Biblical Perfection Centers in The Christ of Calvary
Biblical perfection centers in the Christ. Apart from Him there can be no such perfection. He is our “all and in all” in this regard. To the church at Ephesus, in speaking on the purpose of the offices and officers in the church, Paul says “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (4:12-16).
The Christian, with a pure heart, perfect love, will have obtained the immediate objective, but his ultimate objective will be “The measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Eph. 4:12-16). That is not Only true of the individual but it is true of the church collectively. Stability is the lesson of verse fourteen, “No more children, tossed to and fro”; sanctified spirit is outstanding in verse fifteen, “speaking the truth in love,” “for the letter killeth but the spirit giveth life”, spiritual advancement, “may grow up into him in all things.” Edification in love is the lesson of verse sixteen.
Paul continues in this great Chapter to show that Christ is the truth, for He said, “I am the Truth.” He is the lesson of truth, “learned Christ” (v. 20). He is the Teacher of truth, have “been taught by Him” (v. 21). He is the standard of truth, “As the truth is in Jesus” (v. 21); not so much the Creed or articles of religion (they may help), but truth as it is in Christ Jesus.
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Biblical Perfection Includes The Cross of Christ
There can be no perfection apart from the cross; neither in the crisis experience, nor in the process and development in the life of the sanctified.
The cross of Christ stands for crucifixion which leads to the crisis of death and crucifixion as a life. To the Galatians, Paul said: “I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (2:20). Literally, I have been crucified with Christ and I live no longer. After the crisis, comes the life, “And the life I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God.” In the same letter, Paul speaks further of that life which he expresses in the words, “The life I now live,” when he says in chapter six, verse fourteen: “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”
Thus, the crucified life; indeed, the cross Paul gloried in is the cross that crucified the world to him. The challenge of the cross involves the whole life of the cross as well as the crisis (Matt. 16:24, 25).
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Biblical Perfection Includes Christian Consecration
God cannot keep that which is not committed to Him. We must do the committing, then He will do the keeping. Consecration to God as a living sacrifice is all inclusive and absolutely necessary in view of the experience and life of perfect love (Romans 12:1, 2). “The body with all its faculties; the soul with all its affections, tastes and appetites; the substance with all its gains and uses, including business pursuits and social relations, recreations, education, thought and reading, embracing all our advantages natural and acquired; indeed, our whole life, together with our death, grave and memory, must be given to Christ and placed under contribution for His glory”; or as
Miss Frances Ridley Havergal puts it: “A Cathedral window seen from without is dull and meaningless; but enter and the light of heaven beams through it with every beauty of form and color. Consecration to God for service may seem dull enough when seen from without but enter into that experience and the light of Divine love streaming through it shall glorify your life with a beauty and blessedness which are Heaven’s own.”
“Take my life and let it be Consecrated, Lord, to Thee; Take my moments and my days, Let them flow in ceaseless praise.
“Take my hands and let them move At the impulse of Thy love; Take my feet and let them be Swift and beautiful for Thee.
“Take my silver and my gold– Not a mite would I withhold; Take my intellect and use Every power as Thou shalt choose.
“Take my voice and let me sing Always, only, for my King; Take my lips and let them be Filled with messages from Thee.
“Take my will and make it Thine, It shall be no longer mine; Take my heart, it is Thine own; It shall be Thy royal throne.”
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Biblical Perfection Includes Christian Communion
Communion suggests the idea of spiritual relationship, whereas “partnership” suggests a business relationship; but spiritually, however, the Spirit enters into partnership with the saint; and on being received, the Holy Spirit becomes partner with and operates through sanctified personality. Thus communion of the Spirit suggests a common interest and a common objective in the work of Christianity.
Christians who enter into the experience of perfect love are called to enter into the suffering of Christ. Paul desired to “fill up that which was behind in the afflictions of Christ” (Col. 1:24). He desired to present himself as a medium through which Christ may carry on His work of salvation. Peter speaks of being “partakers of Christ’s suffering” (I Pet. 4:13). Christians must suffer with Him, if they would reign with Him: suffer with Him in the same cause, the glorious
cause of Christianity in relation to human redemption; suffer with Him to the same end, the glory of God; suffer with Him from the same source, the world, the flesh and the devil; suffer with Him in the same spirit, the spirit of the Master, the spirit of self-giving and unselfishness.