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Jul 23, 2020

Does God Expect You to Be Perfect?

When faced with debates about marriage, abortion, and other issues in today’s cultural wars, we often expect to offer the perfect representation of Church teaching.

Do you find that you often don’t know what to say in those debates? Perhaps you are relying too much on your natural ability and not enough on divine grace.

Jesus says “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48), but these words cannot be fully understood without his words in Matthew 19:26, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

As disciples of Christ, we ought to see the world through the lens of grace, infused with divine life.

A common argument for Christian morality comes from natural law, but we really need to go deeper into supernatural morality to truly understand what Christ is offering us. Afterall, Leviticus 19 says love your neighbor. What is Christ’s new law really about? He asks things that are impossible without the gift of the Holy Spirit. We are not just deists and we do not just believe in natural morality. Christians take it to the next level and rely on supernatural grace.

St. Augustine said the law was given so that grace may be sought after, and grace was given so the law may be fulfilled. 

We all need Jesus and can’t just rely on our own understanding. The Christian life is lived out by supernatural grace. Without that grace we only have an understanding of the natural order. Christ reveals to us that the natural order is the embodiment of divine wisdom, leading St. Paul to say:

“you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies” (1 Corinthians 6:20).

Putting sexuality into this framework gives a stronger anchor when representing the Church’s teaching. 

In our brokenness we do not fully understand God’s plan, and we need to be honest about that. The saints knew that it was not simply confessing their brokenness, and not simply accepting divine grace that made them holy. It was realizing their brokenness and accepting God’s grace together that made them holy.

Let us rejoice in the full reality of nature and grace. Be honest when you share the gospel. Draw from the deep intellectual tradition of the Church and don’t rely solely on your own understanding.
If you liked this video, you will also enjoy Dr. Swafford’s study, Hebrews: the New and Eternal Covenant. How God completes us with his divine grace through the New Covenant is what the book of Hebrews is all about.

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