An Urgent Call to Christian Perfection
An Exposition of the Doctrine of Christian Perfection
by Tom Stewart
"Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; For I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30).
he things which we
both have seen and known from the beginning about the LORD Jesus Christ are the things
which I must share with you. Even as we "have
tasted that the LORD is gracious" (1Peter
2:3) and "our hands have handled, of the
Word of life" (1John 1:1), even so these
things that I am writing, I write because I desire to have fellowship with you: "and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with
His Son Jesus Christ" (1John 1:3).
Why am I writing to you about the doctrine of Christian perfection?
First, because I desire to be like the Master. I do not wish to be superior to my Master, but I want to be like Him. "The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master" (Luke 6:40).
Second, because Christ prayed for our unity. "I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be perfect in One" (John 17:23).
Third, because if you are reading this, you have, most likely, demonstrated faith in Christ. I write to you, not as though you have not demonstrated saving faith, but "we speak wisdom among them that are perfect" (1Corinthians 2:6).
Fourth, because I desire to promote the unity of our faith unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. Likewise, with whatever degree of gift that I can minister, I am writing this "for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:12-13).
Fifth, because I desire to present you perfect in Christ Jesus. Unapologetically, I must preach to you Christ, The Hope of Glory, "warning every man in all wisdom that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus" (Colossians 1:28).
Sixth, because I desire that you may know the Word of God more perfectly, that you may do all the will of God. I encourage you to search the Scriptures to see whether the things I write to you are so (Acts 17:11), because "all Scripture is given by inspiration of God... That the man of God may be perfect" (2Timothy 3:16,17). Not only may he be perfect, but he will be perfect. The place of his perfection is not simply in Heaven, but on earth where Christ prayed for it: "Thy will be done in earth, as it is in Heaven" (Matthew 6:10).
And finally, I write this because Christ insists upon our perfection here and now. After all, the only reason why we ought to insist upon any doctrine is because our LORD and Teacher insists upon it. "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect" (Matthew 5:48).
I am well aware that our beloved brother Paul plainly warns us as he did Timothy: "If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our LORD Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; he is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmising, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness; from such withdraw thyself" (1Timothy 6:3-5). I, too, desire to consent to wholesome words and to the doctrine which is according to godliness.
For this reason, I am writing to you to set forth the doctrine of Christian perfection (or, entire sanctification). Simply put, Christian perfection is to appropriate Christ by faith in all of His offices, capacities, and relations to meet our every need in life... "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith" (Hebrews 12:20, Who "shall supply all [our] need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19), Who is our "Jehovah Jireh" (Genesis 22:14) (literally, the LORD will provide).
|I.||Unrealistic Idea of Perfection? or, Are We Compassed About With So Great a Cloud of Witnesses?|
|A.||Andrew Murray: Be Perfect: A Devotional Study of Christ's Command (1893)|
|B.||John Wesley: A Plain Account of Christian Perfection (1767)|
|C.||Charles G. Finney: Finney's Systematic Theology (1846)|
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