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 think that I have come to do away with the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to do away with them, but to complete them. For I tell you, until the heavens and the earth disappear, not even the smallest letter, nor one stroke of a letter, shall disappear from the Law until all is done. read more. Whoever, therefore, breaks one of these commandments, even the least of them, and teaches others to do so, will be the least- esteemed in the Kingdom of Heaven; but whoever keeps them, and teaches others to do so, will be esteemed great in the Kingdom of Heaven. Indeed I tell you that, unless your religion is above that of the Teachers of the Law, and Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven. You have heard that to our ancestors it was said--'Thou shalt not commit murder,' and 'Whoever commits murder shall be liable to answer for it to the Court.' I, however, say to you that any one who cherishes anger against his brother shall be liable to answer for it to the Court; and whoever pours contempt upon his brother shall be liable to answer for it to the High Council, while whoever calls down curses upon him shall be liable to answer for it in the fiery Pit. Therefore, when presenting your gift at the altar, if even there you remember that your brother has some grievance against you, Leave your gift there, before the altar, go and be reconciled to your brother, first, then come and present your gift. Be ready to make friends with your opponent, even when you meet him on your way to the court; for fear that he should hand you over to the judge, and the judge to his officer, and you should be thrown into prison. I tell you, you will not come out until you have paid the last penny. You have heard that it was said--'Thou shalt not commit adultery.' I, however, say to you that any one who looks at a woman with an impure intention has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye is a snare to you, take it out and throw it away. It would be best for you to lose one part of your body, and not to have the whole of it thrown into the Pit. And, if your right hand is a snare to you, cut it off and throw it away. It would be best for you to lose one part of your body, and not to have the whole of it go down to the Pit. It was also said--'Let any one who divorces his wife serve her with a notice of separation.' I, however, say to you that any one who divorces his wife, except on the ground of her unchastity, leads to her committing adultery; while any one who marries her after her divorce is guilty of adultery. Again, you have heard that to our ancestors it was said--'Thou shalt not break an oath, but thou shall keep thine oaths as a debt due to the Lord.' I, however, say to you that you must not swear at all, either by Heaven, since that is God's throne, Or by the earth, since that is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, since that is the city of the Great King. Nor should you swear by your head, since you cannot make a single hair either white or black. Let your words be simply 'Yes' or 'No'; anything beyond this comes from what is wrong. You have heard that it was said--'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' I, however, say to you that you must not resist wrong; but, if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other to him also; And, when any one wants to go to law with you, to take your coat, let him have your cloak as well; And, if any one compels you to go one mile, go two miles with him. Give to him who asks of you; and, from him who wants to borrow from you, do not turn away. You have heard that it was said--'Thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thy enemy.' I, however, say to you--Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, That you may become Sons of your Father who is in Heaven; for he causes his sun to rise upon bad and good alike, and sends rain upon the righteous and upon the unrighteous. For, if you love only those who love you, what reward will you have? Even the tax-gatherers do this! And, if you show courtesy to your brothers only, what are you doing more than others? Even the Gentiles do this! You, then, must become perfect--as your heavenly Father is perfect.
You, then, must become perfect--as your heavenly Father is perfect.
You, then, must become perfect--as your heavenly Father is perfect.
You, then, must become perfect--as your heavenly Father is perfect.
You, then, must become perfect--as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Do to others whatever you would wish them to do to you; for that is the teaching of both the Law and the Prophets.
Then Peter came up, and said to Jesus: "Master, how often am I to forgive my Brother when he wrongs me? As many as seven times?" But Jesus answered: "Not seven times, but 'seventy times seven.'
"If you wish to be perfect," answered Jesus, "go and sell your property, and give to the poor, and you shall have wealth in Heaven; then come and follow me."
And, as Jesus was resuming his journey, a man came running up to him, and threw himself on his knees before him. "Good Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to gain Immortal Life?" "Why do you call me good?" answered Jesus. "No one is good but God. read more. You know the commandments--'Do not kill. Do not commit adultery. Do not steal. Do not say what is false about others. Do not cheat. Honor thy father and thy mother.'" "Teacher," he replied, "I have observed all these from my childhood." Jesus looked at the man, and his heart went out to him, and he said: "There is still one thing wanting in you; go and sell all that you have, and give to the poor, and you shall heave wealth in Heaven; then come and follow me." But the man's face clouded at these words, and he went away distressed, for he had great possessions. Then Jesus looked round, and said to his disciples: "How hard it will be for men of wealth to enter the Kingdom of God!" The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again: "My children, how hard a thing it is to enter the Kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to get through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God." "Then who can be saved?" they exclaimed in the greatest astonishment. Jesus looked at them, and answered: "With men it is impossible, but not with God; for everything is possible with God." "But we," began Peter, "we left everything and have followed you." "I tell you," said Jesus, "there is no one who has left house, or brothers, or sisters, or mother, or father, or children, or land, on my account and on account of the Good News, Who will not receive a hundred times as much, even now in the present--houses, and brothers, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and land--though not without persecutions, and, in the age that is coming, Immortal Life. But many who are first now will then be last, and the last will be first."
"You have answered right," said Jesus; "do that, and you shall live."
And one of the Presidents asked Jesus this question--"Good Teacher, what must I do if I am to gain Immortal Life?" "Why do you call me good?" answered Jesus. "No one is good but God. read more. You know the commandments--'Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not say what is false about others, Honor thy father and thy mother.'" "I have observed all these," he replied, "from childhood." Hearing this, Jesus said to him: "There is one thing still lacking in you; sell everything that you have, and distribute to the poor, and you shall have wealth in Heaven; then come and follow me." But the man became greatly distressed on hearing this, for he was extremely rich. Seeing this, Jesus said to his disciples: "How hard it is for men of wealth to enter the Kingdom of God! It is easier, indeed, for a camel to get through a needle's eye than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God!" "Then who can be saved?" asked those who heard this. But Jesus said: "What is impossible with men is possible with God." "But we," said Peter, "we left what belonged to us and followed you." "I tell you," he answered, "that there is no one who has left house, or wife, or brothers, or parents, or children, on account of the Kingdom of God, Who will not receive many times as much in the present, and in the age that is coming Immortal Life."
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and through sin came death; so, also, death spread to all mankind, because all men had sinned. Even before the time of the Law there was sin in the world; but sin cannot be charged against a man where no Law exists. read more. Yet, from Adam to Moses, Death reigned even over those whose sin was not a breach of a law, as Adam's was. And Adam foreshadows the One to come. But there is a contrast between Adam's Offence and God's gracious Gift. For, if by reason of the offence of the one man the whole race died, far more were the loving-kindness of God, and the gift given in the loving-kindness of the one man, Jesus Christ, lavished upon the whole race. There is a contrast, too, between the gift and the results of the one man's sin. The judgment, which followed upon the one man's sin, resulted in condemnation, but God's gracious Gift, which followed upon many offences, resulted in a decree of righteousness. For if, by reason of the offence of the one man, Death reigned through that one man, far more will those, upon whom God's loving- kindness and his gift of righteousness are lavished, find Life, and reign through the one man, Jesus Christ. Briefly then, just as a single offence resulted for all mankind in condemnation, so, too, a single decree of righteousness resulted for all mankind in that declaration of righteousness which brings Life. For, as through the disobedience of the one man the whole race was rendered sinful, so, too, through the obedience of the one, the whole race will be rendered righteous. Law was introduced in order that offences might be multiplied. But, where sins were multiplied, the loving-kindness of God was lavished the more, In order than, just as Sin had reigned in the realm of Death, so, too, might Loving-kindness reign through righteousness, and result in Immortal Life, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
What are we to say, then? Are we to continue to sin, in order that God's loving-kindness may be multiplied? Heaven forbid! We became dead to sin, and how can we go on living in it? read more. Or can it be that you do not know that all of us, who were baptized into union with Christ Jesus, in our baptism shared his death? Consequently, through sharing his death in our baptism, we were buried with him; that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by a manifestation of the Father's power, so we also may live a new Life. If we have become united with him by the act symbolic of his death, surely we shall also become united with him by the act symbolic of his resurrection. We recognize the truth that our old self was crucified with Christ, in order that the body, the stronghold of Sin, might be rendered powerless, so that we should no longer be slaves to Sin. For the man who has so died has been pronounced righteous and released from Sin. And our belief is, that, as we have shared Christ's Death, we shall also share his Life. We know, indeed, that Christ, having once risen from the dead, will not die again. Death has power over him no longer. For the death that he died was a death to sin, once and for all. But the Life that he now lives, he lives for God. So let it be with you-regard yourselves as dead to sin, but as living for God, through union with Christ Jesus.
Miserable man that I am! Who will deliver me from the body that is bringing me to this Death? Thank God, there is deliverance through Jesus Christ, our Lord! Well then, for myself, with my reason I serve the Law of God, but with my earthly nature the Law of Sin.
You, however, are not earthly but spiritual, since the Spirit of God lives within you. Unless a man has the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ;
Do not conform to the fashion of this world; but be transformed by the complete change that has come over your minds, so that you may discern what God's will is--all that is good, acceptable, and perfect.
Let your love be sincere. Hate the wrong; cling to the right.
Owe nothing to any one except brotherly love; for he who loves his fellow men has satisfied the Law. The commandments, 'Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not covet,' and whatever other commandment there is, are all summed up in the words--'Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thou dost thyself.' read more. Love never wrongs a neighbor. Therefore Love fully satisfies the Law. This I say, because you know the crisis that we have reached, for the time has already come for you to rouse yourselves from sleep; our Salvation is nearer now than when we accepted the Faith. The night is almost gone; the day is near. Therefore let us have done with the deeds of Darkness, and arm ourselves with the weapons of Light. Being in the light of Day, let us live becomingly, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lust and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. No! Arm yourselves with the spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ, and spend no thought on your earthly nature, to satisfy its cravings.
But I appeal to you, Brothers, by the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to agree in what you profess, and not to allow divisions to exist among you, but to be united-of one mind and of one opinion.
Yet there is a philosophy that we teach to those whose faith is matured, but it is not the philosophy of to-day, nor that of the leaders of to-day-men whose downfall is at hand.
But I, Brothers, could not speak to you as men with spiritual insight, but only as worldly-minded-mere infants in the Faith of Christ.
Brothers, do not show yourselves children in understanding. In wickedness be infants, but in understanding show yourselves men.
But the fruit produced by the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindliness, generosity, trustfulness, gentleness, self-control.
And those who belong to Jesus, the Christ, have already crucified their earthly nature, with its passions and its cravings. Since our Life is due to the Spirit, let us rule our conduct also by the Spirit.
For this reason, then, I kneel before the Father-- From whom all 'fatherhood' in Heaven and on earth derives its name-- read more. And pray that, in proportion to the wealth of his glory, he will strengthen you with his power by breathing his Spirit into your inmost soul, So that the Christ, through your faith, may make his home within your hearts in love; And I pray that you, now firmly rooted and established, may, with all Christ's People, Have the power to comprehend in all its width and length and height and depth, And to understand--though it surpasses all understanding--the love of the Christ; and so be filled to the full with God himself. To him who, through his power which is at work within us, is able to do far more than anything that we can ask or conceive--
To him who, through his power which is at work within us, is able to do far more than anything that we can ask or conceive--
And striving to maintain in the bond of peace the unity given by the Spirit. There is but one Body and one Spirit, just as there was but one hope set before you when you received your Call. read more. There is but one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism.
With their powers of discernment darkened, cut off from the Life of God, owing to the ignorance that prevails among them and to the hardness of their hearts.
Therefore imitate God, as his dear children,
For of this I am confident, that he who began a good work in you will complete it in readiness for the Day of Jesus Christ.
Remember it is God who, in his kindness, is at work within you, enabling you both to will and to work.
Not that I have already laid hold of it, or that I am already made perfect. But I press on, in the hope of actually laying hold of that for which indeed I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.
Let all of us, then, whose faith is mature, think thus. Then, if on any matter you think otherwise, God will make that also plain to you.
All joy be yours at all times in your union with the Lord. Again I repeat--All joy be yours. Let your forbearing spirit be plain to every one. The Lord is near. read more. Do not be anxious about anything; but under all circumstances, by prayer and entreaty joined with thanksgiving, make your needs known to God. Then the Peace of God, which is beyond all human understanding, will stand guard over your hearts and thoughts, through your union with Christ Jesus. In conclusion, Brothers, wherever you find anything true or honorable, righteous or pure, lovable or praiseworthy, or if 'virtue' and 'honour' have any meaning, there let your thoughts dwell. All that you learned and received and heard and saw in me put into practice continually; and then God, the giver of peace, will be with you.
I can do everything in the strength of him who makes me strong!
And who told us of the love with which the Spirit has inspired you. And therefore we, from the very day that we heard this, have never ceased praying for you, or asking that you may possess that deeper knowledge of the will of God, which comes through all true spiritual wisdom and insight.
And therefore we, from the very day that we heard this, have never ceased praying for you, or asking that you may possess that deeper knowledge of the will of God, which comes through all true spiritual wisdom and insight. Then you will live lives worthy of the Master, and so please God in every way. Your lives will be fruitful in every kind of good action, and your characters will grow through a fuller knowledge of God; read more. You will be made strong at all points with a strength worthy of the power manifested in his Glory--strong to endure with patience, and even with gladness, whatever may befall you; And you will give thanks to the Father who made you fit to share the lot which awaits Christ's People in the realms of Light. For God has rescued us from the tyranny of Darkness, and has removed us into the Kingdom of his Son, who is the embodiment of his love, And through whom we have found deliverance in the forgiveness of our sins. For Christ is the very incarnation of the invisible God-- First-born and Head of all creation; For in him was created all that is in Heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible--Angels and Archangels and all the Powers of Heaven. All has been created through him and for him. He was before all things, and all things unite in him; And he is the Head of the Church, which is his Body. The First-born from the dead, he is to the Church the Source of its Life, that he, in all things, may stand first. For it pleased the Father that in him the divine nature in all its fulness should dwell, And through him to reconcile all things to himself (making peace by the shedding of Christ's blood offered upon the cross)-- whether on earth or in Heaven. And it pleased God that you, once estranged from him and hostile towards him in your thoughts, intent only on wickedness-- But now he has reconciled you to himself by the sacrifice of Christ's earthly body in death--it has pleased God that you should stand in his presence holy, pure, and blameless, If only you remain true to your Faith, firm and immovable, never abandoning the hope held out in the Good News to which you listened, which has been proclaimed among all created things under Heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.
This is the Christ whom we proclaim, warning every one, and instructing every one, with all the wisdom that we possess, in the hope of bringing every one into God's presence perfected by union with Christ.
Over all these virtues put on love; for that is the girdle which makes all complete.
Epaphras, who is one of yourselves, sends you his greeting. He is a servant of Christ Jesus, and is always most earnest in your behalf in his prayers, praying that you may stand firm, with a matured faith and with a sure conviction of all that is in accordance with God's will.
It was, indeed, fitting that God, for whom and through whom all things exist, should, when leading many sons to glory, make the author of their Salvation perfect through suffering.
and, being made perfect, he became to all those who obey him the source of eternal Salvation,
Now on this subject I have much to say, but it is difficult to explain it to you, because you have shown yourselves so slow to learn.
Therefore, let us leave behind the elementary teaching about the Christ and press on to perfection, not always laying over again a foundation of repentance for a lifeless formality, of faith in God--
If, then, Perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood--and it was under this priesthood that the people received the Law--why was it still necessary that a priest of a different order should appear, a priest of the order of Melchizedek and not of the order of Aaron? With the change of the priesthood a change of the Law became a necessity. read more. And he of whom all this is said belonged to quite a different tribe, no member of which has ever served at the altar. For it is plain that our Lord ad sprung from the tribe of Judah, though of that tribe Moses said nothing about their being priests. All this becomes even yet plainer when we remember that a new priest has appeared, resembling Melchizedek, and that he was appointed, not under a Law regulating only earthly matters, but by virtue of a life beyond the reach of death; for that is the meaning of the declaration-- 'Thou art for all time a priest of the order of Melchizedek.' On the one hand, we have the abolition of a previous regulation as being both inefficient and useless (for the Law never brought anything to perfection); and, on the other hand, we have the introduction of a better hope, which enables us to draw near to God.
The Law appoints as High Priests men who are liable to infirmity, but the words of God's oath, which was later than the Law, name the Son as, for all time, the perfect Priest.
For that was only a type, to continue down to the present time; and, in keeping with it, both gifts and sacrifices are offered, though incapable of satisfying the conscience of the worshiper;
By a single offering he has made perfect for all time those who are being purified.
since God had in view some better thing for us, that they, apart from us, should not attain perfection.
to the festal gathering and assemblage of God's Eldest Sons whose names are enrolled in Heaven, to God the Judge of all men, to the spirits of the righteous who have attained perfection,
may God make you perfect in everything that is good, so that you may be able to do his will. May he bring out in us all that is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be all glory for ever and ever. Amen.
And let endurance do its work perfectly, so that you may be altogether perfect, and in no respect deficient.
Every good thing given us, and every perfect gift, is from above, and comes down to us from the Maker of the Lights in the heavens, who is himself never subject to change or to eclipse.
But he who looks carefully into the perfect Law, the Law of Freedom, and continues to do so, not listening to it and then forgetting it, but putting it into practice--that man will be blessed in what he does.
We often make mistakes, every one of us. Any one who does not make mistakes when speaking is indeed a perfect man, able to bridle his whole body as well.
Though you have never seen him, yet you love him; though you do not even now see him, yet you believe in him, and exalt with a triumphant happiness too great for words,