“PERFECT” has a huge component of completeness to it, and it would do us all well to understand that the perfection of God’s word, message, and plans, is therefore complete. It doesn’t require, need or want our additions, subtractions, or deletions. In fact, it has been to the detriment and even destruction of the people of God, whenever someone ventures to modify, modulate or manhandle that which God has spoken.
Up through the end of the book of Revelation there remain warnings regarding additions and deletions to the word of God:
18 For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book;
19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
Hey wait a minute: The God of love warning New Testament saints about Him sending plagues? That’s an admonition to the saints? Whoa. Powerful words of warning. Yep. Don’t add, don’t delete. I didn’t write it.
Arguably, one might want to limit that stern warning, ascribing it exclusively to the book of Revelation itself, and perhaps also regarding the “sin of deletion or addition” as being limited to physically cutting and pasting away at some “new printed version”. But why?
In consideration of the following verses, it would seem safe to interpret such warnings as pertaining to the entire word of God. Our great God has always been proactively jealous over His word:
6 Do not add to His words,
Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.
“ Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it…”
My personal takeaway from these verses is that the call of God to the saints was, is, and always will be to proclaim the entire gospel, the whole message (whole enchilada, if you will) – because ALL that God has told us is for ALL men, ALL the time.
Paul surely understood that charge (and this is the man who said “imitate me as I imitate Christ” – 1 Cor 1:11).
Before we read Acts 20:26-27, we would do well to see what those verses did NOT pertain to – the sins he committed prior to his Damascus road encounter with Jesus – before which he (the apostle Paul) had been, at very least, an active accomplice to the murder of saints:
10 This I also did in Jerusalem, and many of the saints I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them.
11 And I punished them often in every synagogue and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly enraged against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities.
With that horrific past, it is glorious and notable how Paul fully accepted the absolute and unquestionable full-forgiveness afforded him by the redemptive work of the cross.
Meanwhile, and for our purposes, SUBSEQUENT TO his salvation experience and moving forward into his call to function as a believer, he understood that there remained for him (and by implication, for all of us) an ongoing accountability to be preaching the entire gospel of our God:
26 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men.
27 For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.
He was not speaking about the blood of the saints martyred in part by his arrest-crusade, conducted prior to his conversion. He was talking about his innocence in fulfilling the ministry call to preach it all, to all. Paul was saying that his freedom from accountability to God was a result of him not failing to declare the whole counsel of God.
There you go. The whole enchilada. Nothing held back.
And what was the message of Paul’s day? What was the effectual message preached that ignited the Book of Acts church and launched the gospel into the world, with signs and wonders following? (And isn’t that what we are longing for in our time?). It was a gospel of repentance, promise, hope, and sober warning (note verse 23):
19 Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,
20 and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before,
21 whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.
22 For Moses truly said to the fathers, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you. 23 And it shall be that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people. ’
I personally bristle at the old Christian-hippie slogan:
“Give Jesus a chance”.
Are you kidding me? God is offering mankind a way to escape destruction, and saints have the sickly sweet audacity to turn it into: “Give Jesus a chance”?
Peter quoted Moses, in telling the people that any who would not receive the Christ would be in jeopardy of destruction.
Stephen (the first martyr), quoted the very same verse from Deuteronomy in his very last message:
37 “ This is that Moses who said to the children of Israel, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear. ’
Paul said it this way:
28 Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.
29 To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.
Of course it is a message that must be spoken in love, otherwise it is simply harsh, and religious. Nevertheless it remains the message that must be spoken to all men. It is the full message that activates the power, conviction and hope of the Holy Spirit. It is the charge to, and the accountability of, all men.
The world needs to hear it, and our proclamation of the full truth frees us from the liability of omission. Warn every man.
John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world…..” we can all finish up that love-proclamation verse. But what does John 3:17-18 tell us?
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
18 “ He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
The love of God offers man a way out of the condemnation that is already in place, and the judgment already upcoming. Jesus didn’t bring condemnation because condemnation was already here, due to disobedience and sin.
It is our love for man, our healthy fear of the Lord, and our willingness to tremble at the Word of God, that would cause us to never omit, delete, soften, toughen, or in any way try to customize, modulate or mishandle the full message of our great God.
7 The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
8 The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;
9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
Yea, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
11 Moreover by them Your servant is warned,
And in keeping them there is great reward.
All scriptures NKJV.