Perfecting Holiness

2 Corinthians 7:1 (NKJV)
… let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

As I read this verse of scripture, I began to ponder the difference in “Pursuing” and “Perfecting”.

I Timothy 6:11 tells us to “pursue Righteousness and Godliness

2 Cor. 7:1 says to “perfect Holiness”

If we try to stick to these words as I understand them, we pursue something we need and want but we perfect that which we already have.

It is probably only a matter of semantics. Or, something in the translation.

I have always held to the idea that we receive Holiness as part of our salvation and the word “perfect” would agree with that.

How do we perfect Holiness?

The beginning words of that statement tell us. “…cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit”. That’s scripture talk for, “get the sin out of your life”. That’s a tall order but, we are not alone. Obedience is our response to the Holy Spirit when He “blows the whistle” on us when we stray from His will. That’s His job. Our job is to hear Him with a willingness to correct those things that He calls sin.

For Righteousness, we also receive the righteousness of Jesus as God lets His righteousness count as our righteousness (I Cor. 1:30). To me, my righteousness needs to be perfected just as Holiness needs to be perfected.

“Godliness” however is different from righteousness in that (with the Sanctifying process), we are made more and more “Godly” as we grow in our Christ-likeness. It is a “more and more” growing process. We will never achieve perfect Godliness.

So, just what is Godliness? My definition of Godliness is “becoming more and more like God”. Our pattern of perfect Godliness is the image of Jesus Christ. We look at Jesus and let the Holy Spirit teach us how to be like Jesus because He said, “To see me is to see the Father” (John 14:9).

Sometimes we can get hung up on wording and let it confuse us. I believe that what we read in God’s word must be consistent with itself. Therefore when I read something that seems inconsistent, I can usually clear it up by reading similar passages. (A good commentary helps).

The real message in all of this is to continuously seek to learn and understand, (and apply) the word of God and not let “semantics” be a stumbling block.

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