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 Christian Perfection (In Greek)

[b]BIBLICAL PERFECTION[/b]

Using the greek to study perfection has cleared up a lot of the theological fog many theologians have put on perfection.

In Matthew 5:48 Jesus commanded that we be “telios” or “perfect” just as God is “telios” or perfect. The word “telios” means a current state of moral maturity, moral perfection, or moral completeness lacking nothing.

The word for “becoming perfect” is different. “Teleioo” is the greek word used referencing being “made perfect”, as in John 17:23. But “telios” is used in the present tense of being, hense the “be” perfect as the Father “is” perfect. God Himself is not being made perfect, or becoming perfect, or trying to be perfect, but is morally mature, morally perfect, morally complete as “telios” means.

Jesus said that the rich young ruler would be perfection “teleios” or morally complete, if he gave up worldliness and followed Jesus, Matthew 19:21. In Romans 12:12 the bible says that the will of God is “telios”. God’s will is not becoming perfect “teleioo” but actually is already morally perfect or complete “telios”. And Paul said that there were Brethren he knew and spoke with who were currently “teleios”, morally perfect, morally mature, or morally complete 1Corinthians 2:6.

[b]Now here is the exciting part![/b]

Often certain Christians will try to wiggle their way out of keeping Jesus’ command to be morally perfect by pointing to the Apostle Paul. They claim, “We are all sinners. Nobodies perfect. Even the Apostle Paul said he had not arrived unto perfection yet” referencing Paul’s words in Philippians 3:12.

But the perfect in verse 12 is “teleioo”, which also means to “finish” or “fulfill”. In the context of the surrounding passages, Paul was saying that he had not yet “finished” his race as to receive His glorified body. It it the same exact word, “teleioo” that Jesus used when He said he had “finished” the purposes God sent Him to fullfill, John 17:4. So when Paul said, “not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect” Paul was saying that he had not yet attained a glorified body nor finished the work God had for him. And so he presses on to the finish line for the prize of a glorified body, verse 14.

But just 3 verses down from the verse sinners, hypocrites, and backsliders will use to justify their sin, in verse 15, Paul said this statement, “Let us therefore, as many as be perfect”. But this perfection Paul is claiming is not the perfection he previously denied. It was not “teleioo”, finishing his course as to receive a glorified body, but it was “teleios” which is the moral perfection, moral maturity, moral completeness Jesus commanded that we have just as God has! So Paul was clearly denied attaining to a physical perfection, but confidently and humbly spoke of a moral perfection!

 2007/3/22 21:52
KingJimmy
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Joined: 2003/5/8
Posts: 4419
Charlotte, NC

 Re: Christian Perfection (In Greek)

Indeed, and we all have been made complete in Him (Col 2:10).

It is especially important to grasp this. For as you point out rightly in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said for us to "be" perfect. And in the same context Jesus said "unless your righteousness surpass that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven." Such would have been a blistering hot statement to the Jews of His day. For there was nobody who strived harder to keep God's law than the Pharisees. There was nobody more meticulous in their study and application of God's law. Yet Jesus said unless your righteousness surpassed theirs, and unless you were perfect, you would not enter the kingdom of God.

Where the scribes and Pharisees got it wrong is that they were striving for a perfection they could not obtain in themselves. Such a perfection and righteousness could not come the way they were seeking it. Indeed, to continue to search after righteousness in such a manner would cause one to never actually find it. Rather, such a perfection and righteousness could only come on the basis of faith. It can be received and attained by no other way. And the source of that righteousness and perfection is none other than Jesus Christ Himself.

*edit*
It must also be noted that perfection is ours by faith. A babe in Christ is indeed perfect in Christ. We as Christians are called to simply walk in the perfection we have in Christ. Thus, when you are struggling with some sort of sin as a Christian, you need to realize Christ has already made you free, and you need now only to walk in the freedom Christ has brought to you.


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Jimmy H

 2007/3/22 22:23Profile









 Re:

I'll look up the word "complete" in the Greek later tonight to see if it's the same word Jesus used for moral perfection.

True perfection is of the heart. The pharisees were only outwardly righteous, but inwardly they were full of iniquity. They only apparently obeyed the law, but never did it with their heart.

But a true Christian is one who obeys God from the heart:

[u]Heb 5:9[/u] - And being made perfect, he became the author of [b]eternal salvation[/b] unto all them that [b]obey[/b] him

[u]Ro 6:17[/u] - But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have [b]obeyed from the heart[/b] that form of doctrine which was delivered you.

[u]Col 3:22[/u] - Obey...not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of [b]heart[/b], fearing God:

True holiness or perfection is not outward actions, but a state of the will or an attitude of the heart.

That is what seperates a Pharisee from a true believer. The true believer obeys God because He loves God in his heart (John 14:15) but a Pharisee outwardly obeys because he loves the praises of men and wants to be seen. (Matt 23:5)

The one who outwardly obeys does not obey at all. But the one who inwardly obeys is the one who truly obeys.

 2007/3/22 22:31
myfirstLove
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Joined: 2005/11/26
Posts: 496


 Re: Christian Perfection (In Greek)

Quote:
But the perfect in verse 12 is “teleioo”, which also means to “finish” or “fulfill”. In the context of the surrounding passages, Paul was saying that he had not yet “finished” his race as to receive His glorified body. It it the same exact word, “teleioo” that Jesus used when He said he had “finished” the purposes God sent Him to fullfill, John 17:4. So when Paul said, “not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect” Paul was saying that he had not yet attained a glorified body nor finished the work God had for him. And so he presses on to the finish line for the prize of a glorified body, verse 14.



great job explaining these verses.

Could you explain further about what you believe it is to be morally perfect?


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Lisa

 2007/3/22 23:03Profile
philologos
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Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
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 Re: Christian Perfection (In Greek)

Quote:
In Matthew 5:48 Jesus commanded that we be “telios” or “perfect” just as God is “telios” or perfect. The word “telios” means a current state of moral maturity, moral perfection, or moral completeness lacking nothing.

The word for “becoming perfect” is different. “Teleioo” is the greek word used referencing being “made perfect”, as in John 17:23. But “telios” is used in the present tense of being, hense the “be” perfect as the Father “is” perfect. God Himself is not being made perfect, or becoming perfect, or trying to be perfect, but is morally mature, morally perfect, morally complete as “telios” means.


This is just the difference between the noun and the verb. 'teleioO does not mean 'becoming perfect' in itself; that sense would have to come from the use of the Greek 'passive' voice which is what we have in John 17:23. 'teleioO' can be 'active' or 'passive' in form and this is plainly indicated in the Greek by its use of passive or active voice.

The tenses in the prayer at this point are interesting. Literally he prays "that they may be (present tense)having become perfect (perfect participle in the passive voice) into one. This is the way the ASV translates the verseI in them, and thou in me, that they may be perfected into one; that the world may know that thou didst send me, and lovedst them, even as thou lovedst me. which captures the sense well.

edit: teleios really means "having reached its end, finished, complete." Hence our word teleological which refers to things with a goal or purpose. The associated verb has the sense of moving something towards its target or destination. The sense of progress or arrival would be given by the form of the Greek verb itself, as is whether or not a person is actively 'perfecting' or passively 'being perfected'.

The sense of fulfilling a plan or purpose is often in the word which is why some modern translations use the word 'mature' as of its meanings.

See [url=http://www.blueletterbible.org/cgi-bin/words.pl?book=Jhn&chapter=17&verse=23&strongs=5048&page=]teleioO - to perfect (the verb)[/url] used 24 times in the NT.
See [url=http://www.blueletterbible.org/cgi-bin/words.pl?book=Jhn&chapter=17&verse=23&strongs=5046&page=1]teleios - the end (the noun)[/url] used 19 times in the NT.

... and check out the way in which the words are used in the NT.


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Ron Bailey

 2007/3/23 4:08Profile
rowdy2
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Joined: 2007/1/21
Posts: 528
Southern USA

 Re: Christian Perfection

KJV
For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.


KJV
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times
some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing
spirits, and doctrines of devils

Speaking lies in hypocrisy having their conscience seared
with a hot iron

Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats,
which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of
them which believe and know the truth.

For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused,
if it be received with thanksgiving

For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou
shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the
words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast
attained.

But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself
rather unto godliness.

For bodily exercise profiteth little but godliness is
profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that
now is, and of that which is to come.

This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation.

For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we
trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men,
specially of those that believe.

These things command and teach.

Let no man despise thy youth but be thou an example of the
believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in
faith, in purity.

Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to
doctrine.

Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by
prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.

Meditate upon these things give thyself wholly to them that
thy profiting may appear to all.

Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine continue in
them for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them
that hear thee.


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Eddie

 2007/3/23 11:13Profile
JaySaved
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Joined: 2005/7/11
Posts: 1131
Kentucky

 Re:

These are an honest questions, I am not trying to be difficult but I want to know if anyone on this site has reached this 'moral perfection'? Also, once you attain it is it possible to lose it? Does anyone know anyone who has attained this 'moral perfection'?



 2007/3/23 11:52Profile
philologos
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Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re:

Quote:
moral perfection


What is 'moral perfection'?

I think I can speak with confidence in saying that no one on this site has 'reached this moral perfection'; that would make it an achievement.

But if you ask is it possible to be 'perfect before God', as Abraham was commanded, I would say 'yes'.

This will probably bring a storm of postings on my head but if you want a straight answer to the question 'do you believe you have known Christian perfection?' I would answer "Yes... ...[i]frequently[/i]" ;-)


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Ron Bailey

 2007/3/23 12:49Profile
myfirstLove
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Joined: 2005/11/26
Posts: 496


 Re:

Quote:
I think I can speak with confidence in saying that no one on this site has 'reached this moral perfection'; that would make it an achievement.



Amen. It is our aim, heading towards it.


Ron, would you say christian perfection is being clean of known sins, not having habitual sin, being obediant to the light (knowledge) given you?


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Lisa

 2007/3/23 13:16Profile
rowdy2
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Joined: 2007/1/21
Posts: 528
Southern USA

 Re: moral Perfection?

Reply to Ron

Amen again and thank you.


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Eddie

 2007/3/23 13:22Profile





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