Perfection? Does God have faith in humans?

By COGwriter

Does God have any faith in humans?

Consider what Jesus taught:

48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:48)

Perfection is an incredibly high goal.

But God has a plan. A plan that most who profess Christ do not understand. Many parts of His plan are laid out with His Holy Days.

In general, the world either is unaware of God's Holy Days, or they discount them as 'Jewish' and not applicable for Christians. But that is an erroneous view. Yet, because they do this, most do not observe God's Holy Days, but instead often observe compromised/demonic holidays (see also Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays?).

(A related sermon is titled: Does God have faith in humans?)

Days of Unleavened Bread

The Days of Unleavened Bread are seven days long. Seven is the biblical number of completion.

The Bible declares that the last day, the seventh day, of unleavened bread is to be observed with a holy convocation:

15 Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses. For whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel. 16 On the first day there shall be a holy convocation, and on the seventh day there shall be a holy convocation for you. No manner of work shall be done on them; but that which everyone must eat — that only may be prepared by you. (Exodus 12:15-16)

8 Six days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a sacred assembly to the Lord your God. You shall do no work on it. (Deuteronomy 16:8)

But why?

Well, by the seventh day of unleavened bread, Christians should have been avoiding leaven for the week, and hopefully paying a bit more attention to their own spiritual growth.

So, apparently God concluded that this would be a good time for a holy convocation, sacred assembly--in other words, church services.

The Bible says:

14 The Lord upholds all who fall,
And raises up all who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all look expectantly to You,
And You give them their food in due season. (Psalms 145:14-15)

The 'food' God has for His people on the seventh day of unleavened bread is spiritual. That is why this day is a holy convocation.

Jesus spoke about spiritual food:

31 In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, "Rabbi, eat."

32 But He said to them, "I have food to eat of which you do not know."

33 Therefore the disciples said to one another, "Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?"

34 Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. 35 Do you not say, 'There are still four months and then comes the harvest'? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! 36 And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. 37 For in this the saying is true: 'One sows and another reaps.' 38 I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors." (John 4:31-38)

The Apostle Paul wrote:

1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1)

So, is it your 'food' to do God's will and to support finishing His work in these last days?

Or are you improperly putting off doing what you should?

The last day of unleavened bread is a day to consider that.

Are you moving towards perfection?

You should be.

Do Christians Live a Perfect Life?

Notice what the New Testament Book of Hebrews teaches:

1 Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection (Hebrews 6:1)

19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, 20 where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. (Hebrews 6:19-20)

Christians are to go on to perfection, and Jesus is our example.

Notice also something that Jesus taught:

9 ... "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9)

While we are not perfect in this life (cf. 1 John 1:10), we are to strive for perfection. God will perfect us if we submit to His mercy:

8 The Lord will perfect that which concerns me;
Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever;
Do not forsake the works of Your hands. (Psalms 138:8)

The Apostle Paul taught that he was striving towards perfection as he had not yet attained it:

12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14)

Part of the purpose of the ministry is to help Christians become perfect. Notice some of the Apostle Paul's writing:

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. 28 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. (1 Corinthians 12:27-28)

28 Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. 29 To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily. (Colossians 1:28-29)

12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. (Colossians 4:12-13)

9 For what thanks can we render to God for you, for all the joy with which we rejoice for your sake before our God, 10 night and day praying exceedingly that we may see your face and perfect what is lacking in your faith? (1 Thessalonians 3:9-10)

These passages help demonstrate that perfection takes time, teaching, and effort.

Notice that even Jesus was made "perfect" through His sufferings:

10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. (Hebrews 2:10)

And what about us? Notice what James was inspired to write:

2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

9 Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation, 10 but the rich in his humiliation, because as a flower of the field he will pass away. 11 For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits.

12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. (James 1:2-12)

Christians have to endure.

We are not yet perfect.

Notice something that John the Baptist taught:

4 Now John himself was clothed in camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. 5 Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him 6 and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.

7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, "Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, 9 and do not think to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. 10 And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. (Matthew 3:4-10)

Do not tell yourself, "Hey, I keep the Sabbath and Holy Days, etc., so I have good fruit." The Pharisees and Sadducees did that, and were told they were a brood of vipers.

Do you bear good fruit? Do you support the work of God as you should?

Furthermore, in your personal life, are you setting the right example?

Back in 1983, the late Herbert W. Armstrong published the following:

How many times have you heard non-Christians, judging one who professes Christ, say in disgust, "Well if that's Christianity, I don't want any of it!"

How many judge GOD by the way professing Christians live? How many assume that one must live a perfect life, before he can become a Christian?

How many say, "If I could give up smoking, I'd become a Christian."

How many think a Christian is supposed to be perfect, never doing anything wrong? Suppose you do see or hear about a Christian doing something WRONG. Does that mean he is a hypocrite — that he is not really a Christian, after all?

Is it possible for one to actually SIN, while he is a Christian, and still remain a truly converted Christian?

I suppose many would reply in the negative. But here is a vital point you need to UNDERSTAND!

It's hard to believe but TRUE! Few know just what is a Christian. Few know HOW one is converted — whether suddenly, all at once, or gradually. Does conversion happen immediately, or is it a PROCESS? IT'S HIGH TIME WE UNDERSTAND!

The TRUTH is that there is a sense in which true conversion does take place at a definite time — all at once. But it is also true that in another sense conversion is worked out gradually — a process of development and growth.


WHEN does one really become a Christian? It is when he receives God's Holy Spirit. In Romans 8:9, we read that unless we have the Holy Spirit, we are not Christ's — not Christians.

There is a definite TIME when God's Spirit enters into one. At the very moment he receives the Holy Spirit, he is, in this first sense, converted. Yes, all at once! If he has Christ's Spirit, he is CHRIST'S — he is a Christian! He has been begotten as a child of God.

But does that mean his salvation is complete? Is he now fully and finally "saved"? Is that all there is to it? Is he now suddenly perfect? Is it now impossible for him to do WRONG?
NO! FAR FROM IT! But WHY? What's the answer? Why do so many misunderstand?

Here is the PLAIN TRUTH you need to know.

First, there are TWO conditions to becoming a Christian: REPENTANCE, and FAITH. These two we, ourselves, must perform. Yet no one can, of himself, say, "Oh now I see — I must repent. All right, I hereby repent." One does not just decide casually, as a matter of routine, to repent. WHY?

Jesus Christ said that none can come to him, except the Spirit of the Father draw him. God grants repentance. God calls one, and convicts the mind and conscience by his Spirit, working on the mind externally. Usually a real struggle goes on within. The person has been shaken to know he has done wrong — he has sinned. He is not only sorry — he abhors himself! He is brought to real REPENTANCE not only for what he has done, but for what he now sees that he is.

Yet he, himself, must make the decision. If he does repent, surrender to God and in FAITH accept Jesus Christ as personal Savior, then, upon performance of these TWO conditions, God promises to put within him the GIFT of the Holy Spirit. This is the very life of GOD — SPIRIT life. It imparts to him the very divine nature!

Then what, at that stage, has happened?

This new convert has only been begotten of God — not yet BORN. He has not received the full measure of God's Spirit Christ had — he is only a spiritual babe in Christ — he must now GROW spiritually, just as a newly conceived fetus in its mother's womb must grow physically large enough to be BORN as a human.

This new convert has now REPENTED, in his mind, from the depths of his heart. HE MEANS IT, too! In all sincerity, in his mind and heart he has turned around to go the other way — to live a different life. He is now a CHRISTIAN — he has received God's Holy Spirit. He really wants to do what is right — to obey God — to live GOD'S WAY.

YET HE FINDS HE DOES NOT DO THIS PERFECTLY! Many, at this stage, become discouraged. Some give up even trying to live a Christian life. And WHY? Because of the false notion that a Christian is one who becomes PERFECT at one fell swoop — or that one cannot become a Christian until he has broken all wrong habits, and made himself righteous.

It's vital to UNDERSTAND how true Christianity REALLY WORKS!

The newly begotten Christian must grow up, spiritually. What would you think of a human baby, who became 6 feet tall all at once, without growing up? The growing up process requires TIME. There is an instant when a person receives the impregnating Holy Spirit of God — when he first becomes a Christian. But he is only a spiritual infant. He must grow up spiritually.

The newly converted person, in his mind and heart, sincerely has ABOUT-FACED! He has actually gained contact with GOD and received God's Holy Spirit. God's own divine NATURE has now been conceived within him. BUT THAT'S ALL. It is merely conceived — not yet full grown! And his HUMAN NATURE is still there. It has not been killed or removed!

God's PURPOSE in having created humanity — in having caused YOU to be born — is to reproduce himself. And GOD, above all things, is PERFECT, RIGHTEOUS CHARACTER! God is able to create character within us — but it must be done as a result of our independent free choice. We, as individual separate entities, have our part in the process.

What is perfect character? It is the ability, in a separate entity, to come to the KNOWLEDGE of the right from the wrong — the true from the false and to CHOOSE the right, and possess the WILL to enforce self-discipline to DO the right and resist the wrong.

God's CHARACTER travels in the direction of his law — the way of LOVE. It is an outgoing CONCERN for others. GOD has that character! He has an outgoing concern for you and for me. He GAVE his only begotten Son to reconcile us to him, and make the JOYS of his character and everlasting life possible for us. He showers on us every good and precious gift. He even puts within us his DIVINE NATURE — when we repent and turn from the WRONG way of THIS WORLD, begin to resist it and turn TO him through faith in Jesus Christ as personal Savior!

God's divine nature is the nature of love — of giving, serving, helping — of outgoing concern.

It is the nature of humility.

Now when one is converted — has repented, and turned from Satan's and this world's false WAY and has at once received God's Holy Spirit — his HUMAN nature, as I said before, does not flee. It, too, remains. It still exerts a pull. We still live in THIS PRESENT EVIL WORLD, and it exerts a pull. God still allows Satan to be around — and HE exerts a pull.

So we now have THREE PULLS to RESIST — to OVERCOME! We must now overcome these three — Satan, this world and our own SELVES. We have to battle against these three, in order to develop and strengthen RIGHT CHARACTER within us. God says plainly it is THE OVERCOMERS who shall be saved — who shall REIGN with Christ!

No human being is strong enough to do this BY HIMSELF! He must seek, and IN FAITH receive, the help and power of GOD. Even with God's power he will not overcome such forces easily, or all at once. IT IS NOT EASY! Christ plainly said the way to ultimate salvation is hard, difficult. It's a constant BATTLE — a struggle against self, the world and the devil. The creation of CHARACTER comes through EXPERIENCE — it takes TIME!

THIS development is a PROCESS. It is a matter of GROWTH — DEVELOPMENT. It requires, to become PERFECT, full and right KNOWLEDGE of the very Word of God — because Jesus taught that we must live by EVERY WORD OF GOD.

The natural, unconverted mind cannot fully and rightly UNDERSTAND the Scriptures of God. The acquisition of this KNOWLEDGE, in itself, is a procedure requiring TIME. It is the DOERS of this Word, not hearers only, who shall be saved.

But can any man DO, immediately and all at once, this new WAY he now learns about? Can any man, all at once, break all HABITS he now sees are wrong? No, he finds he has a FIGHT against acquired former habits.

He still has this PULL of human nature to overcome. This nature is A LAW working within him. The apostle Paul calls it the law of sin and death.

Paul was converted. Paul was a real Christian. He had repented, accepted Christ and received the Holy Spirit. With his MIND, he wanted with all his heart, and in real intense sincerity, to DO God's WAY! But did Paul DO it perfectly?

Let him tell. LISTEN!

"For we know that the law is spiritual," he wrote, "but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I … Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me." He is speaking of human nature within him. He continues, " … for to WILL is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do … O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" (Rom. 7:14-15, 18-19, 24.) Then he thanks God that GOD WILL — through Jesus Christ, and by the power of his HOLY SPIRIT. BUT IT TAKES TIME!

The truly converted Christian will find that he often stumbles, under temptation, and falls down — even as a physical child, learning to walk, often falls down. But the year-old child does not get discouraged and give up. He gets up and starts out again. THE TRULY CONVERTED CHRISTIAN IS NOT YET PERFECT!

God LOOKS ON THE HEART — the inner MOTIVE — the real intent! If someone is trying — if he or she gets up whenever he or she falls down, and in repentance asks God's forgiveness, and sets out to do the very best NOT TO MAKE THAT MISTAKE AGAIN — and to persevere with renewed effort to OVERCOME, God is rich in mercy toward that person in his or her striving to overcome.

Speaking to CONVERTED CHRISTIANS, John writes, " … these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin … " (even though he ought not) " … we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for OUR sins . " (I John 2:1-2). Yes, for the SINS of converted CHRISTIANS. Such people often are under heavier temptation than before conversion. They are STRIVING against sin — STRIVING to overcome. But they are not yet perfect. Sometimes they are caught off guard. They may actually sin. Then they WAKE UP, as it were, and realize what they have done. They REPENT. They are filled with remorse — truly sorry — disgusted with themselves. They go to GOD, and CRY OUT for HELP — for more power and strength from God to OVERCOME!

This is the WAY of the Christian!

It is the way of a constant BATTLE — a striving against SIN — a seeking God in earnest prayer for help and spiritual POWER to overcome. They are constantly GAINING GROUND. They are constantly GROWING in God's KNOWLEDGE, from the BIBLE. They are constantly rooting out wrong habits, driving themselves into RIGHT habits. They are constantly growing closer to GOD through Bible study and prayer. They are constantly growing in CHARACTER, toward perfection, even though not yet perfect.

With Paul, they say, "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I FOLLOW AFTER … Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, FORGETTING those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I PRESS TOWARD THE MARK FOR THE PRIZE OF THE HIGH CALLING OF GOD IN CHRIST JESUS"! (Phil. 3:12-14.)

But, someone may ask, what if one's life is cut off, and he dies before he has attained this perfection? Is he saved, or lost? The answer is that we shall never obtain absolute perfection in this life.

I said, earlier, that a person who is converted does receive the Holy Spirit at a definite time — all at once! Not the full measure Christ had — he is not at once full grown spiritually — only a spiritual babe in Christ. Yet he is then a changed, converted man — changed in mind, in attitude, in the direction he has set himself to strive to travel. Even though he has not yet reached perfection — even though he may have stumbled under temptation and taken a spiritual fall — as long as, in his mind and heart, he is earnestly striving to travel GOD'S WAY, to overcome and grow spiritually — as long as God's Spirit is in him — as long as he is being LED by the Spirit of God, he is a begotten SON of God.

If, anywhere along this life's journey, that life is cut short, such a man will be resurrected. It is only the foolish one who deliberately QUITS and GIVES UP — who REJECTS God, and God's WAY, and rejects Christ as his Savior — who turns FROM this direction of GOD'S WAY in his mind and heart — in his inner INTENT — who deliberately and intentionally in his mind TURNS FROM Christ, who is lost. If, once having been converted, having received God's Spirit, and TASTED of the joys of GOD'S WAY, one deliberately rejects that way, makes the DECISION, not under stress of temptation, but deliberately and finally, NOT to go God's way, then God says it is IMPOSSIBLE to renew such a one to repentance. He would have to REPENT of that decision. But if he WILLFULLY made it, not in a time of temptation, but calmly, deliberately, willfully, then he just WILL NOT ever repent of it.

But anyone who FEARS he may have committed the "unpardonable sin" — is perhaps worried about it and HOPES he has not committed it and still WANTS to have God's salvation — no such has committed it. Such a person MAY repent and go right on to salvation IF HE WANTS TO!

If YOU have stumbled and fallen down, DON'T BE DISCOURAGED! Get up and press on ahead! (Armstrong HW. Personal. Plain Truth, February 1983)

Developing Character

While the Bible mentions that striving for perfection is important for Christians, it also indicates that such striving leads to the development of character.

Character includes reputation, but it is more than that. But let's first look at some scriptures related to reputation:

11 Even a child is known by his deeds, Whether what he does is pure and right. (Proverbs 20:11)

2 Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, "It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. 3 Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; (Acts 6:2-3)

1 This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work. 2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; 3 not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; 4 one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence 5 (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); 6 not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. 7 Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. (1 Timothy 3:1-7)

Of course, some have false reputations. Jesus condemned people for that:

25 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.

27 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. 28 Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. (Matthew 23:25-28)

Character, while manifested in reputation, is real, whereas some reputations are not. Some appear real when they are not:

14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works. (2 Corinthians 11:14-15)

However, those who truly strive for perfection and not hypocrisy will, with God's help, build the type of genuine character that God wants His people to have.

Here are some passages from the Apostle Paul about character:

1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. (Romans 5:1-4)

Notice also that Paul commended Timothy for having proven character:

19 But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your state. 20 For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state. 21 For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus. 22 But you know his proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in the gospel. (Philippians 2:19-22)

Character is built as one strives for perfection and endures to the end.

In the early 2nd century, Ignatius of Antioch taught about love, character, and Christ living His life in Christians:

…the believing have, in love, the character of God the Father by Jesus Christ, by whom, if we are not in readiness to die into His passion, His life is not in us. (Ignatius’ Letter to the Magnesians, Chapter 5.  Roberts & Donaldson, Anti-Nicene Fathers)

So, early Christians valued character and believed that they needed to demonstrate proper character.

Does God have Faith in Us?

Does God have faith in His people?

Notice something from the late David Jon Hill:

 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God" (Eph. 2:8). "O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee" (Ps. 84:12).

Faith and trust in God is paramount for salvation — no one questions that. God is faithful to perform all the promises He has made to us; He is merciful, forgiving, always alive and on hand to help His people; holy, just, eternal, loving — perfect in all His ways. Again, no one argues with this premise.

But man, on the other hand, is just the opposite: he is vile, evil, fallible — the wickedness of man is so great that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart are only evil, continually. Full of vanity, lust and greed, the best of them is as a briar, and the most upright as a thorn hedge. David sums it up for us when he says: "God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God. Everyone of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one"! (Ps. 53:2-3)

Helpless Clods. Isaiah nails it on the head when he quotes God as saying, "Thou worm Jacob"! (Isa. 41:14) Peter tells us: "... If the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?" (I Pet. 4:18) Paul lays it on the line in his first book to the Corinthians where he tells us what kind of people the brethren are: foolish, dumb sheep, weak, base, despised, helpless clods!

Don't worry, nothin's goin' to turn out all right! Even after you have done everything God commanded, you are supposed to recognize that you are an unprofitable servant, only doing your duty (Luke 17:10).

Faith and trust are for men to have in God. But you don't suppose your Father in heaven and your Savior put any trust or faith in you, do you? 0 wretched man that I am, I die daily and beat my body into submission. I can't so much as lift my eyes to God, but just hang my head and say, "Lord have mercy on me, a sinner."

Sometimes we outrival the "humility" of Job. We know God is so good and perfect and we are so evil and bad that there is nothing we can do to please Him, yet "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him"! (Job 13:15) We develop a negative assumption: God is so good, He is bound to do bad things to us bad people, and we deserve every bit of it!

All these scriptures quoted or referred to are in God's Word, and they are true — but often we allow them to all gang together by our guilt complex to make the situation look hopeless. We forget all the thousands of positive comments God's writers make about Him, and quote Him as making about His people.

Poor George. Sometimes we allow ourselves to get into an attitude where we picture ourselves spiritually like poor George. George fell off a scaffolding from three stories up, broke half the bones in his body, scalded himself with hot tar and lay in the hospital. covered with bandages from head to foot, strapped in traction, fed intravenously — only his left eyeball was visible! The doctor came in, checked the chart at the bottom of the bed of pain, hmmmed knowingly, but not too encouragingly, came around the side, looked closely at George and said, "I don't like the looks of that eye!"


Somehow we forget that God in His perfection devised a plan to bring us out of our natural depravity and into the divine perfection of His own family!

There is a currently popular country-western song that pictures God as many see Him, called "God's Gonna Getcha Fer That!" The lyrics tell about the common foibles of human nature and end each refrain with "God's gonna getcha fer that!" It shows God as only concerned with being divine Judge, Jury, Policeman and Jailor. Forgotten are His love, mercy, forgiveness and concern — and no mention is even made of His plan for mankind.

Did God really make a mistake when He created man? Did Satan upset God's applecart when he deceived our first parents in the Garden of Eden? Does the dismal history of man prove that whatever God may have planned for him must have been a failure — with the one possible exception that man seems to be an excellent machine for destruction?

God's going to "get you" all right — but it is His plan to "get you" into His Kingdom, "get you" changed, saved, born into His very family so you become God as God is God! It is our Father's pleasure to bring many sons to glory, to see to it that no temptation comes our way which is impossible to overcome, to make all things possible through Christ, to give us freely of His own divine nature, to grant us eternal life, to bring us to the same perfection He enjoys, to make us more than conquerors, coheirs with Christ to be possessors of the universe, and, believe it or not, to make us ultimately worthy of worship! "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God " (John 1:12-13).

God's Will. That is God's plan for frail man. His counsel will stand. His plan will work. He, Himself proclaims that He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance — and God's will, will be done!

God has not chosen a plan that has a built-in failure mechanism. God has not created an instrument (man) which is hopeless in the hands of its Creator. And more, God — the Father and the Son — has perfect faith in His own plan, in His instruments. In short, God has faith in man!

Now God doesn't need faith in man in the same way man must have faith in God. God doesn't need to be saved from anything. He is life, self-regenerating, eternal, all-powerful. Yet, by His own design and the purpose for which He created mankind, He will remain alone in His Kingdom with His Son unless that plan succeeds and men become full-born God-Sons. The Bible exudes confidence that the many will eventually make it (see Rom. 11:26; II Peter 3:9; I Tim. 2:4).

He is no harsh judge eager to punish every wayward act of every wayward human who so easily goes wayward — He is rather our loving Father, anxious to smooth our way at every turn, nursing, caring for, praising, blessing us a thousand ways every day to bring us to the point of birth in His own family!

Benefit of the Doubt. Let's see the measure of His trust in us. Let's see the measure of how much He has gambled on us, if you please — because there is with each of us that possibility that we may not make it; we can reject Him, His Spirit, His efforts, His will. Let's see how much of the benefit of the doubt He has given to each of us.

First, mankind is unique in all of creation, both physical and spiritual: we are the only beings God ever created in His own image! (Gen. 1:26) Physical, mortal, frail, temporary, finite, feeble — but in the image of God! God gave uniquely of Himself in our very basic design. Of the entire created spirit world, the angelic host, our Father God says they were created to be ministering spirits, servants, for them who shall be heirs of salvation! (Heb.1:14)

The entire limitless universe was created both as a setting, an incubator, a birthing place — and as a possession, a reward, a responsibility for His future sons (Rom. 8:17). Now, nobody goes to that much effort unless he has faith his plan will. work, trusts the instruments he has chosen to accomplish the plan!

In addition, God offers His own life — in the person of Jesus Christ, our Passover sacrifice (I Cor. 5:7) — to pay the penalty of the sins that so easily beset us (Acts 2:38). Given freely before we recognize its need (Rom. 5:8). No other beings are offered that sacrifice!

Beyond that, God designed us to be uniquely capable of receiving His own Spirit, His mind, His power, His essence to be joined to that "spirit in man" to become a new being, a true Son of God, calling Him Abba, Father — not just as a religious-sounding phrase, but as a spiritual reality (Rom. 8:14-16). No other being is designed with that capacity.

He gives us an "earnest," a down payment of His very Spirit (II Cor. 1:22). He trusts us with His greatest treasure, His Holy Spirit (I Cor. 14:32; Luke 19:12-27). He offers all we need at any time, without measure, to deal with the difficulties we face (I Cor. 10:13) — and adds special gifts of that Spirit for us to use! (I Cor. 12)

"Cloud of Witnesses." And these evidences of God's trust in mankind are amplified in the daily care He lavishes on us. He says: "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.... If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" (Luke 11:9, 13)

Examples from the lives of others who have gone before us, that "cloud of witnesses" Paul refers to in Hebrews 11 and 12, help us see how much our heavenly Father is for us — and "If God be for us, who can be against us?" (Rom. 8:31)

Take Noah, for example. And remember, God is no respecter of persons. The great men of the Bible were great because of their exercise of the spiritual gifts God granted them. They were all erring and very human, just like you and me — "Elias [Elijah] was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth tier fruit" (James 5:17-18). If God trusted Elijah with such power, and Noah with such a job, He will trust you and me to do what He requires of us.

Noah was about 500 years old. Noah was a farmer, a grape grower and a wine maker. Noah was not a ship builder. But God's plans called for the construction of a ship the likes of which the world had never seen. A vast vessel half the size of the Queen Mary, a construction feat not duplicated until the turn of the century! Noah was given the commission and 120 years to finish the job.

I'm sure Noah had his doubts, doubted his capability, was unsure he could complete such a fantastic task. But God knew he could. God trusted Noah to build that Ark. And not only trusted Noah to build a boat, but to save all life on earth! Animal life and human life. God placed in trust with Noah all life on earth! And God was right — Noah did the job. Thankfully, for you and me!

Mission Impossible? Moses didn't exactly volunteer for his epic accomplishments either. Check Exodus 3 and 4 for the story. Moses made every excuse in the book: "Why me, Lord? Who am I to go talk to Pharaoh? Select someone else. I'm too old; I've been away' too long and don't even know how to talk to those people anymore. I'm slow of speech. Who'll believe me anyway? I don't even know what name to use for you!" etc., etc., etc. But in Acts 7:22, Luke refers to Moses as "mighty in words and in deeds"!

God knew Moses could do the job; it didn't matter that it seemed like a "Mission Impossible." God knew the power and gifts He was going to supply — God had more faith in Moses than Moses had in Moses, or than Moses had in God at the time! God trusted Moses with the freeing of an enslaved people; with the execution of the fulfillment of His promises to Abraham more than 400 years before; with the establishing of an entire nation; with the giving and codification of His own law; with the establishment of a priesthood, civil and religious laws; with the power to perform some of the most outstanding miracles ever recorded; with the ability to endure putting up with rebellious Israel for 40 years in the wilderness.

And God was "right — Moses did the job!

Abraham and Sarah had their doubts. They looked at the circumstances, their age, the track record of a barren marriage. They tried to work out God's promises some other way: have Abraham produce an heir through Hagar. At age 99 and 89 they both laughed inwardly when God told them they, Abraham and Sarah, not any other combination, were going to have a baby in one year's time! They couldn't believe it!

But God was right again. And when the baby was born, God had them call his name "Laughter" (Isaac) to teach them and us a lesson. God not only trusted Abraham to father a child in his old age, but trusted him to perform an unbelievable act of obedience: the sacrifice of his miraculously born son Isaac! God was "betting" on Abraham — and both won!

Betting on a Winner. Consider Job. God put a lot of faith in Job. First He brought Job to Satan's attention, then turned Satan loose on him. Satan did his best to cause Job to curse God and die. Satan failed, and never would have brought up the subject again. But God persisted, pointed out Job again, and allowed Satan to personally afflict Job in every way, physically, mentally, spiritually — to within an inch of his life. Job had a problem God wanted overcome: self-righteousness. But, problem or no, God wanted Job in His Kingdom. In order to provide the lesson, God unleashed the greatest power known, apart from His own, to afflict Job.

God trusted Job, not only to survive the onslaught, but to survive it with greater spiritual stature and character. God trusted Job to be able to resist Satan at his best (or worst as the case may be)!

God was right. God "bet" on Job — and again, both won!

The examples of men exercising faith are too numerous, to document, as Paul said (Heb. 11:32).

Walking on Water. What about Peter? Now there is someone you can identify with. Overzealous, naive, suffering from foot-in-mouth disease, jumping to conclusions, weakening at the wrong times — very human. But God believed he could be a leading apostle.

Remember when Peter tried walking on water? Jesus was strolling on the surface and Peter wanted to try, Jesus said: "Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water... but...", (Matt. 14:28-30).

Walking on water was not an exclusive ability of Jesus. He knew what He would tell His disciples later: "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father" (John 14:12). Granted it is the power of God that makes all possible, but the all possible is done through, by and with human beings.

Jesus knew Peter could walk on water. The problem was Peter didn't believe Peter could, do it — even after he did it! Peter looked around at the physical circumstances, lost his nerve, dropped his eyes from Christ, and promptly sank!

That same Peter later preached and thousands were converted — a miracle Christ Himself never personally performed! That same Peter passed by sick people, and they were healed by the shadow of his passing. That same Peter exercised the trust placed in him and the power given: " Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In. the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk"! (Acts 3:6) How fitting that Peter should be instrumental in causing a man to walk, who had never walked! That same Peter raised the dead.

Who Does God Trust? And God knew he could do all these things all along. He trusted Peter (and all the other apostles) with access to "All power... in heaven and in earth" (Matt. 28:18).

And what about Paul, the reluctant apostle? What about Timothy, the sickly youth reared by his mother and grandmother? Dorcas? Phoebe? Silas? Titus? Philemon's slave Onesimus?

What about you?

Do you have faith that God could trust you? Do you believe God could perform wonders through you? Do you think God likes you? Wants you?

"As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name"! (John 1:12.)

How much power does it take to become a son of God? Do you doubt that you are capable of exercising such power? Do you doubt God means YOU when He said, "as many as received him, to THEM gave he power to become the sons of God"? Do you think God would ever trust YOU with power like that?

Wouldn't you like to hear those words: "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world"! (Matt. 25:34)

You can do it! God is FOR YOU! He is willing to trust you with His Spirit, power and mind!

God knows you CAN!

Do you? (Hill DJ. God's Faith in Man. Good News magazine, September 1976)

One way that God demonstrates His faith in us is to give us His written word:

16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

God would not have bothered to do that if He did not have faith we could make it.

God also gave a ministry:

11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head — Christ — 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. (Ephesians 4:11-16)

You might be surprised by how many 'winds of doctrine' there are out there. Many 'new truths' are slightly repackaged old heresies.

God's plan includes His faith that His people will be able to make it. But is not always easy.

Consider that God's word also says:

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints — 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. (Ephesians 6:10-20)

So, both a warning and hope are given to us, as well as some actions to take.

God had a plan for humans before we existed as Jesus was "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Revelation 13:8). Consider also:

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. (John 3:16-17)

The Father and Son had faith in humans to have a plan that involved sending Jesus to suffer and die for humans. If they did not have faith any humans would respond, they would not have had such a plan.

Getting Rid of Sin as We Strive Towards Perfection

In a sermon, Herbert Armstrong stated:

Now I'd just like to read a little something in closing, in I John {2}. We read in the third verse:

I John 1:3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you [This is John, of course, speaking; and he had been with Jesus and knew Him. In his old age, he was writing this.], that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

We walk daily, then, with Christ. If we have come out of sin, if we have repented, He has called us. God the Father really called us, and we have come to Christ because of that. Now if you will notice also beginning with verse 8:

I John 1:8 If we [That's "we" in the Church now.] say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

Brethren, even after we receive the Holy Spirit, we're not going to be perfect yet. It's a matter of growing in grace and knowledge. It's a matter of continual overcoming. And we don't do it all at once.

You know, there's a little story back in the Old Testament. God told Israel, when they went into the Promised Land, that they couldn't drive all of the inhabitants out all at once; but they must drive them out, or they would become (you know) pricks in their sides and a great source of trouble to them. But they couldn't do it all at once. Well, they just didn't drive them out. They didn't obey God, and they were a trouble to them. So you don't make it in one fell swoop, as we say. We have to get rid of these things as we find them.


I John 1:8-10 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (9) If we [And "we" means the Church.] confess our sins [If, when we slip, we do confess it ... and it doesn't say just your faults. It says sins!], he is faithful and just to forgive US [The "us" means Church members, those who have God's Spirit. "To forgive us ... "]our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. [We've got to be cleansed and not do it again. We've got to overcome.] (10) If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and {3} his word is not in us.

Now it continues right on here:

I John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not.

We are not to sin. But if we do, walking along with Christ, two can't walk together except we be agreed. We're walking along with Christ. We stumble and fall down. We committed a sin, not maliciously. It might have been knowingly (through temptation, through habit, or whatever), but not maliciously.

What's the other word that I want? It's defined in the booklet about the unpardonable sin. Not willfully. Sometimes willingly, but not willfully; there's quite a difference.

I John 2:1-2 These things write I unto you, that you sin not. And if any man sin, WE have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous [He's our High Priest up in heaven, at the throne of God.] (2) And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

Most of the world is not called yet, but they will be; and that shows that our sins are in contrast to the world outside (that are not in the Church). That shows he's talking there to the Church. So from here on we must overcome.

Now the next holy day will be the Day of Pentecost — the coming of the Holy Spirit; and what a wonderful truth to come to us at that time. These holy days picture God's program for changing man (as he was after Satan got through with Adam) till God's creation of man is complete, as it finally will be.

We have something a little different to face than Adam did. He had not sinned. He just had to accept the Tree of Life, and he didn't. We have already sinned, and we've got to repent of that before we can even come to accept the Tree of Life. We have to repent of doing as Adam did. It isn't easy, and the path ahead is not easy; but the rewards are so tremendous. We will be VERY GOD. We will have perfect righteousness.

You know the most unhappy thing is when you know you are wrong and it's bothering your conscience. It gives you fear and everything wrong. But when your conscience finally is complete, and you know that you will finally become perfect, and also (if I'd gone on to read I John the third chapter) once we are BORN AGAIN ... We are not now born again. We sin, and "if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins." But once we are born again, I John 3:9 it says we CANNOT SIN because God's seed remains in us; and we cannot sin because we are born of Him — as Christ is now born of God.

Christ cannot sin now. He could have when He was in the human flesh on earth. He just didn't. He was tempted, but He didn't sin. We've been tempted, and we all have — every one of us! But now God is there to cleanse us and bring us out of this sin. Let's come on all the way out of it. But as I said now, in the beginning, to put sin out we have to put God's righteousness in. Let's hunger and thirst for God's righteousness, and be filled with that. Jesus has given us the promise that, if we hunger and thirst for righteousness, we shall be filled. (Armstrong HW. Sin. Sermon, April 4, 1983)

God has a plan for you.

What does God want you to do?

The Bible also teaches:

8 And what does the LORD require of you, But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8).

Does God have a plan for humans? The answer is clearly YES!

The Bible teaches:

What is man that You are mindful of him, Or the son of man that You take care of him? You have made him a little lower than the angels; You have crowned him with glory and honor, And set him over the works of Your hands. You have put all things in subjection under his feet (Hebrews 2:6).

God says humans (meaning both females and males) are different from the rest of creation, because humans are to be over all things.

In the Old Testament, Job understood that God had a plan for him when he stated to God, "You shall desire the work of Your hands" (Job 14:15). What Job meant was that after he was resurrected (this is discussed in the verses prior; see also What Did Early Christians Understand About the Resurrections?), Job knew that God had a specific plan, a "meaning of life," for him personally. Something for him to do in God's kingdom. God also has a specific plan for you.

In the New Testament, Jesus taught the same thing. When He taught:

In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself (John 14:2-3).

Jesus was saying that He would prepare a place for YOU if you were one of the Father's children. God has a plan for you! He has something for you to do!

But can you make it?

The Apostle Paul wrote:

3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, 5 for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; (Philippians 1:3-6)

God has a plan for you that will work. That is why He laid out the Holy Days. He has faith in you and if you do not give up your faith in Him, He will be able to accomplish His plan for you.

A related sermon is titled: Does God have faith in humans?

Thiel B. Perfection? Does God have faith in humans? COGwriter (c) 2016 0423

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