On Christian Perfection
by Daniel Rusk
“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”
There is a common statement spread in the church “nobody is perfect”. It often shows a false form of humility, which is often used to cover the sin of pride. First of all, this saying doesn't hold up well in light of scripture. At the same time, preachers who point this out are often met with so much opposition. The doctrine of Christian perfection is one of the most common sources of 'friendly fire' on the battleground today. It is my hope to lay out just what it means to be perfect, as well as what it does not mean.
The first definition taken from Webster's dictionary is- to be complete or correct in every way, conforming to a standard or ideal with no omissions, errors, flaws or extraneous elements. Let us focus on this definition. The Bible itself let's us know in many places that we are not without flaw, still does this mean we cannot be perfect? If so, why would Jesus command us to do so?
Perhaps, there is another angle to look at this question. Can we be complete? The Bible says you are, according to Colossians 2:10:
“And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:”
Could it be that we are looking in the wrong direction when we speak of perfection? Are we not to let God be magnified? John the Baptist said I must decrease that He can increase. Yes, if it is only to be without flaw, then none of us are able. However, in our striving toward the straight gate do we continue in sin? If not, then have we not been made complete? Are we not through obedience to the Holy Spirit which dwells in us either correct or corrected?
We like to talk of grace and so we should because it is our salvation. Still, Peter said true grace leads to holiness¹. He also called out fruitless works reminding us that we have been purged of our old sins². Question: if God has placed our old sin in a sea of forgetfulness, why do we not do likewise?
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” I John 1:7
To sum this up, it has been shown (as evidenced by the state of the modern church) that this statement, that 'nobody's perfect' produces only excuses for those who remain in darkness. This is one of the largest weapons the enemy is using against Christendom right now. It is not effective to go on and on about man's imperfection, when the question is of God's power and His ability to keep those committed to Him. When we have been found guilty of any trespass it is our duty, as a child of God, to make amends. This is the glory of God; that in spite of ourselves, we can fellowship one with another, by the reconciling power of the blood of Jesus. As we forgive, as we have been forgiven, we show the way, the straight, narrow path, the one that leads to life and that more abundant. Putting the past behind us, we press toward the mark of the high calling of Christ Jesus.
“Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.”- Philippians 3:15
The definition given said, finally, having no extraneous elements. This brings us to the last point: no extras. In other words, everything is useful and accomplishes a purpose. What is the purpose?
We are to glorify God. This is what we strive towards, and to look for anything else is a distraction. Colossians 3 says you are dead and your lives are now hid in Christ. Dead men don't have too many opinions, and dead men don't get offended. If we would be perfected the old man must be dead!
Are you complete? Correct, or willing to be corrected³? Are you forgiving⁴? Are you dead to the world? Alive in Christ?
“...be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”-Romans 12:2b
Job 1:1,8; 9:20 Genesis 6:9: 17:1 I Kings 8:61 II Chronicles 16:19 Psalm 37:37 Proverb 11:5
Isaiah 38:3 Acts 3:16 Romans 12: 1,2 I Corinthians 2:6 II Corinthians 13:11 Philippians chapters 2&3
¹ I Peter 5:12 ²ΙΙ Peter 1:8-10 ³Proverbs 1:23 ⁴Matthew 6:14
“Cleansed and made holy, humble & lowly, right in the sight of God” -Elisha A. Hoffman
I am only a brother...
Can I tell you about my elder brother Jesus?