The Perfecting Of The Saints

Although the Apostle Paul addressed all the believers in each of the churches as saints, he also recognized that they weren’t perfect.  He knew that they had to grow in their spiritual maturity. He also knew that they had to perfect the holiness of God in their lives.
As a young man, all I read was the King James Version of the Bible.  Look at the following passage of Scripture from that version:
“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”  (Ephesians 4:11-12 KJV)
Here we have a list of what we often call the five offices of ministry.  In this passage, the Apostle Paul wrote that these ministries were given for the perfecting of the saints.  It is obvious from this passage that the saints weren’t perfect yet.  When it comes to holiness, it is especially important to realize that you can be a saint and still not walk in the level of holiness that God desires from you.  You still need to perfect the holiness of God in your life!
The Apostle Paul addressed this issue in his letter to the saints in Corinth, when he wrote:
“Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”  (2 Corinthians 7:1 NKJV)
 
Yes, even though God calls you His saint, you have to perfect the holiness of God in your life.  You do this by cleansing yourself from everything that would defile your flesh or even your spirit.  This means you have to learn to shake sins off your life, and it also means you have to learn to shake off things like doubt, fear, depression and anxiety.  This may surprise you, but all of these things keep us from walking in holiness.
Those who are true saints of God, keep themselves from all sin, and they also seek to always walk in faith, hope and love.  Faith, hope and love are the opposites of doubt, fear, depression and anxiety.  Does that surprise you?
As a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, we not only need to guard our hearts from the sins of the world, that we see around us each day, but we need to also guard ourselves against the attitudes of the world.  By walking in faith, hope and love, we keep our hearts from doubt, fear, depression and anxiety.  These things are from the enemy to keep us from walking in close relationship with God.
How do you defeat these things in your life?  The first thing you do is boldly confess what the Word of God says about you and your circumstances.  Find promises that reveal what God will do for you, and stand on these promises until your circumstances change.
The writer of Hebrews wrote:
 
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He is faithful who promised.”  (Hebrews 10:23 NKJV)
From this Scripture we see that God is faithful to keep His promises.  That is why we must keep confessing His promises, expecting God to fulfill His Word in our lives.  Circumstances may try to cause us to waver in unbelief, but we must maintain our confession until the answer comes.
The Apostle James put it this way, when he wrote:
“But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.  For he who wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.  For let not that man think he will receive anything from the Lord.  A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”  (James 1:6-8 KJV)
 
The reason I quoted this passage from the King James Version is because it so beautifully illustrates how doubt causes us to waver in our faith.  This happens when we set your minds on the Word one moment, and then set our minds on the circumstances around us the next moment.  That is being double minded. Those who are double minded are unstable in their faith, and this keeps us from receiving anything from the Lord.
This is so rarely taught, but walking in faith, hope and love will help you live a stable life and a holy life that is pleasing to God.  You really can’t separate one from the other.  They all work together to bring the blessings of God into your life.  They also help you live a life that is holy, because the world does not walk in faith, hope and love.  Those in the world often live in doubt, fear, anxiety and depression.  This is not how a believer should live!
There is another tool I often use to deal with these negative feelings.  I have made it my practice to cast all of my cares upon the Lord.  That includes all doubt, all fear, all anxiety, and all depression.  The Apostle Peter put it his way, when he wrote:
“Casting all of your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”  1 Peter 5:7 NKJV.
The word “care” can be translated “anxiety,” which can be found in other versions of the Bible.  Regardless of how you translate this verse,you can cast all of these negative feelings upon the Lord, and He will carry them for you.  Isn’t that wonderful to know?
The bottom line is that God does not want His saints to be burdened down by these things, but live free from these things, and live a life of joy.  A life of holiness should be a life of joy, peace and love.  That is what the life of a saint should look like!
You are holy, dear saint!
Steve Smith
[All Scripture quotations were taken from the Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc, unless otherwise indicated]
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