“Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.” 2 Corinthians 13:11
I found a wealth of knowledge under the Biblical subject of being “perfect.” It was very interesting to find the differing opinions over whether or not Christian perfection is possible. Mostly I found that perfection was symbolic of sanctification, which is progressive. I was especially surprised by the commentators who believe that there is such a thing as entire or complete perfection and or sanctification.
I determined early on in my research on freedom in Christ that sanctification is definitely part of the process that leads to our freedom. And to me when I look at all the verses I studied, as well as all the commentaries I read on being perfect, it appears that it all comes back to one of my favorite quotes by Oswald Chambers: "The Christian life is gloriously difficult, but its difficulty does not make us faint and cave in—it stirs us up to overcome.”
My final choice on this particular topic puts the thought into perfect perspective. It took a long time to find it, but I knew in my heart what I was looking for all along.
C. A. Bartol titles the following illustration Perfection:
To most persons this is discouraging language. But the idea is, not that we should grasp perfection as an immediate result, but make it our aim; and this, so far from discouraging, only inspires.
How many are satisfied to be as good as others, to reach the current medium of reputable character! But what is this perfection? First, it includes all the virtues. It suffers us not to rely on some good qualities to the neglect of others, or to hope that we can, by a partial innocence, compound with God for the commission of any sin.
In the scales of His justice generosity will not atone for intemperance, irritability, or dishonesty. Again, perfection requires that each quality should be free from taint, like the Jew's unblemished offering, and without debasing alloy.
Lastly, perfection requires that all the graces be expanded to an unlimited degree. But, immeasurable as perfection is, shall it not be our aim? See how every thing great and good on this earth has grown out of the aim at perfection.
Its fruits, if not in religion, are everywhere else around us. Why do we live in such comfortable dwellings? Because men were not satisfied with a cave in the ground or a rude fabric above it; but aimed at perfection. Why that proudest monument of architectural skill careering swiftly between continents, through the waste of waters? Because men were not satisfied with the creaking raft.
There, again, is a man who has toiled in loneliness and secrecy upon the strings of a musical instrument till he has concentrated all the sweet sounds of nature into that little space, and can draw forth liquid melodies and mingling harmonies, the voice of birds, and the flow of streams; now the sounds of laughter, and anon [another time] the sobs of prayer, to the astonishment of assembled thousands.
And shall Christians debate whether it is a possible or reasonable thing to make a perfect piety to God and charity to man their standard? No: there is no other aim worthy of your immortal natures. There is no perfection so glorious as that of moral and religious goodness. Satisfy yourselves no longer with moderate attainments.