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Joined: 2005/1/14
Posts: 2164

 What is Christian Perfection?

I have been thinking about this for a few days now. I think the question is not, "Are we commanded and have the opportunity to be 'perfect'", but what does it mean to be 'perfect?'

Mat 19:21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt [u]be perfect[/u], go [and] sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come [and] follow me.

2Cr 13:11 Finally, brethren, farewell. [u]Be perfect[/u], be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.

Luk 6:40 The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is [u]perfect[/u] shall be as his master.

I am also interested in the history of the 'doctrine of christian perfection." I'm wondering what the different views of it are.

I recently read a sermon by Finny on the subject and one by Wesley.

I look forward to the discussion. Thanks!

Josh Parsley

 2006/1/20 9:00Profile

Joined: 2003/7/31
Posts: 2772
Phoenix, Arizona USA

 Re: What is Christian Perfection?

Great question and I think a search of the forums will show there has been some considerable discussion on this previously.

One thing that may also be helpful is to look a little closer at the two Greek words used in the verses you quoted. From Vines Expository Dictionary...

[b]katartizo[/b] "to render fit, complete" (artios), "is used of mending nets, Matt_4:21; Mark_1:19, and is translated 'restore' in Gal_6:1. It does not necessarily imply, however, that that to which it is applied has been damaged, though it may do so, as in these passages; it signifies, rather, right ordering and arrangement, Heb_11:3, 'framed;" it points out the path of progress, as in Matt_21:16; Luke_6:40; cp. 2_Cor_13:9; Eph_4:12, where corresponding nouns occur. It indicates the close relationship between character and destiny, Rom_9:22, 'fitted.' It expresses the pastor's desire for the flock, in prayer, Heb_13:21, and in exhortation, 1_Cor_1:10, RV, 'perfected' (AV, 'perfectly joined'); 2_Cor_13:11, as well as his conviction of God's purpose for them, 1_Pet_5:10. It is used of the Incarnation of the Word in Heb_10:5, 'prepare,' quoted from Psalm_40:6 (Sept.), where it is apparently intended to describe the unique creative act involved in the Virgin Birth, Luke_1:35. In 1_Thess_3:10 it means to supply what is necessary, as the succeeding words show."[ From Notes on Thessalonians by Hogg and Vine, p. 101. See kataritzo_under_FIT.

[b]teleiosis[/b] denotes "a fulfillment, completion, perfection, and end accomplished as the effect of a process," Heb_7:11; in Luke_1:45, RV, "fulfillment" (AV, "performance").

In Christ,


Ron Halverson

 2006/1/20 9:36Profile

 Re: What is Christian Perfection?

An excellent article to read about Christian Perfection is CHRISTIAN PERFECTION BY ASA MAHAN

Go here to read this

Here is a short quote

"The sinner is not required to "make himself clean," or to "make to himself a new heart," in the exercise of his unaided powers, but by application to the blood of Christ, "which cleanses from all sin." The grace which purifies the heart is provided; the fountain, whose waters cleanse from sin, is set open. To this fountain the sinner is brought, and because he may descend into it, and there "wash his garments and make them white," he can fulfill the command, "Wash you, make you clean," "make to yourself a new heart and a new spirit," and "cleanse yourself from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit." The sinner is able to make to himself a "new heart and a new spirit," because he can instantly avail himself of offered grace. He does literally "make to himself a new heart and a new spirit," ONLY when he yields himself up to the influence of that grace. The power to cleanse from sin lies in the blood and grace of Christ; and hence, when the sinner "purifies himself by obeying the truth through the spirit," the glory of his salvation belongs, not to him, but to Christ."

 2006/1/20 10:04

Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK


Wesley made the point that the word 'perfect' is relative and not an absolute condition. Evangelical or Christian perfection is not to be confused with divine perfect, nor angelic perfection. Perfect is relative in the sense that a new born child may be perfect while still needing daily improvement and growth.

Ron Bailey

 2006/1/20 10:13Profile

Joined: 2005/1/14
Posts: 2164


That is correct, philo.

I think when you start talking about Christian Perfection the first thing you have to do is give a definition of perfect and explain what you mean. That's what I would like this thread to turn into.

Here is a Wesley sermon on [url=]Christian Perfection[/url]

I believe Finney and Wesley both equate the words "Christian Perfection" with the word holiness.

Josh Parsley

 2006/1/20 11:02Profile

 perfection in holiness

Here is a quote from CHRISTIAN PERFECTION

"My design in the present discourse is to answer this one question, What is perfection in holiness? In answering this inquiry, I would remark, that perfection in holiness implies a full and perfect discharge of our entire duty, of all existing obligations in respect to God and all other beings. It is perfect obedience to the moral law. It is "loving the Lord our God with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our strength, and our neighbor as ourselves." It implies the entire absence of all selfishness, and the perpetual presence and all-pervading influence of pure and perfect love. "Love is the fulfilling of the law."

In the Christian, perfection in holiness implies the consecration of his whole being to Christ the subjection of all his powers and susceptibilities to the control of one principle, "faith on the son of God." This is what the moral law demands of him in his circumstances. Were the Christian in that state in which he should "eat and drink, and do all that he does for the glory of God," in which his eye should be perfectly single to this one object; or in which the action of all his powers should be controlled by faith, which works by love, he would then, I suppose, have attained to a state of entire sanctification his character would be "perfect and entire, wanting nothing." Every duty to every being in existence would be discharged."

 2006/1/20 11:24

Joined: 2005/1/14
Posts: 2164

 Re: perfection in holiness

That sounds almost the same as this Finney quote:

It is perfect obedience to the law of God. The law of God requires perfect, disinterested, impartial benevolence, love to God and love to our neighbor. It requires that we should be actuated by the same feeling, and to act on the same principles that God acts upon; to leave self out of the question as uniformly as he does, to be as much separated from selfishness as he is; in a word, to be in our measure as perfect as God is. Christianity requires that we should do neither more nor less than the law of God prescribes. Nothing short of this is Christian perfection. This is being, morally, just as perfect as God. Every thing is here included, to feel as he feels, to love what he loves, and hate what he hates, and for the same reasons that he loves and hates.

God regards every being in the universe according to its real value. He regards his own interests according to their real value in the scale of being, and no more. He exercises the same love towards himself that he requires of us, and for the same reason. He loves himself supremely, both with the love of benevolence and the love of complacency, because he is supremely excellent. And he requires us to love him just so, to love him as perfectly as he loves himself. He loves himself with the love of benevolence, or regards his own interest, and glory, and happiness, as the supreme good, because it is the supreme good. And He requires us to love him in the same way. He loves himself with infinite complacency, because he knows that he is infinitely worthy and excellent, and he requires the same of us. He also loves his neighbor as himself, not in the same degree that he loves himself, but in the same proportion, according to their real value. From the highest angel to the smallest worm, he regards their happiness with perfect love, according to their worth. It is his duty to conform to these principles, as much as it is our duty. He can no more depart from this rule than we can, without committing sin; and for him to do it would be as much worse than for us to do it, as he is greater than we. God is infinitely obligated to do this. His very nature, not depending on his own volition, but uncreated, binds him to this. And he has created us moral beings in his own image, capable of conforming to the same rule with himself. This rule requires us to have the same character with him, to love as impartially, with as perfect love--to seek the good of others with as single an eye as he does. This, and nothing less than this, is Christian Perfection.

Josh Parsley

 2006/1/20 11:29Profile


Im one of the few who believe that christians can live without sin.Its alot easier to live without sin than to live with it.Dying to yourself is easy when you really love the Lord and want to please Him in everything.
If you want to know how to be perfect here is your measuring stick:

"If any man can bridle his tongue the same is a PERFECT man and able to bridle his WHOLE body."-James v.?

If you want to be perfect learn to hold your peace and when tempted...die to it.But if you fail don't give up or get discouraged.Once you learn how to bridle your tongue your on your way to perfection.

 2006/1/20 22:30


I really feel led to add this:

When I finally decided I wanted to put away my carnal ways things didn't get easier they got worse.I had all hell break loose against me.People you love will speak against you not the other way around.I decided that I was going to bridle my tongue and it ripped my heart right out.When you feel like your heart has been through a meat grinder thats some hurt!

I went to a church where the power of God was falling and I knelt down in front of the church totally broken and the pastor who has a gift of discernment said that there was virtue coming out of me and he had everyone lay their hands on me.That was so awesome!I never had anything like that happen to me.Now I welcome the hurt because I know its producing something in me.

I can't explain to you all the hell I went through during those months of holding my peace but it was well worth it!!!

 2006/1/20 23:11

Joined: 2005/11/2
Posts: 3707


Colossians 1:27-28 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this 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:

2Cr 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Eph 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

Col 4:12 Epaphras, who is [one] of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.

Hebrews 13:20 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,
Hbr 13:21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom [be] glory for ever and ever. Amen.

My first choice is to believe what God says about His Son, Jesus Christ, and Him being our only Life.

Rom 5:17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)

Rom 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

There is one central theme in perfection and that is Jesus Christ and His life in us, as a birthed child of the Father, our final conclusion and work as a Christian is that we become completely enveloped in the Father Hood of God. The true Nature of Christ is in the Fathers Seed, and our true nature is in the Seed of Christ that the Father has birthed in every believer, just like the Holy Spirit conceived in Mary the Life of Christ, The Holy Spirit has conceived in each believer the Perfect of the Father. We died with Christ, and were sealed By the Holy Spirit into Christ just as He Sealed Christ in to Mary, and she gave birth to Jesus. So also us, The Holy Spirit by birth has sealed Christ into every believer.

We have been made perfect in Christ and all we need do is renew our minds to this perfection, Christ in us the Hope of Glory,

1 Corinthians 1:29-31 That no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him Glory in the Lord.

Christ is our Glory and He that is Born Again can only Glory in the perfection that Christ in us is becoming as we KNOW these truths in our Mind and KNOW that we have the Mind of Christ and are working out our salvation with fear and trembling unto a perfect man in Christ.

We can do nothing even as Christ; Jhn 5:19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.

Jhn 5:30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.

Jhn 15:5 I am the vine, ye [are] the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. May we seek The will of Christ in us as He did the Father. In every thing we do let us allow Him to come forth as Christ is. Each one different but the same Mind of Christ being changed from Glory to Glory as diverse as the petals of a flower, as dears son's and daughter's of our Father. PERFECTION

In Christ: Phillip


 2006/1/20 23:53Profile

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