good works will never merit justification.
They are the handmaidens, not the mistress. Faith in Christ is the foundation, the corner-stone, and top-stone of justification. Good works are evidences of justification; they have nothing to do with procuring it. The poor thief who died, having been hardly able to do a good work, went to heaven just as surely as the man shall who lives eighty years in the service of his Master. It is not anything in myself that saves me; it is Christ alone. If I fool myself the most loathsome of all creatures, even though I hate and abhor myself, yet if I know I have faith in Christ, if I have cast myself on his atoning sacrifice, he has not altered though I have, he is as perfect as ever, in him there is no sin, and therefore I, standing in him, am perfect this moment notwithstanding all my corruptions and frailties.
III. Now I come very briefly to consider THE INFLUENCE OF THIS DOCTRINE of perfection in Christ when it is realized in the heart.
I know that, at the outset, some will say that this doctrine, stated so broadly, must necessarily lead persons to imagine that good works are of little service. I ask them, if they ever read any of Luther’s writings, whether they have noticed how broadly he speaks concerning good works and the righteousness of the flesh. If they have read his writings, they will find that, as a Protestant and a follower of Luther, I have not overstepped the mark. And if they will turn to the Epistle to the Romans, they will see how Paul declares, “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. Put if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.” If they will read the other Epistles, they will see that I might have said even more upon this theme. I deny that this doctrine has any tendency to lead men to sin. I can speak for myself; so far as my own life is concerned, I always find myself most holy when I know myself to be most unholy; I can live most like Jesus when I live most on Jesus and most out of myself. When 1 say, “I must live on Christ alone, I must rest on him solely for salvation, and believe that, however unworthy, I am saved in Jesus;” then there rises up, as a motive for gratitude, this thought, “Will I not live wholly to Christ; will I not love him and serve him, seeing that I am saved by his merits?” That is the strongest tie to virtue, and the greatest bond to a holy life.
Then let me tell you the next effect of this doctrine. It gives a Christian the greatest calm, quiet, case, and peace. How often are the saints of God downcast and sad! They ought not to be so; I do not flunk they would be, if they could always see their perfection in Christ. I know you have your “corruption-men” who always preach corruption and nothing else, telling you about, the depravity of the heart, and the innate evil of the soul. I like to read their works, and to hear them; but I like to go a little further, and to remember that I am “perfect in Christ Jesus.” I do not wonder that those men who always dwell upon corruption should look so sad and seem so miserable; but I do think, if a man could always see his perfection in Christ, he would be happy. What though distresses afflict me? I am perfect in Christ. Though Satan assault me, I am perfect in Christ Jesus; though there are many things to be done before I get to heaven, those are done for me in the covenant of divine grace. There is nothing wanting; Christ hath done it all.”
“‘It is finished!’
Hear the dying Saviour cry.”
And if it is finished, then am I complete in him, and can “rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.”
Poor Christian, thou art perfect in Christ! Tried Christian, thou art perfect in Jesus! If the Holy Ghost does but apply this truth to thy soul, if thou wert in the very caverns of the ocean, it would be enough to carry thee up to the stars for joy to think that thou art perfect in Christ. There are some who are conscious that they have no perfection, but are covered with sin from head to foot. There is a poor wretch who has crept into this chapel to-night, and has felt that he would crawl down a mousehole or stay in any corner of the building if he might but hear the sermon. He felt it was too hallowed a place for him to sit down in; he was almost ashamed to stand in the company of the saints; he believed himself to be such an unworthy sinner.
I tell thee, friend, if thou art a poor, stript, law-condemned sinner, thou shalt yet be able to see thyself “perfect in Christ Jesus.” Man! doth not this make thine ears tingle? Doth not thy heart leap for joy at the very thought of it? Black as thou art, thou shalt be white one day; filthy as thou art, thou shalt yet be cleansed; evil as thou art, thou shalt be made good. Yea, however enormous thy transgressions, however black thy crimes, thou mayest even have been a murderer, but Christ’s blood can wash the blood off thine hands; thou mayest have been a thief, but Jesus Christ restored that which he took not away, and he will forgive even thy sin. You may be the vilest one that ever disgraced this earth, you may be a walking nuisance in the very streets, yet I tell you, if you believe in Jesus Christ this night, you shall go away perfectly clean. Oh, it is marvellous, this salvation! Christ takes a worm, and transforms it into an angel; Christ takes a filthy thing, and makes it into a cherub; Christ takes a black and deformed thing, and makes it clean and matchless in its glory, peerless in its beauty, and fit to be the companion of seraphs.
O my soul, stand and admire this blessed doctrine of perfection in Christ Jesus! What though thou shouldst become more pure and pure every day, yet perfection would still be beyond thee. The heights say perfection is not in them; the depths say, “Perfection is not here;” the caverns in the bowels of the earth tell us, “Perfection is not in us.” Perfection is in the person of Jesus Christ alone. O Christian, think of this! The robes of Jesus are put on thee; the royal crown Christ Jesus wore is now, to God’s eyes, on thy head; the robe of azure which once he had upon his shoulders is now on thine; his silver sandal is thine; the golden zone his belt of glory, is thine; the matchless purity of his sinless life is thine; everything that Christ has is thine; thou art perfect in him; there is nothing thou canst want which he cannot give thee! If thou goest to his storehouse with a large list of thy needs, saying, “I want this,” or, “I want that,” it is all there; and more than thou wilt want is there. Hast thou want sanctification? It is there. Dost thou want redemption? It is there. Dost thou want strengthening grace? It is there. Dost thou want preservation? It is there. Man, art thou standing to-night poor, naked, blind, miserable, desponding? I say, — Be not so foolish as to remain in all thy poverty and wretchedness, when thou mayest be rich.
Why, Christian, art thou now poor, ragged, stript? Dost thou see the hole in that wall? It hath a mark upon it, the shape of a cross. I will lend thee the key called “Promise.” Go, insert it in the keyhole, and when thou openest it, whatever thou wantest thou shalt find. First, there is a bath of gold; in it thou shalt be washed and become white. Further on there hangs a robe, and though thou art now naked, thou shalt put it on. There is a crown for thee to wear, and there is everything else thou canst want. If thou wantest bread, thou shalt find it, for it is said, “Bread shall be given him, his waters shall be sure.” If thou needest comfort, it is there; for Christ is “the consolation of Israel.” If thou wantest forgiveness, it is there. All things are wrapt up in Christ.
This morning, my eyes were dazzled when I saw the Queen’s plate. I am not much of a believer in the Queen’s plate, or anybody else’s plate; but when I saw things of so much value, — the precious jewels that sparkled here and there, — I wondered at their amazing costliness, and could not guess how much they would come to if they were all sold, and the money given to the poor, — which I rather felt inclined to wish they might be. But if I were once to get to see all the riches of Christ, could I tell you how large his riches are, I should have to hold up my hands in astonishment, and say, as I took up one mercy after another, “This is a golden mercy; how much is this worth?” I should be unable to tell you the value of any one of them. “Ah!” the angels would say, “Do not try to estimate those precious things, for they had to be bought with Christ’s blood; and until you know the price of blood divine, you cannot tell the value of these mercies.”
Now, to wind up my discourse, let me enquire who of you can take to yourselves this blessed doctrine? How many of you are “perfect in Christ Jesus”? Some man says, “I think I am perfect in myself; I am as respectable a gentleman as anybody living, and I am not going to be insulted by any of your nonsense. I am at least as good as other people, and perhaps rather better. And I do think, if heaven does not go by favour, I most certainly shall get in, for I feel myself to be very good and righteous.” Then hear the voice of Jesus: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” “Verily I say unto you, that the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.”
Another says, “Perfect in Christ Jesus? No, sir, that I am not; I know I have no interest in the blood of Christ; and if I were to say I had, it would be a barefaced falsehood, and my conscience would cry out against me; there is something in my heart which would forbid my lips to say it.” Then, pray do not say it, dear heart, for I would not have you speak what is not true. If you feel that you have not any interest in Christ, say so to your own souls. It is best for you to look the matter in the face. You say you do not know that Christ died for you; you say you are sure that you will sink into eternal torments if you die to-night. Well, take that thought home to thy heart, and for half-an-hour think it over, — “I am out of Christ; I am a condemned sinner; and if I were to die, I feel I should sink into hell.” Do not be afraid of the thought; do not be like the man who says, “I will not have that thought any more;” but be honest with yourselves.
What is the good of cheating yourselves? Do deal fairly with your own souls. It never does a man any hurt to examine his books, and see if his accounts are all right. If he is a bankrupt, he will not lose anything by knowing it; if he is insolvent, he will got no richer by hiding it from himself. You may say, “It is true, I am a lost and condemned sinner.” Well, the thought will bring you to your knees, and you will cry, “O God, give me an interest in Jesus Christ!” And that mighty God, who always hears prayer, will save you, and you shall go on your way rejoicing and triumphing in Christ.
Then there is one who, when I ask the question, “Art thou perfect in Christ Jesus?” will reply, “Ah, I trust I am! By humble faith, I lay my hand on the head of Jesus, and I know that I stand perfect in him.” Then, my brother, give me your heart, let us shake hearts to-night! Oh, it is a sweet brotherhood, the brotherhood of the perfect in Christ Jesus! You are perfect in him; then, my brethren, just wipe those tears away; you are perfect in Christ. Do you know what yon poor sinner says? He says, “O Lord, if I could say that, I would not care about health, I would not care whether I was in poverty, or whether I was rich.” He thinks, if he only knew himself to be “perfect in Christ,” he never would be miserable as long as he lived. Then why, beloved, are you down in your spirits, while you are “perfect in Christ”? Why do you lie on the ground? It is time for you to take your harp from the willows; if you are “perfect in Christ,” I can see no room for sadness. Suppose that you are going to a poor house where you have not a bit of fire; never mind, you can say, “I am perfect in Jesus.” Perhaps you will scarcely know where the next meal will come from; — let this thought cheer you, “Perfect in Jesus.” Though the wind may come and blow between the rags that cover you, if you can say, “I am perfect in Jesus,” you can be content with poverty.
Though you are in pain, and tossing about in your bed, if you can say, “I am perfect in Jesus,” it will be like medicine to soothe your spirits; and when grim death appears, you only need look him in the face, and say, “Perfect in Jesus,” and in that moment death will change into an angel, pain will be turned into bliss, and sorrow into immortal glory. God give all of you to realize that you are perfect in Jesus, in Jesus only, in Jesus for ever! Bless his precious name! Hallelujah to his person, glory to his grace! Seraphs, sing out his praises! Cherubs, take up the note! Ye rocks, ye hills, burst forth into song! All ye Christians, sing praises to him who loved us with an everlasting love, and who will carry us safe home to glory to be with him for ever and ever!
This bring us to the end of today’s title on episode 5 of 24 tools for perfect relationship – Adopt the 11th (eleventh) Commandment – DO NOT KID THYSELF – Find out why kid or fool ourselves so frequently and our remedy if any.
Until next week, stay humble and resist pride by all means because pride is the devils colony.
Ambassador Monday Ogwuojo Oreojo Ogbe
God’s Eagle Ministries –
Where we are seeding the NATIONS with Gods word and God Himself is transforming lives through His TIMELESS Truth! – We are ONE in Christ Jesus, so let’s stay ONE