Depraved or Lazy?

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When was the last time you were perfect? Perhaps you got a 100% on a test or skunked an opponent playing ping pong. Competitive sports provide us with opportunities to see someone throw a perfect game or complete a perfect season. Many of us dont try for perfection. We aim for good enough in sports and work and school. But what about our Christian life? Could you try harder? Do you use depravity as an excuse for laziness? John Wesley is one of the most influential thinkers of all time. He developed a unique view of Christian Perfection that went on to inspire several evangelical movements. And when I say influential movements I am referring to the holiness and charismatic movements that have  gone on to shape the global culture of the church. Wesley thought that Christians could attain perfect holiness here on earth. That their lives could be lived without intentional sin. Because of Christ's sacrifice (atonement) someone could be forgiven of their sins (justified) and be continually purified to reflect the person of Christ (sanctification). Wesley goes on to say that the end result of sanctification is that of Christian Perfection. He says that the perfect Christian, "runs the way of God's commandments" and strives to, "do the will of God on earth, as it is done in heaven." I wrote a short essay about Wesley's take on perfection. You can check it out here.

What do you think? Can a man or women become "Christian perfect?" Wait, hold on. Wesley give us one important qualifier to his theology of sanctification. He says that, "A man may be filled with pure love, and still be liable to mistake. Indeed I do not expect to be freed from actual mistakes, till this mortal puts on immortality. I believe this to be a natural consequence of the soul's dwelling in flesh and blood." So we are not perfect from sin, just perfect from what we were before.

The Christian culture that I am a part of talks a lot about our imperfection. We are an acknowledged sinful people who are in desperate need of a savior. Everyone agrees on this. However I am challenged by Wesley's take on Christian perfection. I think that many of us settle too low when it comes to being formed into the image of Christ.

What do you think? Do we use depravity as an excuse for laziness?

 

Brent ColbyComment