Biblical Perfection – By Peter Wiseman

Chapter 1

Perfection Among Biblical Expressions

… God … Make You Perfect . . .”Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,

“Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom 6e glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (Heb. 13:20, 21.)

The word Perfection is frequently used in the Bible concerning man and his character; it is used as not only necessary and essential in order for future blessedness but necessary and essential in order for heart satisfaction, for the highest Christian ethical living, and for the carrying out of the great commission. “A vast evangelistic advance,” says Dr. R. Newton Flew, in discussing Perfection, “can only be sustained if Christian ideal for this life is steadily set forth in all its beauty and its fullness as being by the grace of God something not impossible of attainment. If this principle be valid, it is likely that the ignoring of it will bring impoverishment and arrest.” [1]

“Perfection,” says S. T Coleridge, “is one of those terms which, however they may have been perverted to the purpose of fanaticism, are not only Scriptural, but of too frequent occurrence in Scripture to be overlooked by silence.” [2]

“A relative perfection is possible to mortals in this life. We are living below the level the New Testament teaches as normal. Saints could be as common as now they are rare.” [3]

“No word has been the occasion of so much stumbling and controversy among Christians,” says Dr. Thomas Cook, “as this word ‘perfect.’ But the term is a spiritual one and is used more frequently in the Bible than any other single term to set forth Christian experience. It occurs one hundred and thirty-eight times in the Scriptures, and in more than fifty of these instances it refers to human character under the operation of grace. . . . Forty-five times the Israelites are commanded to bring sacrifices without blemish, and every time the word should have been translated perfect. By such impressive symbols God would teach that the heart of the offerer must be perfect before Him.

“Opening the New Testament we find the word ‘perfect’ dropping from the lips of Christ, and from the pen of Paul, seventeen times as descriptive of fitness for the kingdom of God; while the cognate noun ‘perfect’ is twice used, and the verb ‘to perfect’ fourteen times. Instead of finding fault with a word which the Spirit of inspiration sees fit to use with such persistency from Genesis to the Epistle of John, should we not rather endeavor to arrive at its true Scriptural meaning.” [4]