The New Humanity is a new and holy creation, the old has gone and the new has come. We are called to be one holy nation in Christ.
If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (1 Corinthians 5:17).
But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy” (1 Peter 1:15).
The well known Bible teacher, R.C.Sproul, (now deceased), frequently opposed what he referred to as the “holiness movement” and “perfectionism”, see for example The Heresy of Perfectionism from R.C. Sproul May 10, 2013
God has only one holy nation comprised of the new humanity. You, (who are in Christ and filled with the Holy Spirit), are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9).
If, you happened to click on the above link to R.C. Sproul, then this teaching is all the more relevant for you. However, this article is not intended to fully contend with R.C.Sproul’s views. R.C.Sproul referred to the apostle Paul where he wrote in the first person and in the present tense in Romans chapter 7 verses 24-25, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.”
Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14).
R.C. Sproul states quite confidently that “Romans 7 is the biblical death blow to every doctrine of perfectionism”.
Well, some teachers are sometimes in error as I would contend in this case concerning R.C.Sproul. A careful reading of Romans chapters 7 and 8 will show that what Paul taught was that in the flesh and by every effort to observe the Old Covenant Law of Moses, every person must conclude that they are slaves to sin. That even to this day, i.e. in the “present tense”, if anyone tries to attain holiness or perfection in the flesh and by the Law, they must confess that they fall short and that in the flesh they would remain slaves to sin. But praise be to the Lord, for through death, he rescues us from our hopeless bondage in the flesh and raises us to new life in the Spirit.
When correctly understood, Romans 7 is certainly not “the biblical death blow to every doctrine of perfectionism”, – and it is worth reminding the reader that one of “the doctrines of perfectionism” came from the very mouth of Jesus. Or did Jesus perhaps call us to something unattainable?
Jesus said, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48) and the context is that we are commanded to love one another thereby attaining Godly perfection. Romans 7 and 8 are not intended to be the death blow to perfectionism, on the contrary, in those chapters Paul teaches the death blow should be applied to the inadequate life in the realm of the flesh, so that we may be raised to a completely new life by the power of the Holy Spirit. But if we suppose, as was taught by R,C.Sproul, that chapter 7 is a death blow to perfectionism, then we may miss the point completely and apply the death blow to the wrong subject and continue to live in the imperfect realm of the flesh.
Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God (Romans 8:5-8).
Rather apply the death blow to the flesh and not to the doctrine of perfectionism.
For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live (Romans 8:13).
So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. For when we were in the realm of the flesh, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death. But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code (Romans 7:4-6).
Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived (Colossians 3:5-7).
We were once a part of the old humanity in the flesh and enslaved to sin – and you still are,…unless, you have died with Christ to the Law and by the very sentence of the Law, and have been raised to new spiritual life by the power of the Holy Spirit with God perfect new covenant law now written upon your heart. If you have been raised to new life by the power of the Holy Spirit, you have become a royal priesthood and a holy nation. You have become a part of the new humanity.We are made holy through the Holy Spirit and we love one another because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us (Romans 5:5).
The holy and righteous disciples of Jesus Christ who are led by the Holy Spirit may stumble on occasions, but: No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him (1 John 3:6).
So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh (Galatians 5:16).