Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church: Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.
In the mysteries once the initiates have been initiated, they are called perfect. Once more Paul counters this saying that every child of God is presented perfected before God. Not because of any secret rite or work, but solely because of the eternal redemptive work of Jesus Christ. One day we shall indeed be presented perfect before the Father, but scripture speaks of a perfection that we may enjoy now before then.
The Bible uses the word perfect many times in relation to the Christian life. It is a word which is both misunderstood, and avoided by some Christians, yet the translators of our Bible were not so reticent to use it. Perhaps the reason why it is shunned is because of the connotations it has associated with it. When one mentions the word perfect, or perfection many minds immediately think of sinless perfection. This is not what the scripture means when it speaks of perfection. The context of each passage where this word occurs determines its meaning.
The word used here for perfect is teleois and is an adjective.
Vine makes these comments about teleois.
Teleios: signifies having reached its end, finished complete perfect. It is used (I) of persons (a) primarily of physical development then with ethical import, fully grown, mature I Cor.2:6; 14:20; (“men “of full age); Eph.4:13; Phil.3:15; Col.1:28; 4:12Heb.5:14 RV full grown (margin) perfect) AV of full age.
The meaning of the word has to be considered in the context in which it is used. Here we will use a small selection of its usage in scripture.
Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;
Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.
Writing of the OC the writer to the Hebrews tells us that the OT sacrifices could not make any one perfect as concerning the conscience. The sacrifices were only for the purifying of the external, they could never reach the conscience.
By nature, we are alienated from God by our sin. This is seen in the Garden of Eden where Adam and Eve hid themselves after they had disobeyed God, Gen.3:7-10. No one told them they were naked, but it was their consciences that prompted such a reaction they had. So much so they could not bear being in the presence of God.
God’s salvation was to deal with the defiled conscience, so that men and women could once more enter God’s presence. Animal sacrifices could not, and never would be able to cleanse the conscience. Only the eternal sacrifice of Jesus could do that. Jesus’ precious blood cleanses our conscience from dead works so that we may be able to serve the living God. Only by His great redemption can we have peace with God and enjoy communion with Him.
All the efforts of the world, whether by sophistry, Vain Philosophy, Legalism or Mysticism can never give us that pure cleansed conscious. Only the blood of the Lamb can take away sin, remove the inward stain and sanctify the heart. All other efforts to restore men and women to God’s favour are doomed to fail. If persisted in, they lead the follower into great deception and endangers their immortal soul. Christ is the only answer to a defiled conscience.
E2.3 Good works
The God of peace … make you perfect (=fitted or suited) in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
We have been saved unto good works Eph.2:10, which God has prepared for us. The Hebrews quote tells us that the God of peace will make us perfect in every good work. This is the same idea as is found in:
Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
God wills it in us to do, then works to do it. But then it is our responsibility to work it out. This is how God makes perfect or suited to do the good works that He has for us. The works are not of our choosing, but what He wills in us. It is then up to us to respond accordingly.
There are other mentions of perfection for the believer in the NT and the reader is encouraged to search the scriptures for themselves.