Text: Jouni Lesonen
Translation: Sirkka-Liisa Leinonen
We are told there is a lot of perfection around us. Advertisements encourage us to strive toward perfection. Media give instruct us on how to succeed perfectly well in various actions: ”This is the way to cook a perfect meal, set your table perfectly, fold your clean laundry, wash and polish your car, decorate your living-room, do your gardening, make coffee, and so on.” We can be perfect in many activities.
Sports commentators also often speak about a ”nearly perfect performance”. Nearly perfect. So there was still something missing.
When did you manage to do something perfectly well? Have you tried to follow the instructions in order to succeed perfectly well in something? If you have, were you disappointed? Was there still something missing?
Some of these instructions are funny and may even make us laugh. Some are irritating. Many of the instructions for doing something perfectly well begin with a warning or a questions: “Hopefully you never did it like this?” or “Have you always done it like this? You shouldn’t.” When you read something like this, you are told that, for as long as thirty years – or even longer – you have made your coffee in a wrong way, wiped the table in a wrong way, not been able to make porridge or soup properly, not even boil water, or open and shut the door. You should even have cleared your driveway of snow better. You feel that you have done more or less all things inadequately. If you believe all those instructions, you will have lost all skills that you thought you had learnt over the decades. Annoying!
There are also instructions for how to reach perfect interpersonal relationships. I am sure we could do better in our relationships, but the instructions we receive in the media hardly help us.
The Bible is an interesting book. It has stories of perfection, of efforts to reach perfection, and of people who feel themselves so successful as to be perfect. Job in the Old Testament times believed himself to be perfect in words. ”Be assured that my words are not false; one who has perfect knowledge is with you.” (Job 36:4). James in the New Testament, however, writes: ”We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.” (Jam. 3:2). Which of them was right?
After a varied life course, Job found himself discussing with God: “Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? Let him who accuses God answer him!” Then Job said to the Lord: “I am unworthy—how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth.” (Job 40:2–4.) And he continues: ”Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:6).
Jesus often encouraged his disciples to aspire toward perfection: ”Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matt. 5:48). ”If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor.” (Matt. 19:21) ”Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” (John 16:24).
Should we aspire toward perfection? Can we reach perfection, and if we can, in what things? Can there ever be perfection? Many portions of the Bible encourage us to strive toward perfection, but we know we can never reach it.
At the end of His creation, ”God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” (Gen. 1:31). God’s creation was good, but God does not say that ”everything was perfect”. In creating man, God created something perfect, because He created man in His own image. But humanity was corrupted by sin.
We also have amidst us perfection that has been created by God, but which we cannot see with our natural eyes. The psalm writer expresses is like this: ”From Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth.” (Ps. 50:2).
According to God’s promise, permanent, unperishable perfection awaits us in heaven.
Opistovuosi-koulutuksen valtakunnallisten opetussuunnitelman perusteiden mukaan oppivelvollisille tarkoitetun kansanopistokoulutuksen tavoitteena on edistää opiskelijan omaehtoista oppimista, auttaa häntä löytämään oma opiskelutyylinsä ja antaa valmiudet opintojen jatkamiseen perusopetuksen jälkeisessä koulutuksessa.
Mihin syntien anteeksiantamus perustuu Raamatun mukaan? Kirjoittaja käy läpi Uuden testamentin anteeksiantamusta käsittelevät kohdat, joiden kautta avautuu monipuolinen ja selkeä kuva aiheesta.