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Quotes from Cleansed and Abiding


Here are some quotes I recently shared on Twitter, from Cleansed and Abiding: A Proposed View of Christian Perfection by James-Michael Smith. I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a fresh re-interpretation of Wesley’s doctrine of Christian Perfection — and for anyone who wonders about it. This book may be a good starting point for some people in reflecting on this theme.

Obedience Not Optional

For true Christians, obedience to the teachings of Jesus is not optional—it’s mandatory. And whatever we may think it means, let us make no mistake about it: Jesus commanded His followers to be perfect.

One of the Benefits of the New Covenant.

It seems one of the benefits of the New Covenant, one of the things that makes it of such greater value to God’s People than the former Mosaic Covenant, which they broke repeatedly, is this greater emphasis on the inward and empowering presence of the Spirit in the life of the believer.

Sanctification: Never an Incomplete Action.

Theologian John Murray states: “It is a fact too frequently overlooked that in the NT the most characteristic terms that refer to sanctification are used, not of a process, but of a once-for-all definitive act.”[17] In other words, while sanctification is sometimes talked about as an ongoing action, it is never seen as an incomplete action.

Spiritual Wholeness

For now, it’s enough to note that generally, when used of people, ‘perfection’ is denotes a “spiritual wholeness and uprightness, especially as one is in right relationship to God…The root idea connotes fellowship between God and his people and a right relationship with the One who is the model of perfection.”[19] Biblical perfection therefore speaks of a mature, whole, obedient, ongoing relationship with the Lord “rather than the Greek ideal of static and dispassionate knowledge.”[20] Perfection in scripture is that which “fulfills the end for which it was designed.”[21] It...

Wesley's View of Christian Perfection.

Wesley’s view of Biblical Perfection, however, was that it was not only attainable but once attained it was possible to walk in it through the power of the Holy Spirit all the days of one’s life. Wesley’s definition of what he termed “Christian Perfection” consisted of a relationship with God and others that is characterized from moment to moment by divine love. Because of his belief that all sin involved rebellion against the known will of God, Christian Perfection was seen as purity of intention and the dedicating all of one’s life to God.[46]

To Transform the Sinner into a Saint

For Wesley, the notion of ‘positional’ sanctification (where the believer is merely declared Holy in God’s eyes) apart from actual sanctification (where the believer is actually made Holy by God’s grace) was unfathomable; the whole purpose of Jesus’ atonement and God’s initial justification was to transform the sinner into a saint, not in a ‘positional’ sense, but in an actual sense.[54]

I also highly recommend checking out James-Michael Smith’s web site:
Disciple Dojo.

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