What Is "christian Perfection?"

Discussion in 'Bible Study' started by Xian Pugilist, Aug 25, 2012.

  1. Below are the relevant verses in the NT on the topic of Perfection. Everyone has their thoughts on the topic, and most people knee jerk saying nobody is perfect but Jesus. To that I can only say.....:confused:.

    That doesn't begin to reconcile the verses below, therefore that isn't an acceptable answer. Specifically since Paul and James both said to be perfect was a goal on earth. So, I think it's more important to find out what it means, than avoid the big bad scariness of the onus of expecting to be perfect. Agreed?

    I will make comments below for you to consider, and a summary of what I think it is after the verses. I'd enjoy the various comments, thoughts and what not, but I have a rule.... as if I could enforce it.... You will not agree with all I say. I won't agree with all you say. We know that going in. So it's ok to call me an idiot for the mistakes I made in exegesis, as long as you can SHOW the mistakes I made, and it's not actually YOU who are being the idiot!:) That's pretty fair, right? In other words, I don't care about being picked at, but back it up with reasoning, don't just self proclaim you are GOD of all Biblical interpretation and make statements we are supposed to accept carte blanche.

    I expect to be challenged, but I expect it to be done with argument, not solely denigration.


    Mat 5:48 Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
    The context of this comment, was Christ describing how we are to love, to meet the command Love neighbor. Read the previous 12ish vss. God loves even His enemies and provides necessities for them, and he says we are to love as perfectly as God does.
    Rom 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
    (who renews the mind? Who wills this perfection?)
    God changes us, not ourselves, so whatever you think perfection is, it's by God's doing, and I think He's considered powerful enough to pull it off, whatever it is, even similarly to using 300 people to defeat 27K people in a war.


    Phl 3:15
    Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you;

    Someone tell me how to remove html formatting from a cut and paste?

    While Paul just said he didn't consider himself perfect yet, he then turns around and claims him and others ARE perfect. This is it's own thread, but it's something anyone accepting this study must reconcile. Was Paul a stark raving mad idiot? Or was he one or the other, or are both true statements?
    Col 3:14
    Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.

    Love being the perfect bond of Unity, coincides with the request for unity in John 17, Eph 4 vs below, and 1 john 4:16-18.
    Col 4:12
    Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God.

    Apparently, Epaphras was working to prepare those he wrote to be perfect in God.
    How perfect? See Ephesians 4:11-17.
    Jam 1:2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,
    Jam 1:3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
    Jam 1:4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

    James says that endurance is what finishes the making of your perfection. He expects it in living people, so what is it? James discusses works a lot, and put that word AGAPAO ( which requires works, and most often is LOVE except in KJV where it's also charity at times,) into the conversation and yo usee that He's teaching you to do loving acts to others which is a sign of your maturity/perfection. 1 john 4:16-18 goes hand in hand here.

    Jam 3:2
    For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well. (not a sarcastic comment, but a statement of fact.)

    This verse really doesn't apply to being perfected as it's observational not directional. But we can discern that it's a comment that will show a person mature/perfect won't stumble anymore. Which put with Gal 5:16 walk by the Spirit won't give into temptation, sorta fits very well into the conversation. A result of one being perfect is they will not stumble. That's wwhat the verse says. To presume "no one is perfect so this must be sarcasm" is just that assuming. Insert funny cliched joke about assuming here....

    Seriously if we are going to insert assumptions like that into the mix, let's do it to ALL biblical claims. Here's a good one. No man has raised themselves from the dead, nor can they, therefore Jesus never died and this whole faith thing is a bunch of silly pretending fools. <<<< same standard, applied in a different example.

    1Pe 5:9 But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.
    1Pe 5:10 After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.
    1Pe 5:11 To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.

    You go through sufferings, trials and tribulations, to learn a new discipline, one of service, not self providence, God HIMSELF perfects you, confirms you, strengthens you, and establishes you. Too manh in teh Church today, say they can't be perfected because they are trying to perfect themselves, but Scripture says HE is the one that will do it. Thus the question, who parted the red sea, Moses or God? Had Moses not held the staff over His head, GOD would not have parted the red sea. Or so it is written.

    So before someone discards Christian perfection as possible or not, they should consider if God is powerful enough to pull it off or not, as HE is the one doing the changing, not us.

    Mat 19:21 Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."
    (said on all three synoptic gospels...)
    At the point Christ asked "if you would be perfect/complete/mature/finished, he was no longer dealing with the salvation/eternal life question that was asked. He took the chat to the next step, after salvation/atonement, is the maturation. Thus He was teaching an incremental process in God's plan. It starts with salvation, giving you clear conscience, knowing you are forgiven, so you can come to Him, give more of yourself, expose more of yourself to Him, and let Him change you to that finished? "PERFECT', complete? state He has intended for you, an instrument of His righteousness.

    1Cr 2:6 Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away;

    Paul taught different things/or levels of things, to the mature, so apparently IT DID HAPPEN. That word mature, in the NASB is also the word for PERFECT above in the verses. But since the word PERFECT causes such a knee herk, they worked at making it read where people got the gist of it. If you are going to be a KJV only person, you had better work really hard at the words that has changed in meaning in such HUGE proportions from 1611.

    So, Paul "SPEAKS" different things to the mature, but he WRITES to those not there yet to help them get there. Why would he spend time telling someone already there how to get there? And if they are already there, they have a better teacher than Paul is anyway. Right?

    1Cr 14:20 Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature.

    Children denotes those NOT changed fully yet. He's telling them have less evil and more maturity. Same thing as 1 john where he says walk in the light as HE does have NO darkness in you, and in 2:8 says they are getting there as the darkness is washing away. Less evil, more maturity, just a little more needed in maturity for those in 1 john and THEN they would be in fellowship with God.


    Eph 4:13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

    How mature did Paul think was possible? This is a hard verse for the evangelical far right to digest. NOT every person that is evangelical for sure, but the farthest loudest fringes..... consider the words above, I'll give a different analogy, that reflects what is said.

    To be a perfect/mature man. So the question is HOW perfect mature...

    The answer....

    To the fullness of Christ's maturity. (most of you are taught that is impossible. Again, I guess Paul is whacked in the head... fried noodles or summ'n.)

    How full is "fullness of Christ's maturity?"
    If His was measured in a glass, as a picturesque example,
    we would have the same size glass,
    (to the stature...)
    And it would be filled with the same amount of ... whatever....
    (to the measure.)
    Of teh fullness of Christ.

    Perfect,
    as Christ,
    as big
    as much
    as His fullness.

    Five lines to reinforce the claim. If being redundant puts emphasis on things, Paul left absolutely NOT room to wiggle here.... if we are one bit less spiritually mature as CHrist Paul is telling us there is more we can and are expected to have. Continue running the race, don't stop and brag about "I'm in the Spirit you aren't so listen to what I say.... Or however that thought that you arrived will manifest itself.

    Col 1:28 We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ.

    Paul wanted to have everyone PERFECT/COMPLETE in Christ before Christ returned.
    Hbr 5:13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant.
    Hbr 5:14 But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.

    There are mature believers, and through practice, OR LIVING NOT READING ABOUT IT, same as the EPHESIANS 4 verse above says that maturity comes through works. THE DOING of it is what brings you to maturity. And through doing it, your senses are trained (Hebrews 12 discipline, the word discipline means the same as trained here, well not exactly the same, but very close...). That is what we saw above in the trials and tribulations that make you MORE than where you started.

    Your trials and tribulations are in life from living it, not from reading about it and being PROUD or PUFFED UP at your knowledge. Which is ironic since I'm speaking from knowledge I've attained from study.... :) Hey, at least I'm honest. It's how I check myself.



    So, Perfection, is an actual changing of the person, done by God, but through man's work, same as Moses, to become as Spiritually Mature as Jesus the Christ was, not one bit less.

    Now, what that might look like is another conversation.

    But that is what scripture calls Spiritual Perfection. I guess the question is, was Paul wrong in His teaching? Is God incapable of pulling it off? Or can it happen? Or will we just knee jerk that no one is perfect ever but God, making Paul a liar and the claimant of said words the correct one.

    Feel free to accost me violently... :) Just do it with a reasoning attached.
     
  2. Just a quick note on Colossians 3:14, because I just heard this in church...
    the noun being modified by the adjective perfect in this verse isn't love or bond, but unity. It's better stated "the bond of perfect unity". I think if you check out the Greek, you will see that this is, indeed, so.
    Okay, now I'll go back and study the rest. :)
    Oh, and Matthew 5:48 reads, in Greek, "Therefore you will be perfect..." Does that change anything? It does, to me, change what Christ is saying there.
     
  3. Xian, you said:
    Children denotes those NOT changed fully yet. He's telling them have less evil and more maturity. Same thing as 1 john where he says walk in the light as HE does have NO darkness in you, and in 2:8 says they are getting there as the darkness is washing away. Less evil, more maturity, just a little more needed in maturity for those in 1 john and THEN they would be in fellowship with God.
    Are you saying newborn babes in Christ have not fellowship with Him?
     
  4. Ok, these are Nasb vss, and 3:14 above says as you say it should, right? Or am I missing something?

    And Matt 5:48 is a context statement no matter how 48 vs reads, the topic is God's love, not your perfection....


     
  5. V48a speaks of man's moral perfection. V48b speaks of God's perfection in the context of complete benevolent goodness. Remember Jesus' dialogue continues in Ch6.
     
  6. Well, yeah, it is saying that man should love as perfectly as god loves. Referencing the thought that god loves and provides for His enemies. Or, I guess more clearly, therefore your love should be as complete as God's love.
     
  7. No, our love should be as complete as our capacity to love allows, just as God's love is as complete as His capacity to love allows. There is a difference.
     
  8. I understand the sentiment but that is not what Jesus word's say. Be perfect, can read be mature, or be complete with teleios/teleioo whatever it is. There is no concept of only to your ability anywhere in this conversation, it has to be read in there. Be complete as god...... what did Jesus describe of God? How He loves, this whole chat is about how to love. Be mature in your love as god is, the examples are even to providing to your enemies, which is sadly spit on when to comes to the glbt community. Be mature as god is mature, the topic is HOW TO LOVE. Its a command not a request, and I cant see how you get any "strive" or "as you are capable of" into the conversation without adding words that change the whole meaning of the sentence.

    So, if I am wrong I would love to see the exegetics of that position. But, usually it is interpreted that way because people assume they can't, or doubt they can love as completely as God does. Therefore I cant do it, that must not be what it says. With that as a canon for faith, the jews die at the red sea, gideon's army dies by the tens of thousands, and peter drowns.

    So, your interpretation is certainly more amenable, so if I have it wrong, that would be good news!
     
  9. Therefore you are to be mature as your heavenly father is mature.

    In what aspect be mature? We can't be as old as God, so, it must reference how we show our love, as that is the discussion here. Right? Its a command, not a request, so lessening the expectations is not to fulfill the command.... I am trying, but can't see how the to what we are able, thought is found in the text.

    Jesus prays we are to be in God, as he was in God. If His prayer was not turned down, then that would make it possible. The vss say its capable because of what HE does I us, so HE is capable, john says its because His seed is in us, and Paul because His Spirit is in us no where does it say its based on our abilities, but on HIS abilities, and I think HE is capable.

    The maturity explained in Eph 4, as fully and completely perfect/mature as Christ is, seems to show that it is a consistent theme..... so I am not making some fly by night poke and hope at the interpretation, thus I hope you will take me seriously and show us how "to what we are able" is found in the text?
     
  10. Oh, I in no way meant this (Matt. 5:48) to refer to my own, or anyone else's perfection, but rather that the tense of the Greek word is future, not present; that "completeness" or "maturity" is spoken of in a future tense. Also, this speaks not only of love for one another, but also of love for God.
    Argh, I just wrote a novella responding to your OP, and it got lost...and we promised my SIL to help her move today, so, gotta run. I'll try to get back later today, but it could take me fully a month to speak to what you say here with sound exegesis!
    ~el
     
  11. I hope you won't mind, but I'll have to address these thoughts in individual posts, beginning with the ones that are easist. And rather than quoting with the reply botton, I'm just goint to do this:
    you said,
    "Jam 3:2
    For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well. (not a sarcastic comment, but a statement of fact.)

    This verse really doesn't apply to being perfected as it's observational not directional. But we can discern that it's a comment that will show a person mature/perfect won't stumble anymore. Which put with Gal 5:16 walk by the Spirit won't give into temptation, sorta fits very well into the conversation. A result of one being perfect is they will not stumble. That's wwhat the verse says. To presume "no one is perfect so this must be sarcasm" is just that assuming. Insert funny cliched joke about assuming here....

    Seriously if we are going to insert assumptions like that into the mix, let's do it to ALL biblical claims. Here's a good one. No man has raised themselves from the dead, nor can they, therefore Jesus never died and this whole faith thing is a bunch of silly pretending fools. <<<< same standard, applied in a different example."

    Read on to v.8:
    But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison.
    this stands in opposition to the idea that "a person mature/perfect won't stumble anymore", unless we say we don't reach full maturity in these bodies, on this earth. And regarding the words "no one", the Greek is "oudeis", and one scholar says this about it:
    oudeís ("no one, nothing at all") is a powerful negating conjunction. It rules out by definition, i.e. "shuts the door" objectively and leaves no exceptions. (underline mine)
    Right, so that's my quick take on that verse from James. I'll try to do more tomorrow, and would like to hear what you say about this post. (if that sounded snarky, I promise you I don't mean it that way, and came back to edit with this parenthetical note because
    a) I dislike misunderstanding
    b) I really DO want to hear what you want to say.)
     
  12. Ok, the verb is Eimi, and it's not future, nor present, nor past. It's used for all of them. It's basically the BE verb. So I'm sorry, I'm just not getting it here. Maybe the next...
     


  13. Let's just say no man/individual/woman/child can tame their tongue. Fortunately scripture says GOD changes our hearts and minds, that HIS SEED keeps us from sinning, that His Spirit keeps us from giving into temptation. So it's true, no one can do it. It's not true that it has to happen after death. Blessed is the POOR in Spirit,.... meaning their spirit is dependent on God. Look the word up for POOR in that matthew 5 beattitude. :)

    OK the word OU in Greek, that hard negative, you find in this verse as well....
    No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

    And, this comment stands in opposition to the comment above. So I'd suggest that there needs to be some reconciliation, and an answer found that accomodates both without changing words. And, I find that reconciliation in my answer above.

    But, the James verse creates a question, what is a perfect man? But it also points out, that there could be a perfect man.
     
  14. Well, you asked to be violently accosted, and told me I'm too tentative in speech, so I'm about to get mean. (fair warning)
    The infinitive form of the verb is "to be", but it gets conjugated. Like I would not say "I to be going to the store". Or "she to be pretty". Or "he to be at it with a vengance". Particularly in the last example, we have no idea when this action took place. And there are times when we use the infinitive form of a verb. But Matt. 5:48 is not one of them. The actual Greek word there is Ἔσεσθε, which transliterated is "esethe", which is second person future tense. Not the infinitive, not the past, present and future all at once.
    Whew! I don't know about you, but I'm shaking (adrenaline from extreme dislike of confrontation) and have to calm down! Sorry if I was too harsh, Xian. :(
     
    covered_by_grace likes this.
  15. Guys, you are complicating this!! He is trying to tell us to make sure we are walking in the Spirit. If we are His, His love will be in us.

    Rom 5:5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

    Keep His word and the Holy Spirit will reside in you...

    1Jn 2:5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.

    The you will be perfect through the Holy Spirit.


    Mat 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

    He has to be in you for the work to be perfect...It's His work that is perfect not yours.

    Deu 32:4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.

    1Jn 4:12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
    1Jn 4:13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.

    Grace is the Holy Spirit and that is why it is sufficient for us...

    Joh 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

    Luk 4:1 And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness


    Heb 13:9 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.


    2Co 1:22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.

    Grace and peace unto all

    TC
     
    Abba's child likes this.
  16. TC, I feel like a cool refreshing breeze just blew though...thank you!! I get upset when I see the Word being misunderstood (in a compassion for the person sort of way). But you (and an "in person" friend) reminded me the Lord is prefectly able to guard His own Word, and that only He can, through His Spirit, correct it and us when things like this happen.
    My job is to be sure I'm not the one misunderstanding, and to pray, and to place whomever does this in His hands, and rest. (This sort of thing is not my gift, and I'll never be as good at it as you are, or as I will be at exhortation and showing mercy, because God does those things (through me) too!
     
  17. Xian, you are my brother, and I love you with the love the Lord has given us for one another! :)
    I believe spiritual things are spiritually appraised, and we cannot use our own human reason and logic to discern the meaning of the Word. (1 Cor. 2:10) It is revealed by the Holy Spirit who does, indeed, live in us. (Thank You, Lord Jesus, for making that possible!) This is a trap I fall into far too easily, and typically the Lord, through my husband, rescues me, and if my husband is not readily available, He uses close friends, but He'll use just about anything--I love the way He works.♥ I can't show the way to Truth with my wisdom, since it's just as fallible as anyone's, if not moreso.
    Therefore, I urge you to seek the Lord's own wisdom in thses matters. Our wisdom is that of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and that's not very good wisdom. God's wisdom is infinitely superior. (Isaiah 55:8-9)
    God tells us in Daniel 2:20 that wisdom belongs to Him. But He also tells us in James 1:5 that He will gladly give it to us--all we have to do is ask!
    Over and over in scripture, wisdom and knowledge are tied together, but "our" knowledge without His wisdom is foolishness. (can't think of the scriptures offhand, but I can find them if you like)
    I pray the Lord shows you the truth of His Word, my brother. Meantime, I rest in the safety of our God. If the Lord shows me He wishes for me to encourage you, He will also give me the wisdom as to how He wants it accomplished. :)
     
  18. Right...my bad. I thought we were having just some doctrinal differences, but I just read a thread in the Evangelism Forum where you state (pretty categorically) that Jesus is not God. Do I have your sentiments properly understood on this issue? Because if this IS your belief...it seems to me you are most like the Jews Paul speaks of in Romans 10.
    v.2 "for I testify that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge."
    Without Spirit given Truth in this matter, we are not even speaking of the same things, and your screen name becomes sad to me, for it seems more like you wish to fight with the Church. :( I do not know (God knows) if you are searching, yet unsaved, or perhaps a member of something akin to the Watchtower Society, and it matters little for the sake of discussion, but matters greatly for your own sake, beloved!
    I am glad I saw that, because it changes the way I pray for you. And yes, I believe in prayer!
     

  19. Dear Ellie,

    Please, please don't slander him like that. It's what you read into what he said that was wrong... not what he said. You already had it in your mind that he was "UNSAVED" when you read what he wrote...did you PM him about your sincere worry about his salvation??? Did you ask him to clarify?? Narcissistic, passive aggression isn't Godly behavior.

    He never said "Jesus wasn't God." However, he did point out that Jesus was ALSO separate from God.

    And since Xian's radical ideas were unacceptable in this forum of back-patters, and was thus banned, I would be happy to pass along his e-mail address to you so you and he can continue the conversation between two people rather than continue to do it on a public forum, a place in which he has been refused the opportunity to respond.

    AGAIN, to restate:

    Jesus and God are together and Separate both. To claim otherwise is the Heresy. ONENESS, claiming Jesus IS GOD, etc... doesn't hold up scripturally. And that sounds like what you're claiming.

    I imagine, in light of the most recent egregious behaviors posted and stood by the so-called brothers and sisters in this forum, I jump this ship too as it is obviously only manned by people desiring to pursue THEIR agenda: worship their Christianity, not God. GOD must be #1 above ALL ideas, precepts, concepts, people - INCLUDING JESUS - doctrine, behavior, thoughts, and actions. If not, He's not your "god" at all.

    I expect to be banned, now. Might as well be, so go ahead. I'm not interested in being a part of people who want to row their own salvation boat right into hell ALL THE WHILE thinking they are un-reproachable!!

    God help us all, because this board is indicative of the real problem that the Church faces today: passivity and idolatry.

    C-ya folks... it's been, well..... enlightening.
     
  20. Grace, you are absolutely right! I most sincerely apologize to all, and especially to you, Xian. :(
    I completely ought to have PMed you about it, and I disrespected you and did not behave as the Word tells us to. I've been dealing with a lot of people from the WS lately, and I see it's bothered me more than I allowed myself to believe. I did see that Xian had written that Jesus isn't God, but it wasn't in this string, and I should have asked him what he meant..
    I didn't see it as modalism...I didn't see at all! And what's worse, I did not ask.
    I see no reason for you to be banned for justly pointing to my own error. *sigh* Part of the problem I have with the written word (by which I mean it is MY problem) is that one cannot hear tone of voice, and it's hard to know (at least for me) without that what someone really means. Which should tell me that it's that much more important to choose words wisely!!
    A while back I participated in a forum where all sorts of heresy was allowed to be expressed, and now I also realize I haven't forgiven as I ought to have.
    So, Grace, I thank you, thank you! for speaking the truth to me. I know what I should have done--but now I can't do another thing untill I seek the Lord. I don't know how I can ask Xian's forgiveness now...
     

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