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.
This is the account of Noah. Noah was a godly man; he was blameless among his contemporaries. He walked with God.
When Abram was 99 years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, "I am the sovereign God. Walk before me and be blameless.
for I am the Lord your God and you are to sanctify yourselves and be holy because I am holy. You must not defile yourselves by any of the swarming things that creep on the ground,
"Speak to the whole congregation of the Israelites and tell them, 'You must be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.
As for the Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are just. He is a reliable God who is never unjust, he is fair and upright.
May you demonstrate wholehearted devotion to the Lord our God by following his rules and obeying his commandments, as you are presently doing."
When Solomon became old, his wives shifted his allegiance to other gods; he was not wholeheartedly devoted to the Lord his God, as his father David had been.
He followed all the sinful practices of his father before him. He was not wholeheartedly devoted to the Lord his God, as his ancestor David had been.
He did this because David had done what he approved and had not disregarded any of his commandments his entire lifetime, except for the incident involving Uriah the Hittite.
He did what the Lord approved, but not with wholehearted devotion.
There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job. And that man was pure and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.
So the Lord said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one like him on the earth, a pure and upright man, one who fears God and turns away from evil."
Job took a shard of broken pottery to scrape himself with while he was sitting among the ashes.
Do you know about the balancing of the clouds, that wondrous activity of him who is perfect in knowledge?
I was innocent before him, and kept myself from sinning.
You prove to be loyal to one who is faithful; you prove to be trustworthy to one who is innocent.
The one true God acts in a faithful manner; the Lord's promise is reliable; he is a shield to all who take shelter in him.
The law of the Lord is perfect and preserves one's life. The rules set down by the Lord are reliable and impart wisdom to the inexperienced.
Moreover, keep me from committing flagrant sins; do not allow such sins to control me. Then I will be blameless, and innocent of blatant rebellion.
The Lord watches over the innocent day by day and they possess a permanent inheritance.
For the upright will reside in the land, and those with integrity will remain in it,
The righteousness of the blameless will make straight their way, but the wicked person will fall by his own wickedness.
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have not come to abolish these things but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth pass away not the smallest letter or stroke of a letter will pass from the law until everything takes place. read more. So anyone who breaks one of the least of these commands and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever obeys them and teaches others to do so will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness goes beyond that of the experts in the law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. "You have heard that it was said to an older generation, 'Do not murder,' and 'whoever murders will be subjected to judgment.' But I say to you that anyone who is angry with a brother will be subjected to judgment. And whoever insults a brother will be brought before the council, and whoever says 'Fool' will be sent to fiery hell. So then, if you bring your gift to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother and then come and present your gift. Reach agreement quickly with your accuser while on the way to court, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the warden, and you will be thrown into prison. I tell you the truth, you will never get out of there until you have paid the last penny! "You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to desire her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away! It is better to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into hell. If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away! It is better to lose one of your members than to have your whole body go into hell. "It was said, 'Whoever divorces his wife must give her a legal document.' But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. "Again, you have heard that it was said to an older generation, 'Do not break an oath, but fulfill your vows to the Lord.' But I say to you, do not take oaths at all -- not by heaven, because it is the throne of God, not by earth, because it is his footstool, and not by Jerusalem, because it is the city of the great King. Do not take an oath by your head, because you are not able to make one hair white or black. Let your word be 'Yes, yes' or 'No, no.' More than this is from the evil one. "You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say to you, do not resist the evildoer. But whoever strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other to him as well. And if someone wants to sue you and to take your tunic, give him your coat also. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to the one who asks you, and do not reject the one who wants to borrow from you. "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor' and 'hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be like your Father in heaven, since he causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Even the tax collectors do the same, don't they? And if you only greet your brothers, what more do you do? Even the Gentiles do the same, don't they? So then, be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
So then, be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
So then, be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
So then, be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
So then, be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
In everything, treat others as you would want them to treat you, for this fulfills the law and the prophets.
Then Peter came to him and said, "Lord, how many times must I forgive my brother who sins against me? As many as seven times?" Jesus said to him, "Not seven times, I tell you, but seventy-seven times!
Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be perfect, go sell your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
Now as Jesus was starting out on his way, someone ran up to him, fell on his knees, and said, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. read more. You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.'" The man said to him, "Teacher, I have wholeheartedly obeyed all these laws since my youth." As Jesus looked at him, he felt love for him and said, "You lack one thing. Go, sell whatever you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." But at this statement, the man looked sad and went away sorrowful, for he was very rich. Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!" The disciples were astonished at these words. But again Jesus said to them, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God." They were even more astonished and said to one another, "Then who can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and replied, "This is impossible for mere humans, but not for God; all things are possible for God." Peter began to speak to him, "Look, we have left everything to follow you!" Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, there is no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not receive in this age a hundred times as much -- homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, fields, all with persecutions -- and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first."
Jesus said to him, "You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live."
Now a certain ruler asked him, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. read more. You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.'" The man replied, "I have wholeheartedly obeyed all these laws since my youth." When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." But when the man heard this he became very sad, for he was extremely wealthy. When Jesus noticed this, he said, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God." Those who heard this said, "Then who can be saved?" He replied, "What is impossible for mere humans is possible for God." And Peter said, "Look, we have left everything we own to follow you!" Then Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, there is no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of God's kingdom who will not receive many times more in this age -- and in the age to come, eternal life."
So then, just as sin entered the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all people because all sinned -- for before the law was given, sin was in the world, but there is no accounting for sin when there is no law. read more. Yet death reigned from Adam until Moses even over those who did not sin in the same way that Adam (who is a type of the coming one) transgressed. But the gracious gift is not like the transgression. For if the many died through the transgression of the one man, how much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one man Jesus Christ multiply to the many! And the gift is not like the one who sinned. For judgment, resulting from the one transgression, led to condemnation, but the gracious gift from the many failures led to justification. For if, by the transgression of the one man, death reigned through the one, how much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one, Jesus Christ! Consequently, just as condemnation for all people came through one transgression, so too through the one righteous act came righteousness leading to life for all people. For just as through the disobedience of the one man many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of one man many will be made righteous. Now the law came in so that the transgression may increase, but where sin increased, grace multiplied all the more, so that just as sin reigned in death, so also grace will reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
What shall we say then? Are we to remain in sin so that grace may increase? Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it? read more. Or do you not know that as many as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him through baptism into death, in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too may live a new life. For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we will certainly also be united in the likeness of his resurrection. We know that our old man was crucified with him so that the body of sin would no longer dominate us, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. (For someone who has died has been freed from sin.) Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that since Christ has been raised from the dead, he is never going to die again; death no longer has mastery over him. For the death he died, he died to sin once for all, but the life he lives, he lives to God. So you too consider yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, this person does not belong to him.
Do not be conformed to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve what is the will of God -- what is good and well-pleasing and perfect.
Love must be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil, cling to what is good.
Owe no one anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, "Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not covet," (and if there is any other commandment) are summed up in this, "Love your neighbor as yourself." read more. Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. And do this because we know the time, that it is already the hour for us to awake from sleep, for our salvation is now nearer than when we became believers. The night has advanced toward dawn; the day is near. So then we must lay aside the works of darkness, and put on the weapons of light. Let us live decently as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in discord and jealousy. Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to arouse its desires.
I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to agree together, to end your divisions, and to be united by the same mind and purpose.
Now we do speak wisdom among the mature, but not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are perishing.
So, brothers and sisters, I could not speak to you as spiritual people, but instead as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ.
Brothers and sisters, do not be children in your thinking. Instead, be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
Now those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also behave in accordance with the Spirit.
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on the earth is named. read more. I pray that according to the wealth of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner person, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, so that, because you have been rooted and grounded in love, you may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and thus to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to him who by the power that is working within us is able to do far beyond all that we ask or think,
Now to him who by the power that is working within us is able to do far beyond all that we ask or think,
making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you too were called to the one hope of your calling, read more. one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
They are darkened in their understanding, being alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardness of their hearts.
Therefore, be imitators of God as dearly loved children
For I am sure of this very thing, that the one who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
for the one bringing forth in you both the desire and the effort -- for the sake of his good pleasure -- is God.
Not that I have already attained this -- that is, I have not already been perfected -- but I strive to lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus also laid hold of me.
Therefore let those of us who are "perfect" embrace this point of view. If you think otherwise, God will reveal to you the error of your ways.
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say, rejoice! Let everyone see your gentleness. The Lord is near! read more. Do not be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God. And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things. And what you learned and received and heard and saw in me, do these things. And the God of peace will be with you.
I am able to do all things through the one who strengthens me.
who also told us of your love in the Spirit. For this reason we also, from the day we heard about you, have not ceased praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,
For this reason we also, from the day we heard about you, have not ceased praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may live worthily of the Lord and please him in all respects -- bearing fruit in every good deed, growing in the knowledge of God, read more. being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might for the display of all patience and steadfastness, joyfully giving thanks to the Father who has qualified you to share in the saints' inheritance in the light. He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation, for all things in heaven and on earth were created by him -- all things, whether visible or invisible, whether thrones or dominions, whether principalities or powers -- all things were created through him and for him. He himself is before all things and all things are held together in him. He is the head of the body, the church, as well as the beginning, the firstborn from among the dead, so that he himself may become first in all things. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in the Son and through him to reconcile all things to himself by making peace through the blood of his cross -- through him, whether things on earth or things in heaven. And you were at one time strangers and enemies in your minds as expressed through your evil deeds, but now he has reconciled you by his physical body through death to present you holy, without blemish, and blameless before him -- if indeed you remain in the faith, established and firm, without shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard. This gospel has also been preached in all creation under heaven, and I, Paul, have become its servant.
We proclaim him by instructing and teaching all people with all wisdom so that we may present every person mature in Christ.
And to all these virtues add love, which is the perfect bond.
Epaphras, who is one of you and a slave of Christ, greets you. He is always struggling in prayer on your behalf, so that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God.
For it was fitting for him, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
And by being perfected in this way, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him,
On this topic we have much to say and it is difficult to explain, since you have become sluggish in hearing.
Therefore we must progress beyond the elementary instructions about Christ and move on to maturity, not laying this foundation again: repentance from dead works and faith in God,
So if perfection had in fact been possible through the Levitical priesthood -- for on that basis the people received the law -- what further need would there have been for another priest to arise, said to be in the order of Melchizedek and not in Aaron's order? For when the priesthood changes, a change in the law must come as well. read more. Yet the one these things are spoken about belongs to a different tribe, and no one from that tribe has ever officiated at the altar. For it is clear that our Lord is descended from Judah, yet Moses said nothing about priests in connection with that tribe. And this is even clearer if another priest arises in the likeness of Melchizedek, who has become a priest not by a legal regulation about physical descent but by the power of an indestructible life. For here is the testimony about him: "You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek." On the one hand a former command is set aside because it is weak and useless, for the law made nothing perfect. On the other hand a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God.
For the law appoints as high priests men subject to weakness, but the word of solemn affirmation that came after the law appoints a son made perfect forever.
This was a symbol for the time then present, when gifts and sacrifices were offered that could not perfect the conscience of the worshiper.
For by one offering he has perfected for all time those who are made holy.
For God had provided something better for us, so that they would be made perfect together with us.
and congregation of the firstborn, who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous, who have been made perfect,
equip you with every good thing to do his will, working in us what is pleasing before him through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever. Amen.
And let endurance have its perfect effect, so that you will be perfect and complete, not deficient in anything.
All generous giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or the slightest hint of change.
But the one who peers into the perfect law of liberty and fixes his attention there, and does not become a forgetful listener but one who lives it out -- he will be blessed in what he does.
For we all stumble in many ways. If someone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect individual, able to control the entire body as well.
You have not seen him, but you love him. You do not see him now but you believe in him, and so you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy,