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William Andrew Dillard

In His tremendous “Sermon on the Mount.” Jesus taught His the newly formed nucleus of His church to “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” This admonition is a stopper, a virtual brick wall to disciples who pass around it, leaving it in the bin of incomprehensible possibilities. Much of the problem with the statement is that of accepted, or colloquial, assignment of word definition to the contrary. In modern day preachments and personal castigations, “Perfect” is implied and inferred as meaning without sin or error. In many modern contexts as well as in biblical usage, the term means “Complete.” Jesus wanted His disciples to grow in knowledge and grace to be complete in their understanding of God’s will and way for human life.
A brief look at how the term is used in the Bible is in order. Noah was perfect [compete] in his generations, and walked with God, Genesis 6:9. When God appeared unto Abraham He said, “I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou [complete, whole, not fragmented] perfect.” Genesis 17:1. God Himself testified of Job to Satan, “Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect [complete] and an upright man. . . “ Job. 1:1. Such usages continue.
The apostle Paul reminded the church at Ephesus that Jesus upon His resurrection and ascension gave gifts unto men “For the perfecting of the saints. . . till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, . . . “ Eph. 4:12-13. In keeping with that, Paul prayed in ceaseless thanksgiving for the church that God would give to them “A spirit of wisdom and of revelation in full knowledge of Him.” Eph.1: 17 That spirit would bring the church at Ephesus and every other New Testament church into a state of maturity known as perfect or complete.
The world, even the religious world cannot comprehend the faith once delivered unto the saints. Salvation by grace through faith plus nothing else is totally foreign to their thinking, and it simply cannot be apprehended by the carnal mind. The same is true with other cardinal doctrines of the Word, especially including the doctrines of the church. So Paul made such prayers for the church which are similar to Jesus’ prayer for the church in John 17:23, “. . . That they may be made perfect in one. . . “
The churches and pastors who may be treading water, so to speak, by engaging in religious activity without any plan to impart the tenants of the faith once delivered to the saints fail in bringing disciples to that biblically enjoined state of perfection and its subsequent peace and rest. It seems there is time for everything but prayer and meditation in the Word. But even the ancient prophet Isaiah wrote, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect [complete] peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” Isa. 26:3. Yes, saints may arrive at that blessed state of maturity in the faith that is called “Perfect,” but even then there is no stopping to the learning process. How wonderful!

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HEBREWS – Undefiled




Psa_119:1 also stands out as a verse that speaks of being blessed: “Blessed are the undefiled in the way.” The Hebrew here for undefiled is tāmiym (H8549), an adjective that speaks of being “blameless, complete, and without blemish.”


In more than half its OT occurrences, tāmiym describes an animal to be sacrificed to the Lord, whether a ram, a bull, or a lamb, since such animals were required to be “without blemish” (e.g., Exo_29:1; Lev_4:3; Lev_14:10). It is also used to refer to time, as in a “whole” day (Jos_10:13), a “complete” seven Sabbaths (i.e., “weeks,” Lev_23:15), and a “full” year (Lev_25:30). When used in a moral sense, as it is here, tāmiym speaks of truth, integrity, virtue, uprightness, and righteousness. It appears, for example in Psa_18:23, where the psalmist again declares, “I was also upright before [God], and I kept myself from mine iniquity.” Solomon echoes this principle in Pro_11:5 : “The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way: but the wicked shall fall by his own wickedness.” (See also Jos_24:14, “sincerity”, and Pro_2:21, “perfect”).


Added to this word is the word way (derek, February 23), once again a marked-out pattern of life. True bliss and contentment, then, come when our pattern of life is characterized by unblemished behavior. How ironic (and tragic) that the world looks for happiness in the exact opposite, pursuing it in lawlessness and just living their own way, but they will never find it there. Every young person should be challenged with this principle. They might think they will be happy by doing what they want, but they will not. Hopefully, they will not have to find out the hard way that true contentment, bliss, meaning, purpose, and peace will come by a life of unblemished behavior, a lifestyle that is characterized by purity. Charles Spurgeon put it well when he wrote in his classic The Treasury of David: “Doubtless, the more complete our sanctification the more intense our blessedness.” In other words, and let us mark this down: The holier we live, the more content we will be.


Scriptures for Study: Who is spoken of as being undefiled (“perfect”) in Gen_6:9; Gen_17:1? In Psa_15:1-5, what other traits characterize those who will abide with God (“uprightly” is tāmiym)?




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