Can we become perfect?

Question:

What is perfection? Can we, as Christians, obtain perfection? If so, how do we obtain it?


Answer:

The Greek word translated as "perfect" is the word teleion. It means something that is complete, perfect, whole, full-grown, ripe, mature, or adult. Thus, becoming perfect is just another way of saying you have matured. In "Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away" (I Corinthians 2:6) the old KJV uses the word "perfect" in place of "mature." The same word is also used in "Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature" (I Corinthians 14:20). That is the purpose of the church and its leaders. They exist to help Christians grow up to be like Christ (Ephesians 4:11-16). Such maturity is gained through experience. "But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil" (Hebrews 5:14).

Can we obtain perfection, or maturity? Yes. "Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained. Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us" (Philippians 3:15-17). Maturity is gained by living by the same standard that made us Christians in the first place. The attitude that Paul talked about is in the prior verses: "More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:8-12). You mature by focusing on where you are going and not on where you had been.