After God had lovingly created the world, He observed with piercing, flaming eyes that all He had made was “very good.” Man himself shared in the glory of God’s own approval of His workmanship. Before long, man tragically lost his claim to perfection to the corrupting power of sin.
This loss is most lamentable and appalling. However, it appears that men, especially those involved in exercises of something commonly known as Christian religion, have become quite comfortable with the shamefully acrid stigma of imperfection. More than being comfortable with it, these men have heartily embraced it, and vehemently oppose the concept of their perfection. This is so much the case that it appears they are desperately unwilling to exchange their wretched imperfection for the perfectness that Adam enjoyed before being driven from Eden. In spite of men’s efforts to deny the possibility of perfection in this life, the scriptures uphold this proposition as not only possible, but vital.
It is very true that it is utterly impossible for any to be perfect in and of themselves. Nonetheless, the truth of God’s own perfection remains sure. Furthermore, it is the sublime miracle of the gospel and blood of Jesus Christ that these are able to translate man from the wretched moral handicap of the human condition into the perfect righteousness of God. God’s nature is perfect. Through salvation we are made partakers of this divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4). This is the only means of our perfection. Thus we are made “partakers” of His perfection, as we are of His holiness (Heb. 12:10). This perfection is the result of being “in Christ,” and Christ dwelling in us.
The Bible gives an unmistakable and earnest call for the perfection of the saints. In fact, the scriptures actually demand perfection. Jesus said, “Be ye therefore perfect” (Matt. 5:48). Here perfection is enjoined. Moreover, we are given a standard in the same verse, by which to measure our perfection, namely “even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” What a high calling! Oh, the wonders of the redemption that can so transform a crippled, deformed and corrupted being so as to present him “perfect in Christ Jesus” and “perfect and complete in all the will of God” (Col. 1:28; 4:12). This is to say that we are cleansed from all sin and endued with power that enables us to successfully choose never again to sin. This is Bible perfection. This perfection means that we are enabled by God’s grace to commit ourselves to God in utter consecration, thus aligning our very heart and will with “that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2).
This is not to say that we can attain to the absolute degree of the perfection of God. Our humanity renders us vulnerable to mistakes and unintentional errors. Elder D.S. Warner writes,
It is clearly seen that perfection, as applied to redeemed souls, denotes the complete moral restoration from the effects of the fall. Not physical or mental restoration, for that will not be until the resurrection…Christian perfection is, therefore, in kind and not in degree. In other words, it is the perfection of our moral nature, and not the development or full growth of our powers. (Bible Proofs of the Second Work of Grace, p.16).
It is almost beyond comprehension that the most worthy aspiration of mankind is being spurned by so-called Christians. To think that one can be completely free from the moral blight of sin and depravity is glorious.
This is the perfection that the prophets saw only as visions of the future. “For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did” (Heb. 7:19). “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh” (Rom. 8:3). Blessed condemnation of imperfection! Imperfection and depravity received their death sentence in those beautiful words, “It is FINISHED”! “For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified” (Heb. 10:14).
In closing, we quote Jude, who, moved by the Holy Ghost, wrote words that should evoke the most earnest desires from every honest heart. “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen” (Jude 24-25). This is Christian perfection as taught by the scriptures. The only valid salvation experience is one that embodies the truth of these verses in practical living.
Man is no longer arbitrarily consigned to continuous moral failure. It is possible and necessary to be perfect like the Master (Luke 6:40), who “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15).
Dear reader, above all else in life, be perfect! (2 Cor. 13:11).