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It is a very common utterance in the camp of formality that no one may hope to be perfect in this life. But what says the Word ?
1. Perfection is commanded both in the Old and New Testaments.
"And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. "—Gen. 17 1.
"Thou shalt be perfect with the Lord thy God."— Deut. 18 13.
"And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy Father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever. " —1 Chron. 28 9.
"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. "—Matt. 5:48.
"The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master. "—Luke 6:40.
"Having therefore these promises dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."— 2 Cor. 7:1
"For we are glad, when we are weak, and ye are strong: and this also we wish, even your perfection. "
"Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you."—2 Cor. 13:9,11.
"Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on to perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God. "—Heb. 6:1.
2. Perfection is fully provided for.
"It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect. "—Psa. 18:32.
"The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me. " —Psa. 138: 8.
Since it is God himself who proposes to make us perfect, can there be any lack of power to accomplish the work? "As for God his way is perfect."— Psa. 18:30. "And the meek he will teach his way." —Psa. 25: 9. Yea he " shall set us in the way of his steps."—Psa. 85:13. And "give his angels charge over us to keep us in his way."—91:11. Therefore the righteous " do no iniquity: they walk in His ways."—119: 3. "And they shall sing in the ways of the Lord. "—138:5.
What a beautiful wreath of heavenly truth these Scriptures compose: and the same might be much enlarged They show us that God's way is perfect, and he makes known to us his own precious way, and sets our feet in the same, and keeps us therein. Praise his name ! First, then, among the provisions for our perfection may be set down the infinite God Himself. All the power and wisdom of the Omnipotent are pledged to make us perfect, and preserve us blameless. Who then can say we can not be perfect in this life?
But this is not all. Speaking of "his saints,"—are you one of them!—we read, "To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of the mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus"— Col. 1: 27, 28. The revelation of Christ is given to make us perfect.
"Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God."—Col. 4:12
The ministry of Christ are commissioned to make the saints perfect, and complete in all the will of God. "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ."—Eph. 4:11, 12. "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.''—2 Tim. 3 :16, 17. All scripture is given us of God for the purpose of making every real man of God perfect. Are you a man of God? If not, that accounts for the fact you can not believe in and receive this state of Christian perfection.
"For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God. "—Heb. 7:19.
"For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified."—Heb. 10:14.
"Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen."—Heb. 13: 20, 21. Surely we have provisions adequate to make us perfect. All the fulness of the God head. The inspired Word, the living ministry, Jesus Christ himself, his perfect sacrifice, and precious blood, all vouchsafe to us this beautiful grace. And is it still true that no one ever attained perfection? We shall next prove that it has been attained both under the old and present dispensations.
3. Perfection has been attained.
"Nevertheless Asa's heart was perfect with the Lord all his days. "—1 Kings 15: 14.
"For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the be half of them whose heart is perfect toward him."— 2 Chron. 16:9. Would the all wise God be looking about in all the earth to show his power in men whose hearts are perfect, if no such ever lived in the world?
"There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil."—Job 1:1.
"And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job' that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil 7 "—Job 1:8. It appears from what follows the above that Satan was no believer in perfection of holy character. He ascribed Job's righteousness to selfish motives, as a means of earthly prosperity. He suggested that if God would put forth his hand and touch all he had Job would curse him to his face. But God, who knows what is in all men, had confidence in Job's holiness as being pure and unselfish.. So he subjected the man whom he pronounces perfect to all the tests that Satan had asked for. He permitted the devil to take all his property, and with it his children and his health. Though great and unaccountable affliction and mental distress made him wish he never had been born, yet in all this great trial, "Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly."—1: 22. But he came out of the furnace as he went in, accepted of God—42:8, 9. So God's testimony of Job's perfection proved good and Satan's derogation a lie. Thank God for the book of Job ! Among other precious things it clearly shows us that God is on the side of perfection, and Satan and his cursed unbelief stand against it. Reader, this feet will help you to determine whether you are of God or of the devil. God's truth teaches and his saints live out Christian perfection. While Satan, even after proved a liar in Job's ease, and in thousands of others whom he has questioned, is still base. enough to keep up the cry, "none perfect," "none perfect." And it is a lamentable thing that he has in his employ even many professed ministers of the gospel, all well trained in Sinumust College.
Let us now hear the testimony of David: "Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright; for the end of that man is peace."—Psa. 37: 37.
"Who—the wicked—whet their tongues like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words: that they may shoot in secret at the perfect."—Psa. 64: 3, 4.
"Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: he that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me. "—Psa. 101:6.
Why the command to "mark the perfect man," if none be perfect? And how could the wicked shoot at the perfect, if no such characters exist on earth ? Again, how could God's eyes be upon the perfect of the land, if there be no perfect in the land?
Hear now the testimony of Hezekiah: "Remember now, O Lord, I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight."—Isa. 38: 3.
Dear reader, can you look God in the face, and with confidence make such an appeal ? If you have walked before God in truth and with a perfect heart, you can testify to him in the same holy boldness.
The following texts abundantly prove the attainment of Christian perfection under the new covenant.
"Howbeit, we speak wisdom among them that are perfect."—1 Cor. 2: 6. "And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power. " —Col. 2:10. The word pleroo here rendered "complete, " means to be filled up, fully supplied, wanting nothing, etc., and is equivalent to perfection. Paul had the privilege of preaching to perfect men, hence there were such in his day.
"Let us, therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded."—Phil. 3: 15. In verses 11, 12, the apostle, speaking of the "resurrection of the dead," calls it a perfection which he had not yet attained. Many either willfully or ignorantly pervert his words into a denial of perfection in Christian grace, when all can see he speaks of the resurrection of the body, and final rewards. But these are careful to pass by in silence his words in verse 15, where he speaks of perfection already attained.
We have now proved that there is a state of grace called perfection, clearly commanded, fully provided for, and actually attained and witnessed to in this  life. This leads to the inquiry, What is it? Doubtless many disbelieve in perfection because they associate it with something which is not provided for in this life. But while we accept the plain scriptural statements of present perfection in Christ, let us also qualify and apply the term as the scriptures do. We will here confine ourselves to the New Testament. The standard is raised by the Lord in Matt. 5: 48. "Perfect even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." It is evident that the state consists in being like God in some particulars. Let the Word point out what they are.
1. "Pure even as he is pure. "—1 John 3: 3.
2. "Righteous even as he is."—Matt. 6: 33. 2 Cor. 5:21. 1 John 3:7.
3. "Partaking his holiness."—2 Cor. 7: 1. Heb. 12: 10.
4. "Perfect love."—1 John 4:17.
5. "Perfect patience."—Jas. 1:4. Col. 1:11.
6. "Perfect faith."—1 Thess. 3: 10. Heb. 12: 2. Rom. 1:17. 1 Cor. 13:7.
Perfection of Christian character is then a present experience, and is the result of salvation. Hence it is not the result of any extraordinary birthright, nor is it through education, growth or self culture. But "by one offering he—Christ—hath perfected forever them that are sanctified."—Heb. 10:14. It is here declared identical with entire sanctification, and sanctification is salvation. "Because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth."—2 Thess. 2:13. We praise the Lord our God that the perfect Christ has provided us with a perfect salvation which makes us perfect Christians, and preserves us "holy and unblamable and unreprovable in his sight. "