Unfortunately, it is very hard for Christians to fully accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
When I preach that a believer is fully perfect, complete in Christ, lacking nothing, the response is that we need to mature and be transformed more into Christ’s likeness.
This is because of a lack of understanding of what happened on the cross, and also not knowing that the Biblical audience of the 1st Century were transitioning between the Old and New Covenant from AD30 (Cross) till AD70 (removal of the law).
In that 40-year period, the Church was transitioning from the Law unto Grace. They were being refined and becoming mature, being transformed from the Old to the New Covenant, just like the Israelites had spent 40 years in the wilderness from Egypt to Canaan.
They had to become mature in Christ.
Ephesians 4 “13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.”
Immaturity was to be still holding on to the teachings of the Law that were tossing people back and forth, making them not believe in Jesus.
Paul told the Galatians that he was waiting for Christ to be formed in them.
Galatians 4 “19 My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you,”
Why was that ? It was because they were trusting in the Old Covenant !!
Galatians 3 “You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? 3 Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? “
Paul was telling the believers in Rome that they were suffering tribulation so that they were transformed from the Law into the image of Jesus Christ.
Romans 8 “ Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit………18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us……..29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.”
They had to become fully mature by leaving behind the Law to embrace the righteousness of faith in Jesus Christ. Paul was leaving behind the Law and had not yet received the righteousness of faith in Jesus.
Philippians 3 “If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless. 7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith…..12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. 15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. “
They were being transformed from the fading glory and immaturity of the Law into the everlasting glory and maturity of faith in Jesus Christ, receiving the full glory of Jesus.
2 Corinthians 3 “7 Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it was, 8 will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? 9 If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! 10 For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. 11 And if what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts! 12 Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. 13 We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. 14 But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. 15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
This was because the Law still existed in the 1st Century.
This was until the Law passed away in AD70.
Hebrews 8:13 “By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.”
Today we live in the Age of the New Covenant. There is no law today because it was removed.
Today, the believer is fully mature in Christ under Grace.
We were born again, raised with Christ, and seated with Jesus in heaven.
Ephesians 2 “4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,”
As Jesus is sinless, perfect, righteous, seated in heaven, so are we !
1 John 4:17 “In this world we are like Jesus.”
The fullness and perfection of God is in Jesus in His body, and in Christ we have been brought to the same fullness of God.
Colossians 2 “9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and in Christ you have been brought to fullness.”
We are not lacking anything spiritually!
1 Corinthians 1 “4 I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. 5 For in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge— 6 God thus confirming our testimony about Christ among you. 7 Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.”
We have every spiritual blessing and attribute in Jesus already!
Ephesians 1 “3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. “
We are fully satisfied in Jesus because we have everything in Him.
Everyone who believes in Jesus is forgiven ALL sin, is righteous without works, is instantly sanctified without any process, is fully mature without any delay, is fully glorious without any transformation.
It is all because of the CROSS of Jesus Christ.