There are two testaments: The Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old is of Jehovah, and the New is of Jesus Christ. There are clear differences between the two testaments. In the Old Testament man is extremely devalued, and in the New Testament he is greatly valued. Jehovah insists in proving that men are sinners, base, unfaithful, filthy, and incapable of rising up from the dust. “Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins” (Eccl.7:20). In 1 Kings 8:46 Solomon says that there is no man who does not sin. “Jehovah has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one” (Ps.14:2,3; Ps.53:2-3). “How then can a man be just with God? Or how can he be clean who is born of woman? If even the moon has no brightness and the stars are not pure in His sight, How much less man, that maggot, and the son of Man, that worm!” (Job 25:4-6). “Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding” (Ps.32:9). So, every man was placed under a regimen of slavery, condemnation and death (2 Cor.3:6-9).
Christ comes down into this dark world, delivers men, frees them from the curses and makes them children of God, to do God’s works. “If therefore the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36). “Christ delivered us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us” (Gal.3:13). “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12). “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph.2:10). Jesus tells them: “You are the light of the world” (Matt.5:14). “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matt.5:16).
Which were the men to whom did Jesus say these words? The righteous? The faithful? The merciful? Absolutely not! Jesus said: “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are ill […] for I did not come to call the righteous, but the sinners” (Matt.9:12-13). Paul goes even further: “…but God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen the things that are not, that He might nullify the things that are” (1 Cor.1:27-28).
In order to prove that there are good values inside men, God takes the worst, those that the Old Testament mercilessly killed for they bad habits and for their inutility, and makes them his ministries.
Finally, Jesus takes men with many defects and addictions and brings them to the way of perfection (Heb.6:1). Let us make it clear that the law of Jehovah does not make anyone perfect, for it is weak and useless (Heb.7:18-19).
The law is weak through the flesh and arouses in men sinful and deadly passions (Rom.8:3; 7:5).
- James reveals that the various temptations prove our faith, so that the Christian may be perfect and complete, that is, the one who falls into temptation and sins will never be perfect and complete (James 1:2-4). Whoever stands against temptation reaches perfection.
- James provides another instruction in the way of perfection. “For we all stumble in many ways. If any one does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well” (James 3:2-3). James is teaching here that those who do not bridle their tongue do not bridle their body either.
- The apostle Paul says: “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim.3:16-17).
- Paul goes on teaching about perfection: “And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against any one; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity” (Col.3:12-14).
- This process of perfection is possible only, it is evident, when Christ inhabits the Christian and controls his feelings, impulses, thoughts and actions. “…the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations; but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. And we proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, that we may present every man complete in Christ” (Col.1:26-28). “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him’” (John 14:23). Paul, the most perfect of all Christians said; “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal.2:20).
- Paul believes that all Christians will be perfect. “…until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to A MATURE MAN, TO THE MEASURE OF THE STATURE WHICH BELONGS TO THE FULLNESS OF CHRIST” (Eph.4:13).
- We must make two considerations: Jesus did the works of the One who sent him (John 9:4). Jesus would have to confirm the judgments of Jehovah if he were to agree with him. He canceled everything that Jehovah had done: he removed the curses, removed the condemnation, and lifted men to the status of his brothers and sisters (Rom.8:29). James and John wished to confirm the works of Jehovah causing fire to come down from heaven to kill men, but Jesus rebuked them saying, “You do not know what kind of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them” (Luke 9:51-56). Secondly, if Christ would have been there in Jehovah’s place, he would not have killed those one hundred and two innocent men, which were in the service of the king, for he condemned Elijah’s attitude and the useless slaughter done by Jehovah (2 Kings 1:9-12). We read in the book of Job that the people who lived before the flood were taken before their time, that is, if Jesus had been there, he would not have destroyed them (Job 22:15-16).
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira