Perfection - Is it Possible?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

3 comments:

godamongus said...

As expressed in my blogsite, individual perfection is the goal for each of us according to the bible. As Jesus stated in Matthew 5:48, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." Clearly, Jesus meant that individual "perfection" is the goal for us all.” (See topic #5 “Be fruitful”)

From individual perfection, family perfection and world perfection would follow, leading to the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. (See topics #6-“Multiply”; #7-“Replenish the earth”; and, #8-“Subdue it: and have dominion”)

However, as expressed in topic #12-“Your father the devil”, individual perfection became impossible for us all due to the original sin of our first human ancestors, Adam and Eve. Serving our true internal nature, derived from God within us, and our false internal nature, derived from Satan, has left each of us internally conflicted and able to relate to the internal struggle as expressed by St. Paul in Romans 7:22-24 as, "For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" Topic #12 explores the root and meaning of original sin. The original sin is the reason we need a savior or messiah and the reason we all await the 2nd coming of Christ.

godamongus said...

During the forty years from Jesus' death to the destruction of the temple (70 C.E.) the Jews were divided over whether to humbly submit to Roman rule or rebel and throw off the Roman yoke. Many Pharisees preferred a peaceful course, but the Zealot party grew in strength, until ultimately they convinced the people to revolt.

During this time, Jewish-Christians of Jerusalem preached Jesus' peaceful message of the Sermon on the Mount. They taught non-resistance to Roman rule. One of the Romans' most irksome practices was to force Jewish men to carry their equipment. To this Jesus said, "If anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile." (Matt. 5:41) Jesus refused to resist paying taxes, saying, "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s." (Matt. 22:21) It is conceivable that the Jewish-Christians represented a genuine peace movement, vying for the hearts and minds of the Jerusalemites to steer them away from a tragic war with Rome.

During this period Judaism had many diverse streams, and the Jewish-Christians under James the brother of Jesus were tolerated and even respected by many Jews. But in time the Jewish leadership hardened against them and the Jewish-Christians became isolated, their message of peace ignored. The Jews revolted against Rome, and they were crushed, with Jerusalem reduced to ruins. The Romans put down the Jewish Revolt with great cruelty, destroying Jerusalem, killing over a million people, and deporting hundreds of thousands as slaves.

Our early Christian brethren were persecuted by the Romans for nearly 400 years, being fed to lions in the coliseums and enduring other atrocities against them. Eusebius of Caesarea states that Paul was beheaded in the reign of the Roman Emperor Nero; this event has been dated to the year 64 C.E., when Rome was devastated by a fire. Tradition holds that the Roman authorities sentenced Peter to death by crucifixion. According to a story recorded in the apocryphal Acts of Peter, he was crucified head down. The Roman Martyrology assigns June 29 as the feast day of both Peter and Paul.

By their strong faith, without using violence or weapons, Christianity conquered the Roman Empire and became its official religion.

Galerius issued an edict permitting the practice of the Christian religion under his rule in April of 311. In 313 Constantine I and Licinius announced toleration of Christianity in the Edict of Milan. Constantine would become the first Christian emperor. By 391, under the reign of Theodosius I, Christianity had become the state religion. Constantine I, the first emperor to embrace Christianity, was also the first emperor to openly promote the newly legalized religion.

godamongus said...

In considering the differing translations of Matthew 11:12 in the KJV, which stated "And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force" and the NIV, which stated "From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it", the KJV appears to be the more accurate translation, referring to the zealot jews, who wanted to advance the cause of heaven with the use of force.

As I expressed above, history shows that their view prevailed and they suffered incredible violence by the Romans as a result. Keep in mind that one of their reasons they rejected Jesus was because they envisioned a forceful, violent, warring messiah who would lead their revolt to overthrow the Roman yoke. Instead of a violent messiah, they got Jesus - the "Prince of Peace." Of course we know that they violently crucified Jesus, prior to launching their failed and violent revolt against the Romans. Sadly, we can only imagine the different courses history could have taken had the Jewish-Christians, lead by James the brother of Jesus, prevailed with their message of peace rather than the forceful, violent strategy of the zealots.

In the end, it was the fervent faith (forceful if you want to call it that) of the early Christians, who were persecuted and fed to lions, that allowed God to change the hearts of the Roman Empire. They understood that faith is the key to unlocking the spiritual weapons that God and His angels could unleash on the Romans to change their hearts, not physical force and violence, as the zealots thought.

I stress this because; too often today many Christians seem bent toward the zealot approach rather than the peaceful approach as taught by Jesus. Today, many Christians seem to view the peaceful approach as being passive victims, rather than strong warriors willing to "walk the extra mile, turn the other cheek, and love their enemies" as Jesus taught. Personally, I prefer to go with Jesus’ methods of peace through faith. Not only did this method work for the Christians in conquering Rome; but, similarly in American history, the non-violent method worked for African Americans to overcome slavery and segregation. As history reminds us, some African Americans advocated a forceful, violent approach through groups such as the Black Panthers; yet, it was the non-violent tactics employed by Martin Luther King, Jr., with his followers being bitten by police dogs and sprayed with fire hoses that changed the hearts of Americans and the U.S. Supreme Court.

I appreciate your thoughtfulness in contemplating individual perfection; because, it could have begun in the lifetime of Adam and Eve, but has now become God’s providence through human history. God Bless you as I will be praying for you, your family and friends.

 
 
 

Meter