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You might want to read what the Bible says about "Perfection" before you read this. If so, click here.
R. B. Ainsley
This book is an attempt to explain what Christian perfection is all about. Sanctification is simply being like God - in character, and therefore, in action, and this is what Hannah was and did. Thus she lived what Jesus told us in Matthew 5:48.
The Bible texts are from the king James version but with modifications to some of the old English words to make them more acceptable to the modern reader.
© The terms of the copyright are quite simple. You may use this book in any way you wish. Feel free to copy and distribute it as you see fit.
The PERFECT CHRISTIAN
The perfect Christian is symbolised by the submissive wife, for she is to her husband as we are to be to Christ, and Christ is to His Father. Ephesians 5:22-24. But her submissiveness is not in being a door mat - it is in the sharing of responsibility - in reasoning and acting together with mutual respect.
One of the greatest demonstrations of Christian perfection given in the Bible, apart from the example of Jesus Christ Himself, is shown in the life of an ordinary woman named Hannah. She was the first wife of the Levite, Elkanah, who had also married another woman, Peninnah, because Hannah had no children. 1 Samuel 1:1-2.
This is the first record of bigamy in the line of God's people since the story of Jacob in Genesis chapter 29, and was entered into only because of the great desire of the man to have children to perpetuate his name. By the moral code of the day he was doing no wrong, but it was prompted by a lack of faith in God, and showed a lack of understanding of Abraham's experience with Hagar. Genesis 16.
Elkanah was going against the advice of his LORD, who knew what the consequences would most likely be. He had said, "Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life which He has given you under the sun, all the days of your vanity; for that is your portion in life, and in the labour which you perform under the sun". Ecclesiastes 9:9 NKJ.
This act of bigamy did not bring the happiness Elkanah thought it would, for his second wife began to dominate Hannah and taunt her about her childless state and the home situation began to fray at the edges. "And her rival also provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the LORD had closed her womb". 1 Samuel 1:6 NKJ.
Of course, Jesus had done no such thing, but this was her opinion of Him.
How many today are like Peninnah? How many still love to reproach instead of to soothe, to add to the distress of a sufferer instead of attempting to ease it.
How many act as if sorrow and disappointment were punishments from God, and believe that they should follow His example!
Elkanah, we are told, went up to the sanctuary at Shiloh only once a year, even though he was a Levite and should have been working in it more often. Samuel 1:3. It was written in the law, "Three times in a year shall all your males appear before the LORD your GOD in the place which He shall choose ..." Deuteronomy 16:16. But the crimes of Hophni and Phineas, the sons of the high priest, were so terrible that they were called "the sons of Belial [i.e. sons of Satan]", and because of their behaviour not many people attended on the LORD, consequently few priests or Levites were required.
It is said of Hophni and Phineas that, "They knew not the LORD ... Wherefore the sin of the young men was very great before the LORD; for men abhorred the offering [or worship] of the LORD". 1 Samuel 2:12-17.
When Elkanah did go to the sanctuary, he followed God's direction and gave each member of his family a portion of the thank-offering feast. Leviticus 7:11-15. Yet even amid these sacred festivities the evil spirit which cursed his home intruded, for when he gave to his beloved wife a "worthy" or double portion, the second wife, Peninnah, fired with jealousy, claimed the precedence because of her "favour" with God. 1 Samuel 1:5.
She taunted Hannah with her barrenness as conclusive evidence of her disfavour, implying it was God's desire that she be barren!
We know now that our gentle LORD never inflicts pain or sorrow upon anyone, but this truth was not so openly appreciated in those days. It was not the LORD's doing that "shut up her womb" as Peninnah declared, but the result of a transgression somewhere in the past.
"Therefore she wept, and did not eat", the Scripture continues regarding Hannah. Verse 7. This tantalising behaviour by Peninnah was repeated from year to year until at last Hannah broke down and cried and her husband tried to comfort her with the words, "Am I not better to you than ten sons?"
How little he understood this gentle loving woman!
She was not crying for her barrenness in the way that he surmised. If she had wanted to, she could have told him then of her affliction by Peninnah, but this noble Christian uttered no word of reproach or accusation of her rival, whom her husband loved.
In accordance with the meek enduring beauty of her true womanly character, she made no complaining answer, for she copied her Master. It is written of Him, "He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth". Isaiah 53:7. The burden which she could share with no earthly friend - not even one as close as her husband - she must cast upon God.
The condition of married women amongst the believers must then have been free and unrestrained, because she arose from the feast and went unattended into the temple to commune with her LORD, which was her privilege. Earnestly she pleaded that He would take away the reason for her reproach and grant her the precious gift of a son to nurture and train for Him.
"Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the LORD. And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore". 1 Samuel 1:9-10. Doubtless she had made this plea many times in the past years, but it had never been granted. However, this time she added a solemn vow that if her request was granted, she would dedicate her child (who would also be Elkanah's), to God as a Nazarite, even from its birth. Verse 11.
"And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli marked her mouth. Now Hannah, she spoke in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she was drunk". Verse 13. Thinking to administer a deserved rebuke, this man who could not even control his own sons, said sternly, "How long will you be drunk? Put away your wine from you". He who was supposed to represent the LORD Jesus Christ to His people was quick to accuse his brethren, in contrast to the gentle Hannah! Revelation 12:10.
In those evil times such a scene of extreme piety was rarely witnessed, and irreverent feasting and drunkenness were quite common due to the worship of the Baal which so many people indulged in. The high priest was expected to demonstrate the character of God and be loving and forgiving, but this he signally failed to do!
Hannah was upset by her husband, upset by his second wife, upset religiously, and now this! Even though pained and startled at having her motive so misunderstood, she still did not attempt a retort, but merely explained the circumstances. "I ... have poured out my soul before the LORD ... out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken here". Verses 15-16. What a loving character she had - so dead to self! For if a tempted soul endures such a trying process, and self does not feel hurt and abused under the test, that probing knife reveals that the soul is indeed dead to self, but very much alive unto God!
The high priest was deeply moved, for he was a man of God - even if a faulty one - and in the place of his planned rebuke, he uttered a blessing. The word of the LORD came to him and he said, "Go in peace". Then he added, "And the God of Israel grant you your petition that you have asked of Him". Verse 17. These were not light words, because they came from God's supreme representative in His visible church, dressed in his high priest's robes, standing in God's house!
He did not ask what it was that she sought, nor did he tell her to ask her husband to pray for her. She was a follower of the LORD in her own right - therefore she could expect her prayer to be heard and answered as an individual. Hannah accepted these words as being a direct answer from her LORD!
In this story of Hannah's experience regarding the gift of Samuel, Elkanah her husband is completely secondary. It was a woman's prayers which were heard, accepted and answered, for a woman as His follower could make her own sacrifices unto the LORD.
It is written,
"She shall bring a lamb of the first year for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon, or a turtledove, for a sin offering, to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, to the priest: who shall offer it before the LORD, and make an atonement for her ..." Leviticus 12:6-7.
The history of Elkanah and his family clearly illustrates this principle.
Women, as well as men, were to appear in the house of the LORD and join in worshipping Him. This is proved by both Hannah and Peninnah, with the latter's children, attending the temple service with their husband at Shiloh.
Moreover, the law to go up three times a year was only binding upon males due to the fact that females, particularly mothers, had many other more important duties to perform. But, of course, they were welcome whenever they could be free of these other responsibilities. However, it gradually got to the stage where women didn't go very often. Then husbands began to say that their wives shouldn't go. Eventually, the evil one suggested that men were the only ones who could do the rituals. Thus the way was set to shut women out totally and confine them to a women's court!
To separate men and women, reason and love, justice and grace, and man from God, has always been Satan's objective!
However, stories such as those of Naomi and Deborah show the real position of women "in Christ", and prove their ability, both intellectually and spiritually, as well as the respect they received from their fellow beings. Deborah was a prophetess, wife of Lapidoth, yet inspired to do the will of God, gifted extra-ordinarily, and expressly called to judge [i.e lead] and deliver her country-men. Judges 4:4. Naomi was a widow, not bound by wifely or motherly duties, with no relations to interfere with her other duties. Ruth 1:21.
But the history of Hannah demonstrates even more distinctly the freedom and equality of women, for Hannah was one of two wives, with a living husband, and she was the head of a wealthy household, consequently she must have been very busy. Of her it could be said, "Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband does safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil" [or damage]. Proverbs 31:10-11.
Hannah, therefore, did not ask for her husband's consent to go into the house of the LORD. If women were not permitted to pray for themselves, we may be sure that Peninnah would have had something to say about this, and Elkanah would have rebuked her presumption.
It was in faith that Hannah came to the LORD, loving Him, trusting her heavenly "Husband" much more than she could ever love and confide in her nearest and dearest tie on earth, Elkanah. She did not think herself too unworthy to approach and beseech Him, because she knew that the law which she obeyed and the whole history of her people, teemed with such invitations and His promises to answer such petitions of faith.
Therefore we should see that wherever the word "man" is used in the Old Testament laws, it also includes the thought of an individual woman, for this is the way of the Living God. In the sacrificial system the words, "If a soul sin" apply to both males and females. See Leviticus 4:2; 5:1 etc.
In Numbers 5:6-7 God says, "When a man or woman shall commit any sin that men [or women] do commit, to do a trespass against the LORD, and that person be guilty; then THEY shall confess their sin which they have done: and he [or she] shall recompense his [or her] trespass ..."
To make absolutely sure that this point was understood by His followers, where there was any possibility of confusion, God caused the woman to be mentioned separately, but generally all were expected to understand this principle.
In the important area of dedication, the LORD said, "When either man or woman shall separate themselves to vow the vow of a Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the LORD; HE shall separate HIMSELF..." Then He continued using the male gender, expecting His followers to see this truth. Numbers 6:2.
Therefore Hannah came to her Saviour, not only in a loving attitude, but also believing with such a pure and childlike faith, that when the high priest bade her "go in peace, and God grant you your petition", she returned so calmly, so trustingly, that "she did eat, and her countenance was no more sad". 1 Samuel 1:18.
These words should convince us that she fully believed when she prayed, and the resultant relaxation did for her what years of anxiety had prevented - it allowed her to conceive. She accepted rest of mind, and consequently rest of body. Thus she was "healed" by the LORD her Doctor. See Exodus 15:26.
Her added vow was the result of a growing lifetime of faith and understanding of what God needed. Faith has no instantaneous depth, but grows as we appreciate the character of our LORD, and His needs. It is a plant so foreign to this cold, sceptical, questioning world that it must be nursed and tended in our daily life. It must be based on a principle, not on a feeling. It must accompany every prayer, every spiritual longing, otherwise we cannot receive the answers we desire. [See spiritual comment].
We need faith - that type of faith which, instead of banishing reason, welcomes and supports it as a companion and servant. Faith may exist without reason, but let reason attempt to exclude faith, let the unbeliever mock and scoff at all things which cannot be substantially proved; what then will support him in his hour of need? Then let him explain, if he can - birth and death, the beginning and the end.
In like manner, a man needs a wife as evidenced by God's gift to Adam. God Himself gave Adam a companion. He provided "a help meet for him" - a helper corresponding to him - one who was fitted to be his partner, and who could be one with him in love and sympathy. Genesis 2:21. Eve was created from a rib taken from the side of Adam, from over his heart, signifying that she was not to control him as the head, nor to be trampled under his feet as an inferior, but to stand by his side as an equal, to be loved and protected by him.
She was to be a guide to him in how to worship their God.
As a result of this partnership
we find that the record of this story goes on to say, "They
rose up in the morning early, and worshipped before the LORD
1 Samuel 1:19. Because they were a partnership, Hannah had discussed her position with her husband and he had fully agreed with her petition and her vow. Not as a boss acquiescing with a subordinate, but as a partner, an equal, sharing in, and accepting, the solution to a problem which concerned them both, for they thought alike. His reasoning mind bowed to the wisdom of her faithful heart, and he saw the loving-kindness of the LORD GOD. He also agreed to give his unborn son to the LORD and to the nation, the one who should have been his heir and carry on his name. Elkanah saw the light of God's way and thanked the LORD for such a wife!
The law states that when a married woman made a vow, "And her husband heard it, and held his peace at her in the day that he heard it: then her vows shall stand, and her bonds wherewith she bound her soul shall stand", and this is exactly what he did. Numbers 30:7. But a compassionate God also made allowances for the impulsive nature of the female, by including a proviso. "But if her husband disallowed her on the day that he heard it; then he shall make her vow ... of none effect: and the LORD shall forgive her ... [However] if he shall any way make them void after that he has heard them; then he shall bear her iniquity". Numbers 30:8-15.
So the kingly power of reason is given the chance to over-ride our feelings if it becomes necessary. An example of this can be seen when Abraham was called to offer up his son Isaac against all his paternal feeling. Genesis 22:1-2. In like manner we are protected by our heavenly Husband from rash moves or decisions.
Our story continues, "Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bore a son, and called his name, Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the LORD". 1 Samuel 1:20.
Why did Hannah "bear her son" at that time and not in one of the many years before?
Why do so many of our prayers remain unanswered year after year?
The clue lies in the addition of the vow, of course. Not that God can be persuaded by our promising Him something, but because He can do all things - except one!
He cannot make us like Himself without our approval and co-operation!
We have to desire that condition and then choose to remain in that state, constantly growing in grace until all our aspirations are like His. We need to become one "after His own heart". 1 Samuel 13:14. It is true that He gives us the new heart to start with, but then it is our work to maintain it with His wisdom and strength. 1 Samuel 10:9.
He says, "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you, and you shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause [i.e. enable] you to walk in My statutes, and you shall [be able to] keep My judgments [i.e. think as I do], and do them". Ezekiel 36:26-27.
Therefore "Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoices in the LORD, my horn [i.e. power] is exalted in the LORD; my mouth is enlarged over my enemies; because I rejoice in Your salvation. There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside You; neither is there any Rock like our God". 1 Samuel 2:1-2.
She had learned how to think God's thoughts after Him - how to have thoughts like His! "For My thoughts are not your [natural] thoughts, neither are your [human] ways My ways, says the LORD [to unbelievers]. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts". Isaiah 55:8-9.
But if our minds are focused on heavenly things then we will have heavenly thoughts, and this is just what Hannah did.
She had been feeling extra miserable, not just because of her personal lack, but because of the absence of God's presence among His people under Hophni and Phineas. They needed a leader, one who could bring them back to the ways of the LORD. So she offered to give her son for that purpose.
In this she was merely following in the footsteps of her heavenly Father, for He too had offered His Son in a time of great need! Her request could not be answered until she had prayed the larger prayer, the one which included thoughts for others besides herself or her husband. She had prayed one of the only three prayers that any Christian can righteously pray, apart from the song of praise:
"LORD, please forgive and cleanse me of my sin".
"LORD, is there anything I can do to help You?"
"LORD, is there anything I can do to help my fellows?"
When she presented this kind of prayer it was immediately answered, and the gift was sure. Because it was the right type of prayer, it carried with it the peaceful assurance of the answer, therefore she "was no more sad". She knew, that is, experienced, the promise, "You shall find Him, if you seek Him with all your heart, and with all your soul". Deuteronomy 4:29.
This story is NOT about Elkanah's desire to have an heir, nor is it about Hannah's desire to have a son for her husband. Both of these desires are tinged with selfishness, thus they could not be answered.
But as soon as self was forgotten and the great need of God and His people was considered, then the blessing came! How many of the prayers being uttered today are of this sort? When Hannah prayed, "Is there anything that I can do to help in Your work, LORD?" He took her at her word and said, "Prove Me now herewith, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing ..." Malachi 3:10. What she received she was almost more than she could bear!
When the time came the next year to go up to offer a sacrifice "and his vow", Elkanah made no objection when Hannah informed him that she was not going with him. In fact, he said, "Do what seems [to] you good!" 1 Samuel 1:21-23. Here was a man of some importance, a man of principle, who was not ashamed to have his wife seen as a free agent, doing as she thought best!
He did not "command" her to come up with him and fulfil her role as his "wife", merely an obedient subject, for he understood the principle of religious freedom. He knew that she was not an "independent" woman, but an "individual" one.
She made the decision, that staying and teaching the young babe was more important than attending the feast of the LORD, and in this she was right again. Even though the child was only three months old, she had already spent many days educating him, for she had commenced teaching him the day he was born. She knew that the first year of life is the most important, because it brings more first contacts with new things than all the rest of life. She was also aware that first encounters set the pattern for those following, therefore they must be oriented in the right direction.
She had been training herself even before he was born, but now this was widened to include him.
She knew the shortness of her time to teach him!
Do we with our children?
The gift of God stayed with her, and "she gave her son suck until she weaned him. And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her ..." Verses 23-24. There was no hesitation on her part, for she knew what she was doing. She knew that the salvation of many of her people depended upon her son. She loved them so much that she was willing to sacrifice her personal pleasure for this purpose. Truly, she was a daughter of God! A daughter with His own sacrificing character! She could indeed say, "I will praise Thee, O LORD my God, with all my heart; and I will glorify Your name for evermore". Psalm 86:12.
Her son could not have been much more than three years old when this happened, but she did not even hesitate to give him into the hands of an old man who had shown that he could not properly bring up children! For the Scripture records, "They slew a bullock, and brought the child to Eli". Verse 25. "And she said, Oh, my lord, as your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman that stood by you here, praying unto the LORD. For this child I prayed; and the LORD has given me my petition which I asked of Him: Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he lives he shall be lent to the LORD. And he worshipped the LORD there". Verses 26-28.
We may be forgiven for thinking that the last phrase refers to Samuel, but it actually records the effect that her action had upon the high priest, Eli. God loved that man, and used Hannah to reach out to him.
Eli was deeply impressed by the faith and devotion of this woman of Israel. He, an over-indulgent father, was awed and humbled as he beheld this mother's great sacrifice in parting with her only child, that she might devote him to the service of God and consequently to God's people. He felt reproved for his own selfish love and in humiliation and reverence he bowed before the LORD and worshipped.
He must have realised that even Abraham their beloved "father in the faith", had not had to literally sacrifice his son, but was saved from it at the last moment. Genesis 22:12. No such repreive for Hannah!
It was on behalf of her yet unborn child that Hannah had made her vow, and Samuel therefore would have to choose this for himself when he came to the age of understanding which would be when he was about 12 years old. This was by no means certain, except by the influence which the godly mother passed on to him while in her care. Samuel was a free moral agent, to choose obedience or disobedience, as he wished, just as all humans may. But the wise mother had so inclined the twig in those formative years that when the time came he followed his heavenly Father's footsteps as many a child follows their earthly father's ways guided by their mother's example in the following of her husband.
Christian perfection is not just what we say, but what we do, and often our children can see far more accurately than we as adults can.
In her prayer of thanks, Hannah made prophetic references to David, who was to reign as king of Israel and to the Messiah, the Lord's Anointed. In contrast to the boasting of Peninnah, an insolent and argumentative woman, one who was far from portraying the LORD's character, Hannahs song points to the end awaiting the enemies of God, and the final triumph of His redeemed people. She sang, "The LORD shall judge the ends of the earth; and He shall give strength unto His king, and shall exalt the horn of His Anointed". 1 Samuel 2:10. Because she loved as God loved, Hannah knew just how God would "judge" in that day.
From Shiloh, Hannah quietly returned to her home at Ramah, leaving her child Samuel to be trained for service in the house of God, under the instruction of the high priest.
From the earliest dawn of intellect, she had taught her son to love and reverence God, and to regard himself as the LORD's. By every familiar object surrounding him she had sought to lead his thoughts up to the Creator. And now that she was separated from her child, the faithful mother's solicitude did not cease. Every day he was the subject of her prayers. Every day she enquired of the LORD was there any more she could do to help. Every year she made, with her own hands, a robe of service for him and when she went up with her husband to worship at Shiloh, she gave Samuel this reminder of her love. Every fibre of the little garment had been woven with a prayer, that he might remain pure, noble, and true. He was reminded of this each day as he wore it.
She did not ask worldly greatness for her son, but earnestly pleaded that he might attain that greatness which heaven values - that he might honour God and bless his fellow men - also how she could personally continue to help in this work. Such a spirit deserves a bonus, and we are told that Eli said to Elkanah, "The LORD give you seed of this woman for the loan which is lent to the LORD ... and the LORD visited Hannah, so that she conceived, and bore three sons and two daughters". 1 Samuel 2:21.
What a reward was Hannah's!
And what an encouragement to faithfulness is her example!
There are opportunities of great value, interests infinitely precious, committed to every mother. The humble round of duties which many women have come to regard as a wearisome task should be looked upon as a grand and noble work. It is the mother's privilege to bless the world by her influence, and in doing this, she will bring joy to her own heart. She may make straight paths for the feet of her children, through both sunshine and shadow, preparing them for the glorious heights above. She may receive a double blessing, by doing this also for her husband, for the old saying, "Behind every great man stands a great woman", is a true principle.
But it is only when she seeks, in her own life, to follow the teachings and manner of Jesus Christ, that the wife and mother can effectively form the character of others after the divine Pattern.
The world teems with corrupting influences. Fashion, custom and peer pressure exert a strong power over the young. If the mother fails in her duty to instruct, guide, and restrain, then her children will naturally accept the evil and turn from the good. Let every mother go often to her Saviour with the prayer of all Christian parents, "Teach us" [i.e. both mother and father], "how shall we order the child, and how [or what] shall we do unto him?" Judges 13:12. Let both heed the instruction which God has given in His word and wisdom will be given her as the first teacher.
The gift of Hannah to her LORD was an agonising one, one which showed the depth of her love for Him and her people. But we will not realise the great depth of it, unless we are aware of the fact that legally she could have changed her mind at any time before fulfilling her vow! She was in a similar situation to her LORD in the garden of Gethsemane when He hesitated, and might have refused to make the sacrifice. Mark 14:35-42. But we are told that He saw ahead to "the travail of His soul" [to the results He knew would follow], and was satisfied. Isaiah 53:11. Thus was she also encouraged.
Our loving God had made a way of escape for just such a situation as Hannah's, where the price might be found to be too great.
He told Moses,
"Speak unto the children of Israel, and say to them, When a man [or a woman] shall make a singular vow [one in which other people were included], the persons [the others involved] shall be for the LORD by your estimation [i.e. valuation]". Leviticus 27:2.
This means that Moses or his representative could determine the value of the part taken by the other person in the vow. The LORD then set out a standard of values by which such folk could be redeemed from the vow. In Samuel's case, he came under the category of the under-fives. The LORD said of them,
"And if it be from a month old even unto five years old, then your estimation shall be of the male five shekels of silver, and for the female your estimation shall be three shekels of silver". Leviticus 27:6.
So Hannah or Elkanah could have paid that small price and quite legally been set free from their decision. But Hannah would not do this! It was her love for her fellow-beings in their need that caused her to first make the offer, and it was this love that made her carry it out.
It was in this atmosphere that Samuel was conceived and grew up - how could he fail to carry on that love himself? If, after such a beginning, all children were taught to look at Samuel's example and regard the humble round of everyday duties as the course marked out for them by the LORD, and as a school in which they were to be trained to render faithful and efficient service, how much more pleasant and honourable would their work appear! This they may be, if both of their parents would follow Hannah's example.
To talk, but not to do, is to fail!
To perform every duty as to the LORD, throws a charm around the humblest employment. It links a worker on earth with the holy beings who do God's will in heaven, thus giving an example of unparalleled Christian love.
Success in this life, success in gaining the future life, depends upon faithful, conscientious attention to the little things, for perfection is seen in the least, no less than in the greatest, of the works of God. The Hand that hung the worlds in space is the same Hand that wrought with delicate skill the lilies of the field.
As God is perfect in His sphere in showing love to His creatures, so we are to be perfect in our sphere in exactly the same way! "Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect". Matthew 5:48. The symmetrical structure of a strong, beautiful character is built up of many individual acts of loving behaviour, and when our work on earth is ended, it will be found that every one of those little thoughts, faithfully and lovingly performed, has exerted an influence for good - an influence that can never perish.
This is Christian perfection.
"Lovest thou Me?", says the LORD, "Then walk as I walk".
If you haven't already done so, you might want to read what the Bible says about "Perfection" now that you have read this. If so, go on to "Perfection, from the Bible" or, you might want to see what John Wesley has to say about it. "Christian Perfection".
To ancient SDA's ............ To "What's New?"