The various Biblical terms connoting 'perfection' differ in shade of meaning between wholeness, the attaining of an end or ideal, complete adjustment, full equipment in fitness for an appointed task. They are sparingly applied to God; In OT His way, work, knowledge, law are 'perfect' (Ps 18:30; De 32:4; Job 37:16; Ps 19:7); in NT the same term is used of His will, His gifts, His law (Ro 12:2; Jas 1:17,25), while Christ describes the Father in heaven as 'perfect,' and therefore as the source and pattern of moral ideals (Mt 5:48). The sense in which perfection is attributed to or urged upon men must naturally vary according to the moral conceptions of the time.
1. In OT.
"Do not suppose that I have come to do away with the Law or the Prophets. I have not come to do away with them but to enforce them. For I tell you, as long as heaven and earth endure, not one dotting of an i or crossing of a t will be dropped from the Law until it is all observed. read more. Anyone, therefore, who weakens one of the slightest of these commands, and teaches others to do so, will be ranked lowest in the Kingdom of Heaven; but anyone who observes them and teaches others to do so will be ranked high in the Kingdom of Heaven. For I tell you that unless your uprightness is far superior to that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never even enter the Kingdom of Heaven! "You have heard that the men of old were told 'You shall not murder,' and 'Whoever murders will have to answer to the court.' But I tell you that anyone who gets angry with his brother will have to answer to the court, and anyone who speaks contemptuously to his brother will have to answer to the great council, and anyone who says to his brother 'You cursed fool!' will have to answer for it in the fiery pit! So when you are presenting your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother has any grievance against you, leave your gift right there before the altar and go and make up with your brother; then come back and present your gift. Be quick and come to terms with your opponent while you are on the way to court with him, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you will be thrown into prison. I tell you, you will never get out again until you have paid the last penny! "You have heard that men were told 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman with desire has already committed adultery with her in his heart. But if your right eye makes you fall, tear it out and throw it away, for you might better lose one part of your body than have it all thrown into the pit! If your right hand makes you fall, cut it off and throw it away, for you might better lose one part of your body than have it all go down to the pit! "They were told, 'Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.' But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife on any ground, except unfaithfulness, makes her commit adultery, and anyone who marries her after she is divorced commits adultery. "Again, you have heard that the men of old were told, 'You shall not swear falsely, but you must fulfil your oaths to the Lord.' But I tell you not to swear at all, either by heaven, for it is God's throne, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great king. You must not swear by your own head, for you cannot make one single hair white or black. But your way of speaking must be 'Yes' or 'No.' Anything that goes beyond that comes from the evil one. "You have heard that they were told, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I tell you not to resist injury, but if anyone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other to him too; and if anyone wants to sue you for your shirt, let him have your coat too. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go two miles with him. If anyone begs from you, give to him, and when anyone wants to borrow from you, do not turn away. "You have heard that they were told, 'You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for your persecutors, so that you may show yourselves true sons of your Father in heaven, for he makes his sun rise on bad and good alike, and makes the rain fall on the upright and the wrongdoers. For if you love only those who love you, what reward can you expect? Do not the very tax-collectors do that? And if you are polite to your brothers and no one else, what is there remarkable in that? Do not the very heathen do that? So you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is.
So you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is.
So you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is.
So you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is.
So you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is.
Therefore, you must always treat other people as you would like to have them treat you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
Then Peter came to him and said, "Master, how many times am I to forgive my brother when he wrongs me? Seven times over?" Jesus said to him, "Not seven times over, I tell you, but seventy-seven times over!
Jesus said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go! Sell your property and give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven. Then come back and be a follower of mine."
As he was starting again on his journey, a man came running up to him, and knelt at his feet and asked him, "Good master, what must I do to make sure of eternal life?" But Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God himself. read more. You know the commandments??Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.' But he said to him, "Master, I have obeyed all these commandments ever since I was a child." And Jesus looked at him and loved him, and he said to him, "There is one thing that you lack. Go, sell all you have, and give the money to the poor, and then you will have riches in heaven; and come back and be a follower of mine." But his face fell at Jesus' words, and he went away much cast down, for he had a great deal of property. And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it will be for those who have money to enter the Kingdom of God!" But the disciples were amazed at what he said. And Jesus said to them again, "My children, how hard it is to enter the Kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into the Kingdom of God!" They were perfectly astounded and said to him, "Then who can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and said, "For men it is impossible, but not for God, for anything is possible for God." Peter started to say to him, "Well, we have left all we had, and have followed you." Jesus said, "I tell you, there is no one who has given up home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or land for me and for the good news, but will receive now in this life a hundred times as much in homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and lands, though not without persecution??nd in the coming age eternal life. But many who are first now will be last then, and the last will be first."
Jesus said to him, "You are right. Do that, and you will live."
A member of the council asked him, "Good master, what must I do to make sure of eternal life?" Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God himself. read more. You know the commandments, 'Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.' " And he said, "I have obeyed all these commandments ever since I was a child." When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "There is one thing that you still lack. Sell all that you have, and divide the money among the poor, and then you will have riches in heaven; and come back and be a follower of mine." But when he heard that, he was much cast down, for he was very rich. And when Jesus saw it, he said, "How hard it will be for those who have money to get into the Kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into the Kingdom of God!" And those who heard it said, "Then who can be saved?" And he said, "The things that are impossible for men are possible for God!" Peter said, "Here we have left home and followed you." And he said to them, "I tell you, there is no one who has given up home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the Kingdom of God who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the coming age eternal life."
It is just like the way in which through one man sin came into the world, and death followed sin, and so death spread to all men, because all men sinned. It is true sin was in the world before the Law was given, and men are not charged with sin where there is no law. read more. Still death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned as Adam had, in the face of an express command. So Adam foreshadowed the one who was to come. But there is no comparison between God's gift and that offense. For if one man's offense made the mass of mankind die, God's mercy and his gift given through the favor of the one man Jesus Christ have far more powerfully affected mankind. Nor is there any comparison between the gift and the effects of that one man's sin. That sentence arose from the act of one man, and was for condemnation; but God's gift arose out of many offenses and results in acquittal. For if that one man's offense made death reign through that one man, all the more will those who receive God's overflowing mercy and his gift of uprightness live and reign through the one individual Jesus Christ. So as one offense meant condemnation for all men, just so one righteous act means acquittal and life for all men. For just as that one man's disobedience made the mass of mankind sinners, so this one's obedience will make the mass of them upright. Then law slipped in, and multiplied the offense. But greatly as sin multiplied, God's mercy has far surpassed it, so that just as sin had reigned through death, mercy might reign through uprightness and bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Then what shall we conclude? Are we to continue to sin to increase the spread of mercy? Certainly not! When we have died to sin, how can we live in it any longer? read more. Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into union with Christ Jesus have been baptized into his death? Through baptism we have been buried with him in death, so that just as he was raised from the dead through the Father's glory, we too may live a new life. For if we have grown into union with him by undergoing a death like his, of course we shall do so by being raised to life like him, for we know that our old self was crucified with him, to do away with our sinful body, so that we might not be enslaved to sin any longer, for when a man is dead he is free from the claims of sin. If we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him, for we know that Christ, once raised from the dead, will never die again; death has no more hold on him. For when he died, he became once for all dead to sin; the life he now lives is a life in relation to God. So you also must think of yourselves as dead to sin but alive to God, through union with Christ Jesus.
What a wretched man I am! Who can save me from this doomed body? Thank God! it is done through Jesus Christ our Lord! So mentally I am a slave to God's law, but physically to the law of sin.
But you are not physical but spiritual, if God's Spirit has really taken possession of you; for unless a man has Christ's spirit, he does not belong to Christ.
You must not adopt the customs of this world but by your new attitude of mind be transformed so that you can find out what God's will is??hat is good, pleasing, and perfect.
Your love must be genuine. You must hate what is wrong, and hold to what is right.
Owe nobody anything??xcept the duty of mutual love, for whoever loves his fellow-men has fully satisfied the Law. For the commandments, "You must not commit adultery, You must not murder, You must not steal, You must not covet," and any other commandments there are, are all summed up in one saying, "You must love your neighbor as you do yourself." read more. Love never wrongs a neighbor, and so love fully satisfies the Law. All this especially, because you know this critical time and that it is time for you to wake from your sleep, for our salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is at hand. So let us throw aside the deeds of darkness, and put on the armor of light. Let us live honorably, as in the light of day, not in carousing and drunkenness, or in immorality and indecency, or in quarreling and jealousy. But clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about gratifying your physical cravings.
But I urge you all, brothers, for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ, to agree in what you say, and not to allow factions among you, but to be perfectly united in mind and judgment.
Yet there is a wisdom that we impart when we are with people who have a mature faith, but it is not what this world calls wisdom, nor what the authorities of this world, doomed as they are to pass away, would call so.
So, for my part, brothers, I could not treat you as spiritual persons; I had to treat you just as creatures of flesh and blood, as babies in Christian living.
Brothers, you must not be children mentally. In evil be babies, but mentally be mature.
But what the Spirit produces is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
Those who belong to Jesus the Christ have crucified the physical nature with its propensities and cravings. If we live by the Spirit, let us be guided by the Spirit.
For this reason I kneel before the Father from whom every family in heaven or on earth takes its name, read more. and beg him out of his wealth of glory to strengthen you mightily through his Spirit in your inner nature and through your faith to let Christ in his love make his home in your hearts. Your roots must be deep and your foundations strong, so that you and all God's people may be strong enough to grasp what breadth, length, height, and depth mean, and to understand Christ's love, so far beyond our understanding, so that you may be filled with the very fulness of God. To him who by the exertion of his power within us can do unutterably more than all we ask or imagine,
To him who by the exertion of his power within us can do unutterably more than all we ask or imagine,
Make every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit through the tie of peace. There is but one body and one Spirit, just as there is but one hope that belongs to the summons you received. read more. There is but one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
They are estranged from the life of God because of the ignorance that exists among them and their obstinacy of heart,
So follow God's example, like his dear children,
For I am certain that he who has begun the good work in you will finish it for the Day of Jesus Christ.
For it is God who in his good will is at work in your hearts, inspiring your will and your action.
Not that I have secured it yet, or already reached perfection, but I am pressing on to see if I can capture it, because I have been captured by Jesus Christ.
Let as many of us therefore as are mature have this attitude. If you have any different attitude, God will make this clear to you.
Goodbye, and the Lord be with you always. Again I say, goodbye. Let all men see your forbearing spirit. The Lord is coming soon. read more. Have no anxiety about anything, but make all your wants known to God in prayer and entreaty, and with thanksgiving. Then, through your union with Christ Jesus, the peace of God, so far above any human thought, will guard your minds and thoughts. Now, brothers, let your minds dwell on what is true, what is worthy, what is right, what is pure, what is amiable, what is kindly??n everything that is excellent or praiseworthy. Do the things that you learned, received, and heard from me, and that you saw me do. Then God who gives peace will be with you.
I can do anything through him who gives me strength.
and it is he who has told me of the love the Spirit has awakened in you. That is why, from the day I first heard of it, I have never given up praying for you and asking God to fill you, through full spiritual wisdom and insight, with a clear knowledge of what his will is,
That is why, from the day I first heard of it, I have never given up praying for you and asking God to fill you, through full spiritual wisdom and insight, with a clear knowledge of what his will is, so that the lives you live may be worthy of your Master and wholly pleasing to him, and you may be fruitful in all kinds of good deeds, and may grow into fuller knowledge of God. read more. Then, so mighty is his majesty, he will nerve you perfectly with strength for the cheerful exercise of endurance and forbearance in every situation, and you will thank the Father who has entitled you to share the lot of God's people in the realm of light. He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness, and has transferred us into the realm of his dear Son, by whom we have been ransomed from captivity through having our sins forgiven. He is a likeness of the unseen God, born before any creature, for it was through him that everything was created in heaven and on earth, the seen and the unseen, angelic thrones, dominions, principalities, authorities??ll things were created through him and for him. He existed before all things and he sustains and embraces them all. He is the head of the church, it is his body; for he is the beginning, the firstborn from among the dead??hat he might come to stand first in everything. For all the divine fulness chose to dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to God all things on earth or in heaven, making this peace through his blood shed on the cross. And it has brought you, who were once estranged from him, hostile in attitude and engaged in doing wrong (though now he has reconciled you through dying in his human body) in holiness, and free from reproach or blame, into God's presence??23 if at least you continue firm and steadfast in the exercise of faith, and never shift from the hope held out in the good news to which you listened, which has been preached all over the world, and for which I, Paul, became a worker.
And in spreading the news of him, we warn everyone and teach everyone all our wisdom, in order to bring everyone to Christian perfection.
And over all these put on love, which completes them and fastens them all together.
Epaphras, one of your own number, a slave of Christ Jesus, wishes to be remembered to you. He is always standing up for you in his prayers that you may stand fast, like men of mature convictions, whatever God's will for you may be.
For it was appropriate that he who is the great First Cause of the universe should, in guiding his many children to his glorious salvation, make their leader in it fully qualified through what he suffered.
and when he was fully qualified, he became a source of unending salvation for all who obey him,
I have much to say to you about this, but it is difficult to make it clear to you, because you have become so slow of apprehension.
Let us therefore leave elementary Christian teaching alone and advance toward maturity. We must not be always relaying foundations, of repentance for wrong-doing, and of faith in God,
Now if anything final had been really accomplished through the Levitical priesthood, for even the giving of the Law was based upon it, what further need would there have been of appointing a different priest of the priesthood of Melchizedek, instead of choosing one of the priesthood of Aaron? For when there is a change in the priesthood, a change necessarily takes place in the Law as well. read more. For he of whom all this was said was related to a tribe no member of which ever officiated at the altar. For it is perfectly clear that our Lord sprang from the tribe of Judah, with reference to which Moses said nothing at all about priests. The point is still more clear in view of the fact that the appointment of the new priest resembles that of Melchizedek, for he is appointed not for possessing any legal physical qualifications, but by virtue of a life that cannot end. For the psalm bears witness, "You are a priest forever, of the priesthood of Melchizedek!" So an earlier regulation is abrogated because it was poor and ineffective (for there was nothing final about the Law), and a better hope begins to dawn, through which we may approach God.
For the Law appoints to the high priesthood men full of imperfection; but this utterance about the making of the oath, which came long after the Law, appoints a son, fully qualified to be high priest forever.
And all this looked toward the present time and was symbolic of the fact that the mere offering of material gifts and sacrifices cannot inwardly qualify the worshiper to approach God,
For by that one sacrifice he has forever qualified those who are purified from sin to approach God.
for God had resolved upon something still better for us, that they might not reach the fulfilment of their hopes except with us.
to the solemn gathering of all God's elder sons, enrolled as citizens in heaven, to a judge who is the God of all, to the spirits of upright men now at last enjoying the fulfilment of their hopes,
fit you by every blessing to do his will, and through Jesus Christ carry out in us what will please him. To him be glory forever and ever. Amen.
and steadfastness must have full play, so that you may be fully and perfectly developed without any defects.
Every good gift and every perfect present is from heaven, and comes down from the Father of the heavenly lights, about whom there is no variation of changing shadow.
But whoever looks at the faultless law that makes men free and keeps looking, so that he does not just listen and forget, but obeys and acts upon it, will be blessed in what he does.
For we all make many mistakes. Anyone who never makes a mistake in what he says has a character that is fully developed and is able to control his whole body as well.
You must love him, though you have not seen him, but since you believe in him though you do not now see him, rejoice with triumphant, unutterable joy