While I was jogging this morning, I was running over in my mind Matthew 5:48, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Having tried awfully hard in the past to obey his command and knowing constant failure, I began to pray in the Spirit for some understanding as to how the Father would have us approach this word of Jesus, which is probably his rendering of the Leviticus 19:2 command, “Be holy as I the Lord am holy.”
As the Holy Spirit began to speak to me, I heard, “Man was not created for SIN. Man was created in the IMAGE of God. God the Father had Jesus in mind when He decided to extend His family outside the Godhead on the earth.” Of course, as the Spirit of the Lord began to speak, you know what happened? Satan began to bring to my mind all the sinfulness of my past life. Even though it had been confessed, I began to get that guilty feeling again as I reviewed in my mind the vileness of my past.
And then the Lord said, “I see the heart. I do not see as Man sees. I see the heart.” So I thought about this, and then I said, “Well, where is this sin I see? If it is not in my heart, why is it that it has come into my mind?” And it came as clear as could be that I needed to have my mind RENEWED. The verse from Romans 12 came to mind: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” He took my sin away and put it on Jesus. Now, when the Father looks at me, His son, He doesn’t see me. He sees his SON.
God has a lot more confidence in me than I have in myself. He sees me in Jesus. The devil shows me me in my former self, by reminding me of all the foolishness of the old nature. I remember hearing Corrie Ten Boom say, “It’s like you throw your sins into the deepest ocean and put up a sign [that says] ‘No fishing allowed’.” The call of God today is for HOLINESS. He wants us to be HOLY. He expects us to be HOLY. He is making us HOLY.
As long as Jesus remained in the Godhead, He was not capable of sin. But as soon as He became flesh, He was as capable of sin as we are. To the best of my knowledge, the only sin committed in Heaven was the sin of Lucifer trying to be like God. Then he was cast down to the earth, and was here in this realm before God made Adam. So, when Adam came along, the Creator was able to say, “It is VERY good.” But then Adam’s nature became contaminated with the lie of Satan, and we all have inherited his nature. But we are still “made in the image of God.” We still have the capability of HOLINESS.
Jesus came into this realm of flesh, but BY AN ACT OF HIS WILL, He refused to cave into the temptations of Satan. The hymn says, “He could have called ten thousand angels.” And Paul says in 1 Corinthians 4:15, “You have ten thousand guardians in Christ.” And, as far as God is concerned, that’s where we are – IN CHRIST! IF we have confessed Him and submitted ourselves to His Lordship, THAT’S where we ARE! HALLELUJAH!!!
From Jay Fesperman’s “Letters of Exhortation”, Number 11, June 1981.