by Allon Maxwell
The doctrine of Christian perfection is a part of the Abrahamic Faith. God said to Abraham:
"Walk before me and be perfect." Genesis 17:1
"Perfection" was a condition of the covenant. (verse 2)
The Hebrew word translated "perfect" here, is " tamin ".
In other places it is translated:
It is the word used to describe the sacrificial lamb which was required to be "without blemish", to represent the sinlessness of Jesus.
Significant uses of the word are found in:
Modern translations often use the words "blameless" or "upright".
However, these alternatives do not reduce the meaning of the word at all. When we read the scripture quoted above, it is obvious that the standard of "perfection", or "blamelessness", or "uprightness" intended is measured in terms of God's own character, as revealed to us by Jesus.
This high standard of "perfection" is implicit in what Jesus calls the greatest commandment of all:
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might." (Deuteronomy 6:5)
Although human thinking tends to shrink from that as "too hard", God says that it is not!
BOTH OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS.
For those who doubt their own capacity, the GOOD NEWS contains the same promise as in the old testament - that God Himself will change the hearts of his children, so that they will love.
So Jesus said to His disciples (just as His Father said to Abraham):
The New Testament Greek word for "perfect" is " teleios". It is very similar to the Old Testament word discussed above. It means "complete", "entire", "fully developed".
in no doubt as to its meaning.
Other significant uses are found in:
Many Christians dismiss "perfection" as "impossible", or "legalism", or even "heresy"! However, any honest assessment of the Gospels will make it plain that Jesus does mean us to take him at His word about this subject:
The commandment to be perfect is not to be measured in terms of ordinary human ability to keep it.
It is to be measured in terms of God's ability to TEACH us and ENABLE us to keep it.
Ephesians 3:14-21 is a promise that the strength given us by the Holy Spirit, and our faith in Christ, and our experience of the love of Christ, will end in our being filled with all the fullness of God.....far more abundantly than we can ask or think.
A ripe understanding and experience of the Holy Spirit depends on our commitment to the goal of obedience.
"The Holy Spirit is given to them that obey." Acts 5:32, John 14:15-17.
THIS DOCTRINE OF CHRISTIAN PERFECTION IS NOT LEGALISM.
It is founded in love.....and love obeys. Those who do not obey Jesus do not love Him either! John 14,24
NEITHER IS THE DOCTRINE OF CHRISTIAN PERFECTION ABOUT SALVATION BY WORKS.
It is founded in real faith.....obedient faith.....faith which believes that the only life worth living is life in obedience to Jesus.
Abraham's faith was perfected by works! Faith that does not produce works is a dead faith.....it is not faith at all. (James 2:20-26:
This commitment to the goal of perfection leads to true assurance of our Sonship.
The Gospel is not just about forgiveness of sin.
It is also the GOOD NEWS
faith and a love which enables us to forsake sin and learn to
true holiness (without which no man shall see the Lord.