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Bible Study Twelve: Can We Live a Christlike Life?

Before we look at the “how-to” of being like Jesus, we want to make sure that the Bible teaches that we can follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Jesus said, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:48. We know that we will never be God and have absolute perfection, whereby we could never be more loving, meek, or longsuffering. We know that we will always be able to grow up to be like Christ throughout eternity. But can we now, in this present world, be perfect in our sphere, as God is perfect in His sphere?

If the answer is “yes,” then we have some hard questions to answer from millions of skeptics, such as:

  • Do you believe that Jesus is teaching that men can in this life be perfect?

  • Do you really believe that the Bible teaches us to live a perfect life?

  • Who, other than Christ, has reached perfection?

  • Can you name me one person who is living a sinless life today?

  • Do you believe that you are living without sin? Are all your thoughts, words, and deeds pure?

These are some tough questions. But unfortunately, some people seem to find comfort that people will never stop sinning. But what does the Bible teach? What are some of the questions we may be able to answer from the Bible that will help us with this subject? I am going to suggest three questions that I think are the real questions we should be asking:

Has God, in His plan of redemption, made provision for us to overcome our sins?

If such a provision has been made, is it available to us now?

How has God made this provision available to us?

Let us consider these question in the order given.

1. Has God made provision for us to overcome sin? Matthew 1:21

“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.”

Notice that Jesus does not save people in their sins but “from their sins.” This is why Jesus came. He died for us to pay the penalty for transgressing His law. But He also became our example in how man may keep God’s law by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Paul said, “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:” Ephesians 1:4

God never intended for us to sin. But He found a way to rescue us from sin. We were created to live holy and blameless lives. This is God’s will for us.

Paul said, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” Ephesians 5:25-27

If we receive the love of God for one another and allow God to wash us by the cleansing power of His Word, then He is able to present us as “a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”

It would seem evident from these texts and many more that God has made provision for His people to be holy and without blame.

2. Is this provision to live a blameless life available to us now? Titus 2:11-14

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Titus 2:11-14

According to these verses, we are to live righteously and godly in the present fallen world. We need to be taught of the Holy Spirit. We need to engage in this battle against our sinful nature as we deny “ungodliness and worldly lusts.” We are to live in the anticipation of the coming of the Lord, as we continue to contemplate how He gave Himself for us. And the purpose for His great sacrifice was to “redeem us from all iniquity.”

Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, “was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied.” Luke 1:67. He prayed “that He would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him, all the days of our life.” Certainly a man “filled with the Holy Ghost,” believed in the words of his prayer that we might serve God “in holiness and righteousness. . . all the days of our life.”

One day the disciples came to Jesus and ask Him, “Lord teach us to pray.” Luke 11:1. Jesus taught to pray, saying, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10

How is God’s will performed in heaven? The angels perform God’s will with sinless obedience. Therefore, in our prayer life, we should pray that we may perform God’s perfect will here on earth through His grace.

Paul wrote, “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23, 24

In these verses, Paul is writing about being “preserved blameless” in this present world as we await “the coming of the Lord.” And he adds this very key thought, namely, “Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it.” God calls us to be holy, and He is faithful to empower us to be holy.

Paul wrote, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

As Paul is writing this he says, “I am [presently] crucified with Christ,” “Christ [presently] liveth in me,” and “I live [presently] by the faith of the Son of God.” As Paul was writing to the Galatians, he could say that he was presently living according to God’s perfect will. He was able to do so because Christ was living inside of him. The Holy Spirit was continuously in the process of transforming Paul into the image of Jesus Christ. Paul was no longer living the old life; for the old man had been crucified. He was now living the new life in Christ.

What does it mean to be crucified in Christ? Paul wrote, “For he that is dead is freed from sin.” Romans 6:7. To be dead is to be crucified. Therefore, to be crucified with Christ, or to be dead, means to be free from sin. Paul was testifying that he was free. He was able to overcome sin through Christ because he had given up the old way of living in sin.

3. How is this provision for holiness made available to us? John 17:17-19

“Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.” John 17:17-19

Jesus made it very clear that we can be sanctified by the truths of His Word. The word “sanctify” means to make holy. Our lives are enriched by God’s Word by every promise we have written upon our hearts. As Paul wrote, “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” 2 Corinthians 7:1

Through the promises of God, we become partakers of Christ’s sinless character. As Peter wrote, “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” 2 Peter 1:3, 4

Notice that it is all done by His divine power. It is always based upon His promises. And we have the glorious opportunity to be partakers of His perfect character.

In closing, none of us have arrived to perfection, but we are being made perfect in Christ. We can by the grace of God live up to all the light we have, while we receive new light from God’s Word every day. In this way, we are progressively becoming like Jesus every day.