27th September 2013

Participating in Perfection 

“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is perfect toward Him”
2 Chronicles 16:9 (AV)

Does our heart have to be perfect for God to be strong on our behalf?

The above verse conjures up images of a Salvador Dali painting. Over-sized running shoes on long, spindly legs attached to wide-open eyes beneath black, moustache-like brows; and strong-armed, blood-red hearts against a drooping, meltdown earth…

The prophet Hanani spoke these words against King Asaof Judah for making a treaty with Syria in a war against Israel. He told Asa that, because Asa had foolishly relied on a foreign power, and not on God, more wars would follow.

Although the verse refers to perfection, it was set in imperfect times when, as Paul wrote, people saw through a glass darkly. Their views of who God is and how he operates were tainted often by pagan worldviews. Previously Asa had been advised: “The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you” (2 Chronicles 15:2). God was seen as the God who protects as long as you stay on the right side of him, and who sanctions the merciless slaughter of those who are not with him. The same idea was present in other cultures around Judah, and still exists today: for example, God will bless and prosper you if you obey, but bring personal problems and trauma on those who disobey, etc.

The New Testament challenges such ideas. Its claim is that God is strong for the imperfect, and that includes all of us. Does God talk only to those who talk to him, and love only those who love him first? The apostle James explained that, “we love God because he first loved us” (4:19). The crucifixion is about how, “while we were still sinners, Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:11). He reaches out to us in our imperfection and we respond from our imperfect state.

Of course, in our response to God we seek to have that perfect heart. We participate in Christ’s perfection. We don’t have to be perfect: Jesus has to be perfect, and he is.

It is because Jesus has a perfect heart that God’s grace is strong toward us.

Prayer
Faithful Father, thank you that Jesus is perfect for us, and that your grace abounds always to us and for us. In Jesus’ name.
Amen

Study by James Henderson

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openbibleAbout the Author:
James Henderson is the National Ministry Leader for Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland.  You are welcome to attend any of our Church congregations located throughout the UK.  For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.wcg.org.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.

Contact:
Email:  admin@daybyday.org.uk

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