Perfectionism is a doctrine holding that religious, moral, social, or political perfection is attainable, especially the theory that human moral or spiritual perfection should be or has been attained.

The False Doctrine of Perfectionism

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  • The False Doctrine of Perfectionism

    1 John 1:8-10

    The problem of balance in this doctrinal area are extreme views:

    First Extreme View: No holiness, or, “Holiness, what is that?” Many in the churches believe that a consistent Christian lifestyle is optional. They believe in conduct-neutral Christianity.
    Second extreme view—Perfection (much rarer today)

    The True Doctrine—God is Light 1 John 1:5
    The First False Doctrine we looked at—Antinomianism 1 John 1:6-7. Antinomianism is against all law, is against any ethical requirement for the Christian. It teaches that the evidence of a person’s life is irrelevant.
    The True Alternative Doctrine—1 John 1:7
    Now we deal with the false doctrine of perfectionism.
    First Form of Perfectionism—claiming to have no tendency to sin 1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

    The Language

    In the Greek, this is what is called a Subjunctive sentence, a third class condition—it is an “if, then” statement.
    “If we up and say…”, this is the Greek aorist tense—if we have up and said at any time...
    “that we do not have sin” (present tense).
    What he is saying is: “If we up and say that we live continually in such a way that we have no principle of sin in us....”
    Then...We are leading ourselves astray, and The Truth is not in us
    Extreme views in this area historically
    Gnostics—the first cult
    Some denied that believers had any principle of sin, therefore, no matter what they did, it could not be considered sin—they actually used this kind of perfectionism as an excuse to sin!
    Others taught that a spiritual believer had no sin in their life, so they could live to perfection

    Other perfectionists since then have taught that by an act of sanctifying grace, the tendency to sin can be taken away from us in this life.
    In contrast to the perfectionist view is the The Carnal Christian Theory, which says that one can live totally in sin, fully surrendered to it, and still be considered a Christian
    All of these views are heresy—they are out of balance.
    The balanced Biblical view is: when we become Christians......
    We receive a new nature—2 Cor 5:17
    The born again Christian will not practice sin as a style of life.
    1 John 2:29 "If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him."
    1 John 3:9 "No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God."

    The old man can be reckoned as dead, Sin no longer has the power to dominate us—Rom 6:1-15. Therefore, we should be growing in grace—2 Pet 3:18, progressing in holiness.
    This progression in holiness is not optional, it is the normal Christian life. To say that a progression in holiness is OPTIONAL is to state a heresy.
    Having said that, because we are still in flesh, we still must struggle against sin, even as we grow in Grace and holiness.
    By flesh, we don’t mean the body only, but the mind and soul, our total humanness.
    Systematic theologians like to draw very distinct lines on this question, but the Bible does not tell us where our humanity begins and ends and where the new man is.
    Our mind and body together remember the pleasures and ways of sin, and this must be put to death daily.
    As long as we live with our humanness (which is as long as we are alive) we are in danger of sinning, and must constantly be on our guard to fight against it, and fight against it we must and will
    But to say that we have no sin, that we are beyond sin, is a heresy
    If a person believes in this kind of perfectionism, this is self deception. This amounts to NO TRUTH

    * (skip verse 9 monentarily, we will come back to it)

    The Second form of perfectionism—claiming to be sinless in practice 1 John 1:10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

    Language

    “If”—again, a third class condition sentence
    We say—aorist—if we at any time have said
    We have not sinned—perfect tense—have not sinned throughout the past.
    “...we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us....” This is all in the present tense—if we say that we have not been sinners in practice, we are continually making Him a liar and His word is continually not in us.
    Perfectionists say that a second work of Grace can “fully sanctify” a person so that they are totally above sin, and they will claim that they live above sin. This is a false doctrine.
    Sinless perfection is our goal—but we will never reach that level of holiness in this life
    To claim perfection in our lives makes God a liar! Rom 3:9-12, 23, Eph 2:1-3
    The Remedy for both heresies in chapter 1—the balanced Christian life—1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

    Language—

    Again, a subjunctive sentence, conditional
    “...If we confess...” is present tense—if we go on confessing...
    The word for confess, ¿ìïëïã§ìåí , means to agree totally with, and to identify with.
    When we truly confess, we are saying something about us, and we are saying something about Him.
    Rom 10:9-10—when we confess Christ, we confess His Lordship
    When we confess that He is our Savior, we are confessing that we need a Savior, that we are sinners.
    And this is in the present tense! Our confession is perpetual and constant—we always say to our Father, “God be merciful to me a sinner.”
    So, the remedy for the first type of perfectionism-- perpetual repentance. If we are continually confessing to Him, we will not get the idea that we are perfect!

    “...He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins...”
    Language—“...is...” present tense—continual. Jesus is always faithful and always just.
    If we confess Him and His Lordship in our lives He is faithful and just to forgive us...What does that mean?
    He is faithful
    He is just—because the price of redemption has been paid, and because of the propitiation through faith in His blood, God is just and righteous to forgive us—See Romans 3:25-31
    To forgive—aorist—we confess continually, the the forgiveness of sins is something that takes place once. When He is our Father, the forgiveness of sins has happened, and God will no longer impute sin to our account—Rom 4:6-8. The sins that a believer commits are sins, but the legal status of the believer is that sins are now a family matter between Father and Son—you can lose fellowship, but never relationship.
    “...And to cleanse us from all unrighteousness...”—“...cleanse...” is aorist, so this is again talking about the great transaction that occured at our salvation.
    So, here is a strange thing:
    Our confession is continual
    Our forgiveness from sin is granted once.
    But back in 1:7, the cleansing was continual—the point is that we are cleansed once from the guilt of sin, then we are cleansed continually from the pollution of sin in our lives, and one day we will be cleansed from the very presence of sin.

  • #2
    Jesus told us just who it is that would enter the kingdom of Heaven. He also told us that we were to be perfect as the Father in Heaven is perfect.

    There are people who do not care to believe what Jesus said, so they find ways to change what the written Word of God says.

    These people need to explain away what is said in scripture. They can’t just accept the written Word for what it tells us.

    (Matthew 7:21) “It is not those who say to me, ‘Lord, Lord’, who will enter the kingdom of Heaven but the person who does the will of My Father in Heaven. When the day comes many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, cast out demons in your name, work many miracles in your name?’ Then I shall tell them to their faces: I have never known you; away from me, you evil men!”

    (Matthew 5:48) “Even the pagans do as much, do they not? You must therefore be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

    Scripture tells us very plainly that if one sin he or she has never seen God nor knows God.

    Jesus told us that if we live God’s Commandments he would show himself to us. A sinner is not living God’s Commandments, and will never see Jesus.

    (John 14:21) “Anybody who receives my commandments and keeps them will be one who loves me; and anybody who loves me will be loved by My Father, and I shall love him and show myself to him.”

    (1 John 3: 5 - 6) “Now you know that He appeared in order to abolish sin, and that in Him there is no sin; anyone who lives in God does not sin, and anyone who sins has never seen Him or known Him.”

    To believe in Jesus means one is in Jesus, and believes. Scripture tells us one can’t sin if he or she believe in Jesus.




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    • #3
      The only way we can be perfect is to believe in Jesus as our Savior, in His death, burial, and resurrection. NOT OF WORKS LEST ANY MAN SHOULD BOAST. Otherwise, where is there grace? We sin, but by grace are forgiven.because we believe on Jesus. Should we then sin more so that grace may yet abound? God forbid! Remember those verses? Paul was talking to believers.
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      • #4
        Originally posted by Stratcat View Post
        The only way we can be perfect is to believe in Jesus as our Savior, in His death, burial, and resurrection. NOT OF WORKS LEST ANY MAN SHOULD BOAST. Otherwise, where is there grace? We sin, but by grace are forgiven.because we believe on Jesus. Should we then sin more so that grace may yet abound? God forbid! Remember those verses? Paul was talking to believers.
        We covered these things repeatedly. After taking a look around other forums for problem children, I conclude that you as well as I are beating a dead horse. Just some advice to keep your blood pressure down, present your case, and then leave it. Know who to engage with and who not to. This section is for the heretics believing in perfectionism.

        God bless,
        William

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Stratcat View Post
          The only way we can be perfect is to believe in Jesus as our Savior, in His death, burial, and resurrection. NOT OF WORKS LEST ANY MAN SHOULD BOAST. Otherwise, where is there grace? We sin, but by grace are forgiven.because we believe on Jesus. Should we then sin more so that grace may yet abound? God forbid! Remember those verses? Paul was talking to believers.
          Paul’s readers knew that man could not defeat Satan/sin, and it was only through the work of God in man that allowed a Spiritual Christian to walk as Jesus lived.

          If is not man’s work, but God’s Work in man.

          (1 John 2:6) “But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did”

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          • #6
            Agreed, but I have a different Bible translation that expresses 1 John 2:6 differently: "whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked." Now I know why you hate the KJV. I believe it to be more accurate. That is another thread.
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            • #7
              Originally posted by Stratcat View Post
              Agreed, but I have a different Bible translation that expresses 1 John 2:6 differently: "whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked." Now I know why you hate the KJV. I believe it to be more accurate. That is another thread.

              The Holy Spirit is my confirmation as to what bible is the most accurate
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              • #8
                Anybody can make that claim. Prove it.
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Stratcat View Post
                  Anybody can make that claim. Prove it.

                  I have been proving that God has been personally teaching me. The proof is in my understanding of the written Word of God.

                  I have seen Jesus, and he has called me out by name.

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                  • #10
                    Yes, well if you say so... I hear no Christian love in your tone. Without love, we are nothing.
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Stratcat View Post
                      Yes, well if you say so... I hear no Christian love in your tone. Without love, we are nothing.


                      You seem to be saying that I am not loving. Then you seem to be saying that because you believe I am not loving that makes what I share wrong.

                      What gives you the right to accuse me of not being loving?

                      To be able to love is a gift from God. God told us to first love him.

                      (Galatians 5:22-26) “On the other hand the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control; no law can touch such things as these. All who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified self with all its passions and its desires. Since we are living by the Spirit, let our behavior be guided by the Spirit and let us not be conceited or provocative and envious of one another.”

                      One guided by the Spirit of God will not sin.

                      (Romans 8: 4) “He did this in order that the law’s just demands might be satisfied in us, who behave not as our unspiritual nature but as the Spirit dictates.”

                      (John 14: 23) “Anyone who loves me will keep my word and my Father will love him, and we shall come to him and make a home in him.”
                      (John 14:21) “Anybody who receives my commandments and keeps them will be one who loves me; and anybody who loves me will be loved by My Father, and I shall love him and show myself to him.”

                      Jesus told us who it is that loves him. One is not going to walk in the gift of love unless he or she keep God’s commandments.

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                      • #12
                        What gives me the right is what I get out of reading your posts! They are not in the spirit of Christian love, rather boasting on your part.
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Stratcat View Post
                          What gives me the right is what I get out of reading your posts! They are not in the spirit of Christian love, rather boasting on your part.

                          When some people can no longer refute the truth, which they do not want to hear they began to throw stones at those who are bringing the truth to them.
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