|Hebrews 10:14 |
14 For by one offering he has forever totally cleansed and perfected those who are sanctified and made holy.1
1 He has perfected forever those who are sanctified. So, once a person is sanctified by the grace and power of the Holy Spirit, he is perfected forever. Sanctified means set apart, to be protected from evil. When one is sanctified, he sits down in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, who never fell; because he is then literally "in Christ," he also will never fail. You are sanctified by the truth, (your word is truth), and with the cleansing of the washing of the water of the word: by silently listening, hearing, and obeying the word of the Lord heard. To be sanctified is to be set apart and protected, to be one with He who sanctifies
Before Christ, the perfect law made it possible for a man to become perfect, but not lastingly perfect; they were like Adam, still subject to falling to temptation. David is the primary example. He was made perfect, but then he fell, and fell hard. Suffering the judgment of God, he did not lose faith, but persisted in repentance until he was restored again.
There are two steps in perfection through the grace of Christ: 1st) to be raised up to the perfection of Adam and Eve in paradise, but still capable of falling to temptation, and 2nd) to be raised up to union with Christ Jesus, an everlasting perfection, which is incapable of falling to sin or temptation. Stephen Crisp, another eminent early Quaker, writes further of this two-step perfection:
For you know while the vessel is filled with wrath, envy, or with unrighteousness of any kind, such are not yet fit for the glory of God to shine forth in. When that is removed out by judgment; and Zion is set free from oppression, then the creature returns to God a pure vessel in the righteousness that was before the fall. So a man or woman may come to Adam's state that he was in before he fell, which was without sin. Against such the judgment of God does not go forth, but they have peace with God, and fellowship in what is pure, before sin and transgression were. Those who come to this state, may be entangled again; as was Eve, and if they do not watch, they may be entangled again; but if such are faithful to the power that redeemed them from the sin, and in the power resist the temptation, then such receive the seal of eternal life in Christ Jesus, who never fell, though he was tempted, and so come to an establishment in Him who never changes.
Christ's perfection of an obedient, faithful believer is permanent, forever. Even more important, whereas the Law brought small numbers of the faithful to temporary perfection, because to receive God's favor one had to walk very closely to the whole law; Christ made it possible for tens of thousands to become perfect. By grace we can be purified and perfected by God's power. We read the many references to perfection in the early Church of the Apostles, and we can read about the thousands of early Quakers who also received perfection through repentance on the inward cross of self-denial. Use your common sense and realize that when Christ told us to be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect, he would provide a way — which he did — the cross.
If you are asking yourself, why must I be perfect? Because to enter heaven, to be in the company of Christ, the Father, the holy angels, and with the saints who have been made perfect, you must be perfect too. For what fellowship does righteousness have with unrighteousness? And what communion does light have with darkness ? 2 Cor 6:14. If a sinner did not first have the sins slowly purged out of his heart, while learning to hate all evil, even if that sinner were translated into heaven, he would not be happy because he could not pursue all his old addictions. If you die still sinning, you would be absolutely miserable in heaven; all your pleasures and desires, having not been crucified while on earth, are not available in heaven, and you would be miserable without them. You would be yearning for the old wine, which you think is better than the new wine because you have not been prepared, crucified, purified, (the new wineskin), and freed from lusts, anger, sexual desires, resentment, envy, greed, lying, jealousy, foolishness, revelry, drunkenness, pleasures, etc. Even your thoughts would be heard by everyone around you; you would be terrified and wanting to run to darkness (Hell) where you hope your thoughts would not be heard by everyone. A man must crucify his lusts and affections on the inward cross of self-denial before he can enjoy fellowship in the heavens. Jesus told us the same in the parable: No one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires the new wine, for he will say, 'The old wine is better.' Luke 5:39. A man must crucify his lusts and affections on the inward cross of self-denial before he can enjoy fellowship in the heavens.
And remember what excludes us from heaven:
The acts of the sinful nature include adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like, etc.
...those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Gal 5:19-21. They are banned from heaven.
No sexually immoral, or impure, or covetous person, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with vain words. For because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Eph 5:5-6. They are banned from heaven.
Jesus said, For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man. Mark 7:21-23.
So if you want to be pleasing to God, if you want to be rid of you anger and lust, if you want to have fellowship with Christ and the Father beginning while still on earth, if you want to bring glory to the Father, if you want to secure the single purpose of this life; having these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God, 2 Cor 7:1.
George Fox writes of when you are redeemed, sanctified, and justified, in his writing The Great Mystery of the Great Whore Unfolded:
"a believer that is justified is a new creature, is past from the death which came by sin, and comes to enter into His rest, where there is no sin. He who is the sanctification, is the justification, and so by their sanctification are they justified; it is one and the same, what sanctifies, justifies....Men are justified by the believing, and in the faith and by the faith, and in believing they overcome, and have victory; and there are mortification, and sanctification, and redemption, and justification, all possessed together in the one, which is Christ, and this to the particular satisfaction."
Clearly in the above, Fox is referring to the second stage of perfection.