by Andrew Murray
PREFACE and PRAYER
If any one takes up this little volume with the idea of
finding a theory of Perfection expounded or vindicated, he
will be disappointed. My object has been a very different
one. What I have wished to do is to go with my reader
through the Word of God, noting the principal passages in
which the word "Perfect" occurs, and seeking in each case
from the context to find what the impression is the word was
meant to convey. It is only when we have yielded ourselves
simply and prayerfully to allow the words of Scripture to
have their full force, that we are on the right track for
combining the different aspects of truth into one harmonious
Among the thoughts which have specially been brought home
to me in these meditations, and in which I trust I may
secure the assent of my reader, the following are the chief:
1. There is a Perfection of which Scripture speaks as
possible and attainable. There may be, there is, great
diversity of opinion as to how the term is to be defined.
But there can be only one opinion as to the fact that God
asks and expects His children to be perfect with Him; that
He promises it as His own work; and that Scripture speaks of
some as having been perfect before Him, and having served
Him with a perfect heart. Scripture speaks of a Perfection
that is at once our duty and our hope.
2. To know what this Perfection is we must begin by
accepting the command, and obeying it with our whole heart.
Our natural tendency is the very opposite. We want to
discuss and define what Perfection is, to understand how the
command can be reconciled with our assured conviction that
no man is perfect, to provide for all the dangers we are
sure are to be found in the path of Perfection.
This is not God's way. Jesus said, "If any man will do,
he will know." The same principle holds good in all human
attainment. It is only he who has accepted the command, "Be
perfect," in adoring submission and obedience, who can hope
to know what the Perfection is that God asks and gives.
Until the Church is seen prostrate before God, seeking this
blessing as her highest good, it will be no wonder if the
very word "Perfection," instead of being an attraction and a
joy, is a cause of apprehension and anxiety, of division and
offence. May God increase the number of those who, in
childlike humility, take the word from His own lips, as a
living seed, in the assurance that it will bring forth much
3. Perfection is no arbitrary demand; in the very nature
of things God can ask nothing less. And this is true whether
we think of Him or of ourselves.
If we think of Him, who as God has created the universe
for Himself and for His glory, who seeks and alone is able
to fill it with His happiness and love, we see how
impossible it is for God to allow anything else to share
man's heart with Himself. God must be all and have all. As
Lawgiver and Judge; He dare not be content with anything
less than absolute legal perfection. As Redeemer and Father
it equally becomes Him to claim nothing less than a real
childlike perfection. God must have it all.
If we think of ourselves, the call to perfection is no
less imperative. God is such an Infinite, Spiritual Good,
and the soul is so incapable of receiving or knowing or
enjoying Him except as it gives itself wholly to Him, that
for our own sakes God's love can demand of us nothing less
than a perfect heart.
4. Perfection, as the highest aim of what God in His
great power would do for us, is something so Divine,
Spiritual, and Heavenly, that it is only the soul that
yields itself very tenderly to the leading of the Holy
Spirit that can hope to know its blessedness.
God has worked into every human heart a deep desire for
perfection. That desire is manifested in the admiration
which all men have for excellence in the different objects
or pursuits to which they attach value. In the believer who
yields himself wholly to God, this desire fastens itself
upon God's wonderful promises, and inspires a prayer like
that of M'Cheyne: "Lord, make me as holy as a pardoned
sinner can be made."
The more we learn to desire this full conformity to God's
will, for the consciousness that we are always pleasing to
Him, we will see that all this must come as a gift direct
from heaven. This gift is the full outbirth in us of the
life of God, the inbreathing of the Holy Spirit of Jesus in
those who are wholly yielded to His indwelling and rule.
Trusting ever less to men's thoughts and teachings, we will
retire often into the secret of God's presence, in the
assurance that the more we see God's face, and hear the
secret voice that comes direct from Him, "BE PERFECT," the
more will the Holy Spirit dwelling within us unfold the
heavenly fulness and power of the words, and make them, as
God's words, bring and give and create the very thing He
In the hope that these simple meditations may help some
of God's children to go on to Perfection, I commit them and
myself to the Blessed Father's teaching and keeping.
Ever BLESSED FATHER! You have sent me a message by Your
Beloved Son that I am to be perfect as You are perfect.
Coming from You, O You incomprehensible and most glorious
God, it means more than man can grasp. Coming to You, I ask
that You will Yourself teach me what it means, create in me
what it claims, give me what it promises.
My Father! I accept the word in the obedience of faith. I
will yield my life to its rule. I will hide it in my heart
as a living seed, in the assurance that there, deeper than
thought or feeling, Your Holy Spirit can make it strike root
and grow up.
And as I go through Your Word, to meditate on what it
says of the path of the perfect, teach me, O my Father, to
bring every thought of mine captive to the obedience of
Christ, and to wait for that teaching of Your Holy Spirit
which is so sure to the upright in heart. In Him, with whom
You have sent me the message, give me the answer to this
prayer also. Amen.
Day 1 -- A PERFECT HEART MAKES A PERFECT MAN.
"Noah was a righteous man, and perfect in his generation,
and Noah walked with God."
"And the Lord said unto Satan, Have you considered My
servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a
perfect and an upright man, one that fears God and shuns
Job 1: 8.
"The heart of David was perfect with the Lord his God."
1Kings 11: 4, 15: 3.
"Asa's heart was perfect with the Lord all his days."
Kings 15: 14.
We have grouped together four men, of all of whom Holy
Scripture testifies that they were perfect men, or that
their heart was perfect with God. Of each of them Scripture
testifies, too, that they were not perfect in the sense of
absolute sinlessness. We know how Noah fell. We know how Job
had to humble himself before God. We know how sadly David
sinned. And of Asa we read that there came a time when he
did foolishly, and relied on the Syrians and not on the Lord
his God; when in his disease he sought not to the Lord, but
to the physicians. And yet the heart of these men was
perfect with the Lord their God.
To understand this, there is one thing we must remember.
The meaning of the word "perfect" must in each case be
decided by that particular stage in God's education of His
people in which it is used. What a father or a teacher
counts perfection in a child of ten, is very different from
what he would call so in one of twenty. As to the
disposition or spirit, the perfection would be the same; in
its contents, as the proofs by which it was to be judged of,
there would be a wide difference. We shall see later on how
in the Old Testament nothing was really made perfect; how
Christ has come to reveal, and work out, and impart the true
perfection; how the perfection, as revealed in the New
Testament, is something infinitely higher, more spiritual
and efficacious, than under the old economy. And yet at root
they are one. God looks at the heart. A heart that is
perfect with Him is an object of complacency and approval. A
wholehearted consecration to His will and fellowship, a life
that takes as its motto, WHOLLY FOR GOD, has in all ages,
even where the Spirit had not yet been given to dwell in the
heart, been accepted by Him as the mark of the perfect man.
The lesson which these Scripture testimonies suggest to
us is a very simple, but a very searching one. In God's
record of the lives of His servants there are some of whom
it is written: his heart was perfect with the Lord his God.
Is this, let each reader ask, what God sees and says of me?
Does my life, in the sight of God, bear the mark of intense,
wholehearted consecration to God's will and service? of a
burning desire to be as perfect as it is possible for grace
to make me? Let us yield ourselves to the searching light of
this question. Let us believe that with this word PERFECT,
God means something very real and true. Let us not evade its
force, or hide ourselves from its condemning power, by the
vain subterfuge that we do not fully know what it means. We
must first accept it, and give up our lives to it, before we
can understand it. It cannot be insisted upon too strongly
that, whether in the Church at large and its teaching, or in
the life of the individual believer, there can be no hope of
comprehending what perfection is except as we count all
things loss to be apprehended of it, to live for it, to
accept of it, to possess it.
But so much we can understand. What I do with a perfect
heart I do with love and delight, with a willing mind and
all my strength. It implies a fixity of purpose, and a
concentration of effort, that makes everything subordinate
to the one object of my choice. This is what God asks, what
His saints have given, what we must give.
Again I say to every one who wishes to join me in
following through the Word of God its revelation of His will
concerning perfection, yield yourself to the searching
question: Can God say of me as of Noah and Job, of David and
Asa, that my heart is perfect with the Lord my God? Have I
given myself up to say that there must be nothing, nothing
whatever, to share my heart with God and His will? Is a
heart perfect with the Lord my God the object of my desire,
my prayer, my faith, my hope? Whether it has been so or not,
let it be so today. Make the promise of God's word your own:
"The God of peace Himself perfect you." The God, who is of
power to do above all we ask or think, will open up to you
the blessed prospect of a life of which He shall say: "His
heart was perfect with the Lord his God."
Day 2 -- WALK BEFORE ME, AND BE PERFECT.
"And when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord
appeared to Abram, and said to him, I am Almighty God: walk
before Me, and be perfect. And I will make My covenant
between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly. And
Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him." Gen. 17:
"You shall be perfect with the Lord your God." Deut. 18:
"Let your heart be perfect with the Lord your God to walk
in His statutes." 1 Kings 8: 61.
It was now twenty-four years since God had called Abram
to go out from his father's home, and that he had obeyed.
All that time he had been a learner in the school of faith.
The time was approaching for him to inherit the promise, and
God comes to establish His covenant with him. In view of
this, God meets him with this threefold word: I am Almighty
God: walk before Me: be perfect.
Be perfect. The connection in which we find the word will
help us to understand its meaning. God reveals Himself as
God Almighty. Abram's faith had long been tried: it was
about to achieve one of its greatest triumphs: faith was to
be changed to vision in the birth of Isaac. God invites
Abram more than ever to remember, and to rest upon, His
omnipotence. He is Almighty God: all things are possible to
Him: He holds rule over all. All His power is working for
those who trust Him. And all He asks of His servant is that
he be perfect with Him: give Him his whole heart, his
perfect confidence. God Almighty with all His power is
wholly for you; be wholly for God. The knowledge and faith
of what God is lies at the root of what we are to be: "I am
Almighty God: be perfect." As I know Him whose power fills
heaven and earth, I see that this is the one thing needed:
to be perfect with Him, wholly and entirely given up to Him.
WHOLLY FOR GOD is the keynote of perfection.
Walk before Me, and be perfect. It is in the life
fellowship with God, in His realized presence and favor,
that it becomes possible to be perfect with Him. Walk before
Me Abraham had been doing this; God's word calls him to a
clearer and more conscious apprehension of this as his life
calling. It is easy for us to study what Scripture says of
perfection, to form our ideas of it, and argue for them. But
let us remember that it is only as we are walking closely
with God, seeking and in some measure attaining,
uninterrupted communion with Him, that the Divine command
will come to us in its Divine Power, and unfold to us its
Divine meaning. Walk before Me, and be perfect. God's
realized presence is the school, is the secret, of
perfection. It is only he who studies what perfection is in
the full light of God's presence to whom its hidden glory
will be opened up.
That realized presence is the great blessing of the
redemption in Jesus Christ. The veil has been rent, the way
into the true sanctuary, the Presence of God, has been
opened; we have access with boldness into the Holiest of
all. God, who has proved Himself God Almighty in raising
Jesus from the dead and setting Him, and us in Him, at His
right hand, speaks now to us: I am God Almighty: walk before
Me, and be perfect.
That command came not only to Abraham. Moses gave it to
the whole people of Israel; "You shall be perfect with the
Lord your God." It is for all Abraham's children; for all
the Israel of God; for every believer. Oh! think not that
ere you can obey you must first understand and define what
perfection means. No, God's way is the very opposite of
this. Abraham went out, not knowing where he went. You are
called to go on to perfection: go out, not knowing where you
are going. It is a land God will show you. Let your heart be
filled with His glory: I am God Almighty. Let your life be
spent in His presence: walk before Me. As His Power and His
Presence rest upon you and fill you, your heart will, before
you know, be drawn up, and strengthened to accept and
rejoice in and fulfil the command: be perfect. As surely as
the opening bud has but to abide in the light of the sun to
attain perfection, will the soul that walks in the light of
God be perfect too. As the God, who is ALL, shines upon it,
it cannot but rejoice to give Him ALL.
Day 3 -- PERFECT WITH THE LORD YOUR GOD
"You shall be perfect with the Lord your God." Deut. 18:
To be perfect before God is not only the calling and the
privilege of a man like Abraham, it is equally the duty of
all his children. The command is given to all Israel, for
each man of God's people to receive and obey: "You shall be
perfect with the Lord your God." It comes to each child of
God; no one professing to be a Christian may turn aside from
it, or refuse it obedience, without endangering his
salvation. It is not a command like, "You shall not kill,"
or, "You shall not steal," having reference to a limited
sphere in our life, but is a principle that lies at the very
root of all true religion. If our service of God is to be
acceptable, it must not be with a divided, but a whole, a
The chief hindrance in the way of obedience to this
command lies in our misapprehension of what religion is. Man
was created simply to live for God, to show forth His glory,
by allowing God to show how completely He could reveal His
likeness and blessedness in man. God lives for man; longing
in the greatness of His love to communicate His goodness and
His love. It was to this life, lost by sin, Christ came to
redeem us back. The selfishness of the human heart looks
upon salvation as simply the escape from hell, with so much
of holiness as is needed to make our happiness secure.
Christ meant us to be restored to the state from which we
had fallen -- the whole heart, the whole will, the whole
life given up to the glory and service of God. To be wholly
given up to God, to be perfect with the Lord our God, lies
at the very root, is the very essence of true religion. The
enthusiastic devotion of the whole heart to God is what is
asked of us.
When once this misconception has been removed, and the
truth begins to dawn upon the soul, a second hindrance is
generally met with in the question of unbelief, How can
these things be? Instead of first accepting God's
command,and then waiting in the path of obedience for the
teaching of the Spirit, men are at once ready with their own
interpretation of the word, and confidently affirm, "it
cannot be." They forget that the whole object of the gospel
and the glory of Christ's redemption is, that it makes
possible what is beyond man's thoughts or powers; and that
it reveals God, not as a Lawgiver and Judge, exacting the
last penny, but as a Father, who in grace deals with each
one according to his capacity, and accepts the devotion and
the intention of the heart.
We understand this of an earthly father. A child of ten
is doing some little service for the father, or helping him
in his work. The work of the child is very defective, and
yet the cause of joy and hope to the father, because he sees
in it the proof of the child's attachment and obedience, as
well as the pledge of what that spirit will do for the child
when his intelligence and his strength have been increased.
The child has served the father with a perfect heart, though
the perfect heart does not at once imply perfect work. Even
so the Father in heaven accepts as a perfect heart the
simple childlike purpose that makes His fear and service its
one object. The Christian may be deeply humbled at the
involuntary uprisings of the evil nature; but God's Spirit
teaches him to say, "It is no more I, but sin that dwells in
me." He may be sorely grieved by the consciousness of
shortcoming and failure,but he hears the voice of Jesus,
"The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." Even as
Christ counted the love and obedience of His faithless
disciples as such, and accepted it as the condition on which
He had promised them the Spirit, the Christian can receive
the witness of the Spirit that the Father sees and accepts
in him the perfect heart, even where there is not yet the
"You shall be perfect with the Lord your God." Oh! let us
beware of making the Word of God of no effect by our
traditions. Let us believe the message, "You are not under
the law, but under grace." Let us realize what grace is in
its pitying tenderness: "As a father pities his children, so
the Lord pities them that fear Him." And what, in its mighty
power working in us both to will and to do: "The God of all
grace shall Himself perfect you." If we hold fast our
integrity, our confidence, and the rejoicing of hope
steadfast unto the end, being perfect in heart will lead us
on to be perfect in the way, and we will realize that Christ
fulfils this too in us, "You shall be perfect with the Lord
Day 4 -- I HAVE WALKED BEFORE YOU WITH A PERFECT HEART.
"Then Hezekiah prayed unto the Lord, saying, ‘I beg You,
O Lord, remember now how I have walked before You in truth,
and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good
in Your sight.’ And the word of the Lord came to Isaiah,
saying, ‘Tell Hezekiah, this is what the Lord says, I have
heard your prayer, and seen your tears; I will heal you.'"
2Kings 20: 2-5.
What a childlike simplicity of communication with God.
When the Son was about to die, He spoke, "I have glorified
You on earth, I have finished the work which You gave Me to
do. And now, O Father, You glorify Me." He pleaded His life
and work as the ground for expecting an answer to His
prayer. And so Hezekiah, the servant of God, also pleaded,
not as a matter of merit, but in the confidence that "God is
not unrighteous to forget our work of faith and labor of
love," that God should remember how he had walked before Him
with a perfect heart.
The words first of all suggest to us this thought, that
the man who walks before God with a perfect heart can know
it -- it may be a matter of consciousness. Let us look at
the testimony Scripture gives of him (2 Kings 18: 3-6), "He
did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, according
to all that David his father did." Then follow the different
elements of this life that was right in God's sight. "He
trusted in the Lord God of Israel. He held to the Lord. He
departed not from following Him. He kept His commandments,
which the Lord commanded Moses. And the Lord was with Him."
His life was one of trust and love, of steadfastness and
obedience. And the Lord was with him. He was one of the
saints of whom we read, "By faith they obtained a good
report." They had the witness that they were righteous, that
they were pleasing to God.
Let us seek to have this blessed consciousness. Paul had
it when he wrote, "Our glorying is, the testimony of our
conscience, that in holiness and sincerity of God, not in
fleshly wisdom, but in the grace of God, we behaved
ourselves" (2 Cor. 1: 12). John had it when he said,
"Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, we have boldness
toward God; and whatever we ask we receive, because we keep
His commandments, and do the things that are pleasing in His
sight" (1 John 3: 21, 22). If we are to have perfect peace
and confidence, if we are to walk in the holy boldness and
the blessed glorying of which Scripture speaks, we must know
that our heart is perfect with God.
Hezekiah's prayer suggests a second lesson -- that the
consciousness of a perfect heart gives wonderful power in
prayer. Read over again the words of his prayer, and notice
how distinctly this walk with a perfect heart is his plea.
Read over again the words just quoted from John, and see how
clearly he says that "because we keep His commandments we
receive what we ask." It is a heart that does not condemn
us, that knows that it is perfect toward God, that gives us
There is most probably not a single reader of these lines
who cannot testify how painfully at some time or other the
consciousness of the heart not being perfect with God has
hindered confidence and prayer. And mistaken views as to
what the perfect heart means, and as to the danger of
self-righteousness in praying Hezekiah's prayer, have in
very many cases banished all idea of its ever being possible
to attain to that boldness and confident assurance of an
answer to prayer which John connects with a heart that does
not condemn us. Oh! that we would give up all our
prejudices, and learn to take God's Word as it stands as the
only rule of our faith, the only measure of our
expectations. Our daily prayers would be a new reminder that
God asks the perfect heart; a new occasion of childlike
confession as to our walking or not walking with a perfect
heart before God; a new motive to make nothing less the
standard of our intercourse with our Father in heaven. How
our boldness in God's presence would be ever clearer; how
our consciousness of His acceptance would be brighter; how
the humbling thought of our nothingness would be quickened,
and our assurance of His strength in our weakness, and His
answer to our prayer, become the joy of our life.
Oh! the comfort, amid all consciousness of imperfection
of attainment, of being able to say, in childlike
simplicity, "Remember, O Lord, how I have walked before You
with a perfect heart."
Day 5 – LORD, GIVE A PERFECT HEART.
"Give to Solomon my son a perfect heart, to keep Your
commandments, Your testimonies, and Your statutes." 1Chron.
"Let my heart be perfect in Your testimonies." Ps. 119:
In his parting commission to Solomon, David had laid it
upon him to serve God with a perfect heart, because He is
God who searches the hearts. It is nothing less than the
heart, the whole heart, a perfect heart, that God wants.
Very shortly afterwards, in his dedication prayer after the
giving of all the material for the temple, he turns again to
this as the one thing needful, and asks it for his son as a
gift from God. "Give my son Solomon a perfect heart." The
perfect heart is a gift from God, given and received under
the laws which rule all His giving, as a hidden seed to be
accepted and acted on in faith. The command, "Be perfect,"
comes and claims immediate and full submission. Where this
submission is yielded, the need of a Divine power to make
the heart fit for perfection becomes the motive for urgent
and earnest prayer. The word of command, received and hid in
a good. and honest heart, becomes itself the seed of a
Divine power. God works His grace in us by stirring us to
work. So the desire to listen to God's command, and to serve
Him with a perfect heart, is a beginning that God looks to,
and that He will Himself strengthen and perfect. The gift of
a perfect heart is thus obtained in the way of the obedience
of faith. Begin at once to serve God with a perfect heart,
and the perfect heart will be given to you.
The perfect heart is a gift from God, to be asked for, to
be obtained by prayer. No one will pray for it earnestly,
perseveringly, believingly, until he accepts God's word
fully that it is a positive command and an immediate duty to
be perfect. Where this has been done, the consciousness will
soon grow strong of the utter impossibility of attempting
obedience in human strength. And the faith will grow that
the word of command was simply meant to draw the soul to Him
who gives what He asks.
The perfect heart is a gift to be obtained in prayer.
David asked the Lord to give it to his son Solomon, even as
he had prayed for himself long before, "Let my heart be
perfect in Your testimonies." Let all of us who desire for
this blessing follow his example: let us make it a matter of
definite, earnest prayer. Let each son and daughter of God
say to the Father: "Give Your child a perfect heart." Let us
in the course of our meditations in this little book turn
each word of command, or teaching, or promise into prayer --
pointed, personal prayer that asks and claims, that accepts
and proves the gift of a perfect heart. And when the seed
begins to strike root, and the spirit gives the
consciousness that the first beginnings of the perfect heart
have been bestowed in the wholehearted purpose to live for
God alone, let us hold on in prayer for the perfect heart in
all its completeness. A heart perfect in its purpose towards
God -- this is only the initial stage. Then there comes the
putting on of one grace after another -- the going, from
strength to strength, on to perfection -- the putting on, in
ever-growing distinctness of likeness, the Lord Jesus, with
every trait of His holy image. All this is to be sought and
found in prayer too. It is just he who knows most of what it
is to be perfect in purpose who will pray most to be perfect
in practice too.
In the words of Hezekiah, we see that there are two
elements in the perfect heart: the relation to God, and to
His commandments. "I have walked before You with a perfect
heart, and have done that which is good in Your sight."
David speaks of the second of these in his prayer, "a
perfect heart to keep Your commandments." The two always go
together: walking before God, in the awareness of His
presence, will ensure walking in His commandments.
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above,
and comes from the Father of lights," the gift of a perfect
heart too. "But let us ask in faith, nothing wavering." Let
us be sure that in the believing, adoring worship of God
there will be given to the soul that is set upon having it,
nothing less than what God Himself means with a perfect
heart. Let us pray the prayer boldly, "Lord, give Your child
a perfect heart. Let my heart be perfect in Your
Day 6 – GOD'S STRENGTH FOR THE PERFECT IN HEART.
the Ethiopians and the Lubims a huge host? Yet, because you
relied on the Lord, He delivered them into your hand. For
the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole
earth, to show Himself strong in behalf of them whose heart
is perfect toward Him." 2 Chron. 16: 8, 9.
We have here the same three thoughts we had in God's
words to Abraham. There, it was the command to be perfect in
connection with the faith in God's power and a walk in His
Presence. Here, we have the perfect heart spoken of as the
condition of the experience of God's power, and as that
which His eyes seek and approve in those who walk in His
presence. The words teach us the great lesson of the value
of the perfect heart in His sight. It is the one thing He
desires. "His eyes run to and fro through the whole earth"
to find such. The Father seeks such to worship Him. And when
He finds them, then He shows Himself strong in their behalf.
It is the one thing that marks the soul as having the
capacity of receiving, and showing God's glory, His
The context proves that the chief mark of the perfect
heart is trust in God. "Because you relied on the Lord, He
delivered them into your hand. For the eyes of the Lord run
to and fro to show Himself strong in behalf of them whose
heart is perfect toward Him." The essence of faith is this,
that it gives God His place and glory as God; it allows Him
free scope to work, relying on Him alone; it lets God be
God. In such faith or reliance the heart proves itself
perfect toward God; with no other object of confidence or
desire, it depends upon none but Him. As the eyes of God go
to and fro throughout the world, wherever He discovers such
a man, He delights to prove Himself strong to him, to work
for him or in him, as the case may be, according to the
riches of the glory of His power.
What precious lessons these words teach us for the
Christian's life. To have God reveal His strength in us, to
have Him make us strong for life or work, for doing or for
suffering, our heart must be perfect with Him. Let us not
shrink from accepting the truth. Let no preconceived opinion
as to the impossibility of perfection keep us from allowing
the Word of God to have its fulleffect upon us. He shows
Himself strong to those whose heart is perfect towards Him.
Before we attempt to define exactly, let us first receive
the truth that there is such a thing as what God calls a
perfect heart, and say it shall be ours. Let us rest
contented with nothing short of knowing that the eyes of the
Lord have seen that we are wholehearted with Him. Let us not
be afraid to say, "With my whole heart, I have sought Thee."
We saw how the chief mark of this perfect heart is
reliance upon God. God looks for men who trust Him fully; in
them He will show His power. God is a Being of Infinite and
Incomprehensible Glory and Power. Our mind can form no right
conception of what He can do for us. Even when we have His
word and promises, our human thoughts of what He means are
always defective. By nothing do we dishonor God more than by
limiting Him. By nothing do we limit Him more than by
allowing our human ideas of what He purposes to be the
measure of our expectations. The reliance of a heart perfect
towards Him is simply this: it yields to Him as God, it
rests upon Him, it allows Him, as God, to do in His own way
what He has promised. The heart is perfect towards Him in
meeting Him with a perfect faith for all that He is and does
as God. Faith expects from God what is beyond all
The Father seeks such. Oh! with what joy He finds them.
How He delights in them as His eyes, running to and fro
throughout the world, rests upon them to show Himself their
strong and mighty Helper! Let us walk before this God with a
perfect heart, relying upon Him yet to work in us above all
that we can ask or think. The one great need of the
spiritual life is to know how entirely it is dependent upon
God working in us, and what the exceeding greatness of His
power is in us who believe. As the soul knows this, and with
a perfect heart yields to this Almighty God to let Him do
His work within, oh! how strong He will show Himself in its
Day 7 -- WITH THE PERFECT GOD SHOWS HIMSELF PERFECT.
was also perfect with Him, and I kept myself from my
"To the perfect man, You will show Yourself perfect."
"As for God, His way is perfect."
"He is a shield to them that trust Him."
"It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way
Ps. 18: 23, 25, 30, 32.
"As for God, His way is perfect." In all He does, and all
He is God is the perfection of goodness and beauty. In
nature and grace, in heaven and on earth, in the greatest
and the least, everything that is in God and of God, down to
the very hem of His garment, is infinite perfection. If men
who study and admire the perfection of His works, if saints
who love and seek the perfection of His service and
fellowship, but understood it, they would see that here
alone perfection can be truly known and found --in God
Himself. As for God -- this is the highest we can say of
Him, though we can comprehend but little of it -- As for
God, His way is perfect.
"He makes my way perfect." Of God's perfection this is
the chief excellence -- that He does not keep it for
Himself: heaven and earth are full of His glory. God is
Love; who lives, not for Himself, but in the energy of an
infinite life, makes His creatures, as far as they can
possibly receive it, partakers of His perfection. It is His
delight to perfect all around Him. And especially the soul
of man that rises up to Him. Between His servant and
Himself, God would have perfect harmony. The Father wants
the child to be like Himself. The more I learn in adoring
worship to say, "As for God, His way is perfect," the sooner
I will have faith and grace with the Psalmist to say, "He
makes my way perfect."
As we believe this, that is, receive the heavenly truth
in these words into our inmost being and assimilate it, we
shall not wonder that the same man also said, "I was also
perfect with Him, and kept myself from my iniquity." "The
God that arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect,"
His alone is the power and the honor and the glory of what
He has created. This makes the confession, "I was also
perfect with Him," so far from being presumption or
self-righteousness, nothing but an ascription of praise to
Him to whom it is due.
And then follow the words in which the perfection of God
and that of man are seen in their wonderful relationship and
harmony: "With the perfect man, You will show Yourself
perfect." As little as there can be a ray of the light of
day, however dull and clouded it be, but what speaks of the
sun, so little can there be any perfection but what is of
God. In its feeblest beginnings in a soul, in its darkest
and almost hopeless strugglings, it is all God's perfection
wrestling with man to break through and get possession. As
long as man refuses to consent, God cannot make His
perfection known, for God must be to us what we are to Him:
"With the warped, You show Yourself twisted." But where
man's will consents, and his heart chooses this perfection
and this perfect God as its portion, God meets the soul with
ever larger manifestation of how perfect He is towards His
own. "With the perfect man You will show Yourself perfect."
Christian! walk before God with a perfect heart, and you
will experience how perfect the heart, and the love, and the
will of God to bless, is towards you. Of a heart perfectly
yielded to Him, God will take perfect possession. Walk
before God in a perfect way -- it is God who makes my way
perfect -- and your eyes and heart will be opened to see, in
adoring wonder, how perfect God's way is with you and for
you. Do take mightily hold of this word as the law of God's
revelation of Himself: "With the perfect man, You will show
Yourself perfect." To a soul perfectly devoted to Him, God
will wonderfully reveal Himself. Turn with your whole heart
and life, your whole trust and obedience, towards God --
walk before Him with a perfect heart -- and He will show
Himself perfect to you, the God whose way is perfect and
makes your way perfect, the God who perfects you in every
good thing. Meet God with your, "With my whole heart I have
sought You"; He will answer you with His, "Yes, I will
rejoice over you to do you good, with my whole heart and
with my whole soul." Oh! say it in faith, and hope, and joy,
"With the perfect man You will show Yourself perfect."
Day 8 -- PERFECT IN HEART LEADS TO PERFECT IN THE WAY.
"Blessed are they that are perfect in the way, who walk
in the law of the Lord. Blessed are they that keep His
testimonies, that seek Him with the whole heart." Ps. 119:
"Let my heart be perfect in Thy testimonies." Ps. 119:
"I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. Oh! when
will You come to me? I will walk within my house with a
perfect heart." Ps. 101: 2.
We have seen what Scripture says of the perfect heart:
here it speaks of the perfect walk. "Blessed are the perfect
in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord." These are the
opening words of the beautiful psalm, in which there is
given to us the picture, from the witness of personal
experience, of the wonderful blessedness of a life in the
law and the will of God. As he looks back upon the past, the
Psalmist does not hesitate to claim that he has kept that
law: "I have kept Your testimonies;" " I have conformed to
Your law;" "I did not desert Your standards ;" "I have not
strayed from Your judgments;" "I have done judgment and
justice;" "I have not swerved from Your testimonies;" "I
have done Your commandments;" "My soul has conformed to Your
declarations." Of a truth may the man who can look up to God
and, in simplicity of soul, speak thus, say, "How blessed
are the perfect in the way!"
What is meant by this being "perfect in the way" becomes
plain as we study the psalm. Perfection includes two
elements. The one is the perfection of heart, the
earnestness of purpose, with which a man gives himself up to
seek God and His will. The other, the perfection of
obedience, in which a man seeks, not only to do some, but
all the commandments of his God, and rests content with
nothing less than the New Testament privilege of "standing
perfect in all the will of God." Of both, the Psalmist
speaks with great confidence. Hear how he testifies of the
former in words such as these: "Blessed are they that seek
Him with the whole heart ;" "With my whole heart I have
sought You;" "With my whole heart, I will conform to Your
law;" "I will keep Your standards with my whole heart;"
"Your standards are my delight;" "O, how I love Your
standards!" "Consider how I love Your standards;" "I love
them exceedingly." This is indeed the perfect heart of which
we have already heard. The whole psalm is a prayer, and an
appeal to God Himself to consider and see how His servant in
wholehearted simplicity has chosen God and His standard as
his only portion.
We have more than once said that in this
wholeheartedness, in the perfect heart, we have the root of
But it is only the root and beginning: there is another
element that may not be lacking. God is to be found in His
will; he who would truly find and fully enjoy God, must meet
Him in all His will. This is not always understood. A man
may have his heart intent on serving God perfectly, and yet
may be unconscious how very imperfect his knowledge of God's
will is. The very earnestness of his purpose, and his
consciousness of integrity towards God, may deceive him. As
far as he knows, he does God's will. But he forgets how much
there is of that blessed will that he does not yet know. He
can learn a very blessed lesson from the writer of our
Hear how he speaks: "I have refrained my feet from every
evil way;" "I hate every false way;" "I esteem all Your
standards concerning all things to be right." It is this
surrender to a life of entire and perfect obedience that
explains at once the need he felt of Divine teaching, and
the confidence with which he pleaded for it and expected it:
"Let my heart be perfect in Your testimonies." The soul that
longs for nothing less than to be perfect in the way, and in
deep consciousness of its need of a Divine teaching pleads
for it, will not be disappointed.
In our next meditation we pass on to the New Testament.
In the Old we have the time of preparation, the awakening of
the spirit of holy expectancy, waiting God's fulfilment of
His promises. In the Old the perfect heart was the
receptacle, emptied and cleansed for God's filling. In the
New we will find Christ perfected forevermore, perfecting
us, and fitting us to walk perfect in Him. In the New the
word that looks at the human side, perfect in heart,
disappears, to give place to that which reveals the Divine
filling that awaits the prepared vessel: Perfect Love; God's
love perfected in us.
"Blessed are the perfect in the way!" We have heard the
testimony of an Old Testament saint, and is it not written
of New Testament times, "He that is feeble shall be as
David"? Surely now, in the fulness of time, when Jesus our
High Priest in the power of an endless life saves
completely, and the Holy Spirit has come out of God's heaven
to dwell within us and be our life, surely now there need
not be one word of the psalm that is not meant to be literal
truth in the mouth of every believer. Let us read it once
more. Speaking it word for word before God, as its writer
did, we too shall begin to sing, "Blessed are the perfect in
the way, that seek Him with their whole heart."
"I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. Oh! when
will You come to me! I will walk within my house with a
Day 9 -- PERFECT AS THE FATHER.
"For this reason you will be perfect, as your heavenly
Father is perfect." Matt. 5: 48.
Perfect before God, perfect with God, perfect towards
God: these are the expressions we find in the Old Testament.
They all indicate a relationship: the choice or purpose of
the heart set upon God, the wholehearted desire to trust and
obey Him. The first word of the New Testament at once lifts
us to a very different level, and opens to us what Christ
has brought for us. Not only perfect towards God, but
perfect as God; this is the wonderful prospect it holds out
to us. It reveals the infinite fulness of meaning the word
perfect has in God's mind. It gives us at once the only
standard we are to aim at and to judge by. It casts down all
hopes of perfection as a human attainment; but awakens hope
in Him who, as God, has the power, as Father has the will,
to make us like Himself.
A young child may be the perfect image of his father.
There may be a great difference in age, in stature, in
power, and yet the resemblance may be so striking that every
one notices it. And so a child of God, though infinitely
less, may yet bear the image of the Father so markedly, may
have such a striking likeness to his Father, that in his
creaturely life he will be perfect ,as the Father is in His
Divine life. This is possible. It is what Jesus here
commands. It is what each one should aim at. "Perfect as
your Father in heaven is perfect," must become one of the
first articles of our creed, one of the guiding lights of
our Christian life.
Wherein this perfection of the Father consists is evident
from the context: "Love your enemies, that you may be sons
of your Father which is in heaven; for He makes His sun to
shine on the evil and the good: Be therefore perfect, as
your Father in heaven is perfect." Or as it is in Luke 6:
36: "Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful." The
perfection of God is His love; His will to communicate His
own blessedness to all around Him. His compassion and mercy
are the glory of His being. He created us in His image and
after His likeness, to find our glory in a life of love and
mercy and beneficence. It is in love we are to be perfect,
even as our Father is perfect.
The thought that comes up at once, and that ever returns
again, is this: But is it possible? And if so, how?
Certainly not as a fruit of man's efforts. But the words
themselves contain the answer: "perfect as your Father is
perfect." It is because the little child has received his
life from his father, and because the father watches over
his training and development, that there can be such a
striking and ever-increasing resemblance between him in his
feebleness and his father in his strength. It is because the
sons of God are partakers of the Divine nature, have God's
life, and spirit, and love within them, that the command is
reasonable, and its obedience in ever-increasing measure
possible: Be perfect, as your Father is. The perfection is
our Father's: we have its seed in us; He delights to give
the increase. The words that first appear to cast us down in
utter helplessness now become our hope and strength. Be
perfect, as your Father is perfect. Claim your child's
heritage; give up yourself to be wholly a son of God; yield
yourself to the Father to do in you all He is able.
And then, remember too, who it is gives this message from
the Father. It is the Son, who Himself was, by the Father,
perfected through suffering; who learned obedience and was
made perfect; and who has perfected us forever. The message,
"Be perfect," comes to us from Him, our elder Brother, as a
promise of infinite hope. What Jesus asks of us, the Father
gives. What Jesus speaks, He does. To "present every man
perfect in Christ Jesus," is the one aim of Christ and His
gospel. Let us accept the command from Him; in yielding
ourselves to obey it, let us yield ourselves to Him: let our
expectation be from Him in whom we have been perfected.
Through faith in Him we receive the Holy Ghost, by whom the
love of God is shed abroad in our hearts. Through faith in
Him, that love becomes in us a fountain of love springing up
without ceasing. In union with Him, the love of God is
perfected in us, and we are perfected in love. Let us not
fear to accept and obey the command, "Be perfect, as your
Father is perfect."
Day 10 -- PERFECTED AS THE MASTER.
"Be therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful .
. . . The disciple is not above his master: but every one
who is perfected will be as his master." Lk. 6: 36, 40.
In his report of part of the Sermon on the Mount, Luke
records that Jesus says, not: "Be perfect," but, "Be
merciful," as your Father is. He then introduces the word
perfect immediately after; not, however, in connection with
the Father, but the Son, as the Master of His disciples. The
change is most instructive; it leads us to look to Jesus, as
He dwelt in the flesh, as our model. It might be said that
our circumstances and powers are so different from those of
God that it is impossible to apply the standard of His
infinite perfection in our little world. But here comes the
Son, in the likeness of sinful flesh, tempted in all things
like as we are, and offers Himself as our Master and Leader.
He lives with us that we may live with Him; He lives like us
that we may live like Him.
The Divine standard is embodied and made visible, is
brought within our reach, in the human model. Growing into
His likeness, who is the image of the Father, we shall bear
the likeness of the Father too: becoming like Him, the
firstborn among many brethren, we shall become perfect as
the Father is. "The disciple is not above his Master: but
every one who is perfected shall be as his Master."
"The disciple is not above his Master." The thought of
the disciple being as the Master sometimes has reference to
outward humiliation: like the Master he will be despised and
persecuted (Matt. 10: 24, 25; John 15: 20). And sometimes to
inward humility, the willingness to be a servant (Luke 22:
27; John 13: 16). Both in his external life and his inner
disposition the perfected disciple knows nothing higher than
to be as his Master.
To take Jesus as Master, with the distinct desire and aim
to be and live and act like Him -- this is true
Christianity. This is something far more than accepting Him
as a Savior and Helper. Far more even than acknowledging Him
as Lord and Master.
A servant may obey the commands of his master most
faithfully, while he has little thought of through them
rising up into the master's likeness and spirit. This alone
is full discipleship, to long in everything to be as like
the Master as possible, to count His life as the true
expression of all that is perfect, and to aim at nothing
less than the perfection of being perfect as He was.
"Everyone who is perfected shall be as his Master."
The words suggest to us very distinctly that in
discipleship there is more than one stage. Just as in the
Old Testament it is said only of some that they served the
Lord with a perfect heart, while of others we read that
their heart was not perfect with the Lord (1 Kings 11: 4,
15: 3; 2 Chron. 25: 2), so even now there are great
differences between disciples. Some there are to whom the
thought of aiming at the perfect likeness of the Master has
never come: they only look to Christ as a Savior. And some
there are whose heart indeed longs for full conformity to
their Lord, "to be as the Master," but who have never
understood, though they have read the words, that there is
such a thing as "a perfect heart" and a life "perfected in
But there are those, too, to whom it has been given to
accept these words in their Divine meaning and truth, and
who do know in blessed experience what it is to say with
Hezekiah, "I have walked before Thee with a perfect heart,"
and with John, "as He is, even so are we in this world."
As we go on in our study of what Scripture says of
perfection, let us hold fast the principle we have learnt
here. Likeness to Jesus in His humiliation and humility: the
choice, like Him, of the form of a servant, the spirit that
does not exercise lordship and would not be ministered unto,
but girds itself to minister and to give its life for
others, this is the secret of true perfection. "The disciple
is not above his Master, but every one who is perfected
shall be as his Master." With the perfect love of God as our
standard, with that love revealed in Christ's humanity and
humility as our model and guide, with the Holy Spirit to
strengthen us with might, that this Christ may live in us,
we shall learn to know what it is that every one who is
perfected shall be as his Master.
Day 11 -- THE PERFECT SELLING ALL TO FOLLOW CHRIST.
"Jesus said unto him, ‘If you desire to be perfect, go
sell everything, and give to the poor, and you will have
treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.'" Matt. 19: 21.
To the rich young ruler poverty was to be the path to
perfection. "The disciple is not above his Master, but every
one who is perfected shall be as his Master." Poverty was
part of the Master's perfection, part of that mysterious
discipline of self-denial and suffering through which it
became God to perfect Him: while He was on earth, poverty
was to be the mark of all those who would be always with,
and wholly as, the Master.
What does this mean? Jesus was Lord of all. He might have
lived here on earth in circumstances of comfort and with
moderate possessions. He might have taught us how to own,
and to use, and to sanctify property. He might in this have
become like us, walking in the path in which most men have
to walk. But He chose poverty. Its life of self-sacrifice
and direct dependence on God, its humiliation, its trials
and temptations, were to be elements of that highest
perfection He was to exhibit.
In the disciples whom He chose to be with Him, poverty
was to be the mark of their fellowship with Him, the
training school for perfect conformity to His image, the
secret of power for victory over the world, for the full
possession of the heavenly treasure, and the full exhibition
of the heavenly spirit. And even in him, who, when the
humiliation was past, had his calling from the throne, in
Paul, poverty was still the chosen and much-prized vehicle
of perfect fellowship with his Lord.
What does this mean? The command, "Be perfect," comes to
the rich as well as the poor. Scripture has nowhere spoken
of the possession of property as a sin. While it warns
against the danger riches bring, and denounces their abuse,
it has nowhere promulgated a law forbidding riches. And yet
it speaks of poverty as having a very high place in the life
To understand this we must remember that perfection is a
relative term. We are not under a law, with its external
commands as to duty and conduct, that takes no account of
diversity of character or circumstance. In the perfect law
of liberty in which we are called to live, there is room for
infinite variety in the manifestation of our devotion to God
and Christ. According to the diversity of gifts, and
circumstances, and calling, the same spirit may be seen in
apparently conflicting paths of life. There is a perfection
which is sought in the right possession and use of earthly
goods as the Master's steward; there is also a perfection
which seeks even in external things to be as the Master
Himself was, and in poverty to bear its witness to the
reality and sufficiency of heavenly things.
In the early ages of the Church this truth, that poverty
is for some the path of perfection, exercised a mighty and a
blessed influence. Men felt that poverty, as one of the
traits of the holy life of Jesus and His apostles, was
sacred and blessed. As the inner life of the Church grew
feeble, the spiritual truth was lost in external
observances, and the fellowship of the poverty of Jesus was
scarce to be seen. In its protest against the
self-righteousness and the superficiality of the Romish
system, the Protestant Church has not yet been able to give
to poverty the place it ought to have either in the
portraiture of the Master's image or the disciple's study of
perfect conformity to Him.
And yet it is a truth many are seeking after. If our Lord
found poverty the best school for His own strengthening in
the art of perfection, and the surest way to rise above the
world and win men's hearts for the Unseen, it surely need
not surprise us if those who feel drawn to seek the closest
possible conformity to their Lord even in external things,
and who long for the highest possible power in witnessing
for the Invisible, should be irresistibly drawn to count
this word as spoken to them too: "If you desire to be
perfect, sell everything, and follow Me."
When this call is not felt, there is a larger lesson of
universal application: No perfection without the sacrifice
of all. To be perfected here on earth Christ gave up all: to
become like Him, to be perfected as the Master, means giving
up all. The world and self must be renounced. "If you desire
to be perfect, sell all, and give to the poor; and come,
Day 12 -- THE PERFECT MAN A SPIRITUAL MAN.
"Howbeit we speak wisdom among the perfect." 1 Cor: 2: 6.
"And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual,
but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. For whereas there
is among you jealousy and strife, are you not yet carnal?" 1
Cor. 3: 1, 3.
Among the Corinthians there were mighty and abundant
operations of the Holy Spirit. Paul could say to them (1:
5), "In everything you were enriched in Christ, so that you
come behind in no gift." And yet in the sanctifying grace of
the Holy Spirit there was much that was wanting. He had to
say, "There are contentions among you; I beseech you that
there be no divisions among you, but that you may be
perfected together in the same mind." The spirit of
humility, and gentleness, and unity was wanting; without
these they could not be perfected, either individually or as
a body. They needed the injunction, "Above all these things
put on love, which is the bond of perfectness."
The Corinthians were as yet carnal; the gifts of the
Spirit were among them in power; but His grace, renewing,
sweetening, sanctifying every temper into the likeness of
Jesus, in this they were lacking much. The wisdom Paul
preached was a heavenly, spiritual wisdom, God's wisdom in a
mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which needed a spiritual,
heavenly mind to apprehend it. "We speak wisdom among the
perfect ;" he could not speak to them "as unto spiritual,
but as unto carnal." Spiritual things must be spiritually
discerned; the wisdom among the perfect could only be
received by those who were not carnal, but spiritual. The
perfect of whom Paul speaks are the spiritual.
And who are the spiritual? Those in whom not only the
gifts, but the graces of the Spirit have obtained supremacy
and are made manifest. God's love is His perfection (Matt.
5: 40-46); Christ's humility is His perfection. The
self-sacrificing love of Christ, His humility, and meekness,
and gentleness, manifested in daily life, are the most
perfect fruit of the Spirit, the true proof that a man is
spiritual. A man may have great zeal in God's service, he
may be used to influence many for good, and yet, when
weighed in the balance of love, be found sadly wanting. In
the heat of controversy, or under unjust criticism, haste of
temper, slowness to forgive and forget, quick words and
sharp judgments, often reveal an easily wounded
sensitiveness, which proves how little the Spirit of Christ
has full possession or real mastery. The spiritual man is
the man who is clothed with the spirit of the suffering,
And it is only the spiritual man who can understand "the
wisdom among the perfect," "even the mystery which now has
been manifested to the holy ones, to whom God was pleased to
make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery,
which is Christ in you." A Christian teacher may be a man of
wonderful sagacity and insight, may have the power of
opening the truth, of mightily stimulating and helping
others, and may yet have so much of the carnal that the
deeper mystery of Christ in us remains hidden. It is only as
we yield ourselves wholly to the power of God's Holy Spirit,
as the question of being made free from all that is carnal,
of attaining the utmost possible likeness to Jesus in His
humiliation, of being filled with the Spirit, rules heart
and life, that the Christian, be he scholar or teacher, can
fully enter into the wisdom among the perfect.
To know the mind of God we must have the mind of Christ.
And the mind of Christ is this, that He emptied and humbled
Himself, and became obedient to death. This His humility was
His capacity, His fitness for rising to the throne of God.
This mind must be in us if the hidden wisdom of God is to be
revealed to us in its power. It is this that is the mark of
the spiritual, the perfect man.
May God increase the number of the perfect. And to that
end the number of those who know to speak wisdom among the
perfect, even God's wisdom in a mystery. As the distinction
between the carnal and the spiritual, the babes and the
perfect, comes to recognition in the Church, the connection
between a spiritual life and spiritual insight will become
clearer, and the call to perfection will gain new force and
meaning. And it will once again be counted just cause of
reproof and of shame not to be among the perfect.
Day 13 -- PERFECTING HOLINESS.
"Having therefore these promises, beloved, let us cleanse
ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit,
perfecting holiness in the fear of God." 2 Cor. 7: 1.
These words give us an insight into one of the chief
aspects of perfection, and an answer to the question:
Wherein is it we are to be perfect? We must be perfect in
holiness. We must be perfectly holy. Such is the exposition
of the Father's message, Be perfect.
We know what holiness is. God alone is holy, and holiness
is that which God communicates of Himself. Separation and
cleansing and consecration are not holiness, but only the
preliminary steps on the way to it. The temple was holy
because God dwelt in it. Not that which is given to God is
holy, but that which God accepts and appropriates, that
which He takes possession of, takes up into His own
fellowship and use -- that is holy. "I am the Lord who makes
you holy," was God's promise to His people of old, on which
the command was based, "Be holy." God's taking them for His
own made them a holy people; their entering into this
holiness of God, yielding themselves to His will, and
fellowship, and service, was what the command, "Be holy,"
called them to.
Even so it is with us Christians. We are made holy in
Christ; we are saints or holy ones. The call comes to us to
follow after holiness, to perfect holiness, to yield
ourselves to the God who is ready to sanctify us wholly. It
is the knowledge of what God has done in making us His holy
ones, and has promised to do in sanctifying us wholly, that
will give us courage to perfect holiness.
"Having therefore these promises, beloved, let us perfect
holiness." Which promises? They had just been mentioned: "I
will dwell in them; I will be their God; I will receive you;
I will be to you a Father." It was God's accepting the
temple, and dwelling there Himself, that made it holy. It is
God's dwelling in us that makes us holy; that gives us not
only the motive, but the courage and the power to perfect
holiness, to yield ourselves for Him to possess perfectly
and entirely. It is God's being a Father to us, begetting
His own life, His own Son within us, forming Christ in us,
until the Son and the Father make their abode in us, that
will give us confidence to believe that it is possible to
perfect holiness, and will reveal to us the secret of its
attainment. "Having therefore these promises, beloved," that
is, knowing them, living on them, claiming and obtaining
them, let us "perfect holiness."
This faith is the secret power of the growth of the inner
life of perfect holiness. But there are hindrances that
check and prevent this growth. These must be watched against
and removed. "Having these promises, let us cleanse
ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit,
perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord." Every
defilement, outward or inward, in conduct or inclination, in
the physical or the spiritual life, must be cleansed and
cast away. Cleansing in the blood, cleansing by the word,
cleansing by the pruning knife or the fire -- in any way or
by any means -- but we must be cleansed. In the fear of the
Lord every sin must be cut off and cast out; everything
doubtful or defiling must be put away; soul and body and
spirit must be preserved entire and blameless. Thus
cleansing ourselves from all defilement we will perfect
holiness: the spirit of holiness will fill God's temple with
His holy presence and power.
Beloved, having these promises, let us perfect holiness.
Perfectly holy! perfect in holiness let us yield ourselves
to these thoughts, to these wishes, to these promises, of
our God. Beginning with the perfect childlike heart,
pressing on in the perfect way, clinging to a perfect
Savior, living in fellowship with a God whose way and work
is perfect, let us not be afraid to come to God with His own
command as our prayer: Perfect holiness, O my Lord! He knows
what He means by it, and we will know if we follow on to
know. Lord, I am called to perfect holiness: I come to You
for it; make me as perfectly holy as a redeemed sinner can
be on earth.
Let this be the spirit of our daily prayer. I would walk
before God with a perfect heart: perfect in Christ Jesus; in
the path of perfect holiness. I would this day come as near
perfection as grace can make it possible for me. "Perfecting
holiness" shall, in the power of His Spirit, be my aim.
Day 14 -- WE PRAY FOR YOUR PERFECTING: BE PERFECTED.
"This we also pray for, even your perfecting. . . .
Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfected, be comforted, be
of the same mind, live in peace; and the God of love and
peace will be with you." 2 Cor. 13: 9, 11.
The word here translated "perfect" means to bring a thing
into its right condition, so that it is as it should be. It
is used of mending nets, restoring them to their right
state, or of equipping a ship: fitting it out with all it
should have. It implies thus two things: the removal of all
that is still wrong; the supply of all that is still
Within two verses Paul uses the word twice. First, as the
expression of the one thing which he asks of God for them,
the summary of all grace and blessing: "This we pray for,
even your perfecting." That you be perfectly free from all
that is wrong and carnal, and that you should perfectly
possess and exhibit all that God would have you be: we pray
for your perfecting. Next as the summing up in a farewell
word of what He would have them aim at. "Finally, brethren,
farewell. Be perfected." And then follow three other verbs,
which show how this one, which takes the lead, has reference
to the Christian's daily life, and is meant to point to what
is to be his daily aim and experience. "Be perfected, be
comforted, be of the same mind, live in peace." Just as the
comfort of the Spirit, and the unity of love, and the life
of peace are, if the God of love and peace is to be with us,
our duty and our privilege every hour, so, too, the being
perfected. The close of the two Epistles gathers up all its
teaching in this one injunction -- Farewell -- Be Perfected.
The two texts together show us what the prayer and the
preaching of every minister of the gospel ought to be; what
his heart, above everything, ought to be set on. We justly
look upon Paul as a model whom every minister ought to copy
-- let every Gospel minister copy him in this, so that his
people may know as he goes in and out among them that his
heart breathes heavenward for them this one wish: Your
perfecting! and may feel that all his teaching has this one
aim: Be perfected!
If ministers are to seek this above everything in their
charge of the Church of God, they need themselves to feel
deeply and to expose faithfully the low standard that
prevails in the Church. Some have said that they have seen
Perfectionism slay its thousands. All must admit that
Imperfectionism has slain its tens of thousands. Multitudes
are soothing themselves in a life of worldliness and sin
with the thought that as no one is perfect, imperfection
cannot be so dangerous. Numbers of true Christians are
making no progress because they have never known that we can
serve God with a perfect heart, that the perfect heart is
the secret of a perfect way, of a work going on unto
perfection. God's call to us to be perfect, to perfect
holiness in His fear, to live perfect in Christ Jesus, to
stand perfect in all the will of God, must be preached,
until the faith begins to live again in the Church that all
teaching is to be summed up in the words, and each day of
our life to be spent under their inspiration: Be Perfected!
When once ministers know themselves and are known as the
messengers of this God-willed perfection, they will feel the
need of nothing less than the teaching of the Holy Spirit to
guide men in this path. They will see and preach that
religion must indeed be a surrender of all to God. Becoming
as conformed to His will, living as entirely to His glory,
being as perfectly devoted to His service, as grace can
enable us to be, and no less, will be the only rule of duty
and measure of expectation. The message, Be Perfected! will
demand the whole heart, the whole life, the whole strength.
As the soul learns each day to say, "Father! I desire to be
perfect in heart with You today, I desire to walk before You
and be perfect," the need and the meaning of abiding in
Christ will be better understood, Christ Himself with His
power and love will have new preciousness, and God will
prove what He can do for souls, for a Church wholly given up
O you ministers of Christ, you messengers of His
salvation, say to the Churches over which the Holy Spirit
has made you overseers: This also we pray for -- even your
perfecting! Finally, brethren, Be perfected!
Day 15 -- NOT PERFECTED, YET PERFECT.
"Not that I have already obtained, or am already
perfected; but I press on. . . . One thing I do, I press on
towards the goal. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect,
be thus minded." Phil.3: 12-15.
In perfection there are degrees. We have perfect, more
perfect, most perfect. We have perfect, waiting to be
perfected. So it was with our Lord Jesus. In Hebrews we read
thrice of Him that He was perfected or made perfect. Of
sinful imperfection there was not the faintest shadow in
Him. At each moment of His life He was perfect -- just what
He should be. And yet He needed, and it became God to
perfect Him through suffering and the obedience He learned
in it. As He conquered temptation, and maintained His
allegiance to God, and amid strong crying and tears gave up
His will to God's will, His human nature was perfected, and
He became High Priest, "the Son perfected forevermore."
Jesus during His life on earth was perfect, but not yet
The perfected disciple shall be as his Master. What is
true of Him is true, in our measure, of us too. Paul wrote
to the Corinthians of speaking wisdom among the perfect, a
wisdom carnal Christians could not understand. Here in our
text he classes himself with the perfect, and expects and
enjoins them to be of the same mind with himself. He sees no
difficulty either in speaking of himself and others as
perfect, or in regarding the perfect as needing to be yet
further and fully perfected.
And what is now this perfection which has yet to be
perfected? And who are these perfect ones? The man who has
made the highest perfection his choice, and who has given
his whole heart and life to attain to it, is counted by God
a perfect man. "The kingdom of heaven is like a seed." Where
God sees in the heart the single purpose to be all that God
wills, He sees the divine seed of all perfection. And as He
counts faith for righteousness, so He counts this
wholehearted purpose to be perfect as incipient perfection.
The man with a perfect heart is accepted by God, amid all
imperfection of attainment, as a perfect man. Paul could
look upon the Church and unhesitatingly say, "As many of us
as be perfect, let us be thus minded."
We know how among the Corinthians he describes two
classes. The one, the large majority, carnal and content to
live in strife; the other, the spiritual, the perfect. In
the Church of our day it is to be feared that the great
majority of believers have no conception of their calling to
be perfect. They have not the slightest idea that it is
their duty not only to be religious, but to be as eminently
religious, as full of grace and holiness, as it is possible
for God to make them. Even where there is some measure of
earnest purpose in the pursuit of holiness, there is such a
want of faith in the earnestness of God's purpose when He
speaks: "Be perfect," and in the sufficiency of His grace to
meet the demand, that the appeal meets with no response. In
no real sense do they understand or accept Paul's
invitation: "Let us, as many as be perfect, be thus minded."
But, thank God! it is not so with all. There is an
ever-increasing number who cannot forget that God means what
He says when He speaks: "Be perfect," and who regard
themselves as under the most solemn obligation to obey the
command. The words of Christ: "Be perfect," are to them a
revelation of what Christ is come to give and to work, a
promise of the blessing to which His teaching and leading
will bring them. They have joined the band of like-minded
ones whom Paul would associate with himself; they seek God
with their whole heart; they serve Him with a perfect heart;
their one aim in life is to be made perfect, even as the
My reader! as in the presence of God, who has said to
you: "Be perfect!" and of Christ Jesus, who gave Himself
that you might obey this command of your God, I charge you
that you do not refuse the call of God's servant, but enrol
yourself among those who accept it: "Let us, as many as be
perfect, be thus minded." Fear not to take your place before
God with Paul among the perfect in heart. So far will it be
from causing self-complacency, that you will learn from him
how the perfect has yet to be perfected, and how the one
mark of the perfect is that he counts all things loss as he
presses on unto the prize of the high calling of God in
Day 16 -- PERFECT, AND YET TO BE PERFECTED.
"Not that I have already obtained, or am already
perfected, but I press on. . . . One thing I do, I press on
toward the goal. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be
thus minded. Brethren, be ye imitators together of me."
Phil. 3: 12-17.
The mark of the perfect, as set before us in Paul and all
who are thus minded, is the passionate desire to be yet made
perfect. This looks like a paradox. And yet what we see in
our Master proves the truth of what we say: the
consciousness of being perfect is in entire harmony with the
readiness to sacrifice life itself for the sake of being yet
made perfect. It was thus with Christ. It was thus with
Paul. It will be thus with us, as we open our hearts fully
and give God's words room and time to do their work. Many
think that the more imperfect one is the more he will feel
his need of perfection. All experience, in every department
of life, teaches us the very opposite. It is those who are
nearest perfection who most know their need of being yet
perfected, and are most ready to make any sacrifice to
attain to it. To count everything loss for perfection in
practice, is the surest proof that perfection in principle
has possession of the heart. The more honestly and earnestly
the believer claims that he seeks God with a perfect heart,
the more ready will he be with Paul to say: "Not that I have
already obtained, or am already perfected."
And wherein was it now that Paul longed to be made
perfect? Read the wonderful passage with care, and without
prejudice or preconceived ideas, and I think you will see
that he gives here no indication of its being sin or sinful
imperfection from which he was seeking to be perfectly free.
Whatever his writings teach elsewhere, the thought is not in
his mind here. The perfected disciple is as his Master. Paul
is speaking here of his life and lifework, and feels that it
is not perfected until he has reached the goal and obtained
the prize. To this he is pressing on. He that runs in a race
may, as far as he has gone, have done everything perfectly;
all may pronounce his course perfect as far as it has gone.
Still it has to be perfected. The contrast is not with
failure or shortcoming, but with what is as yet unfinished,
and waiting for its full end. And so Paul uses expressions
which all tell us how what he already had of Christ was but
a part. He did know Christ, he had gained Christ, he was
found in Him, he had apprehended in wonderful measure that
for which Christ had apprehended him. And yet of all these
things -- of knowing Christ, of gaining Him, of being found
in Him, of apprehending that for which he was apprehended --
he speaks as of what he was striving after with all his
might: "If by any means I may attain to the resurrection of
the dead;" "I press on to the goal, unto the prize."' It is
of all this he says: "Not that I am already made perfect.
Let as many as are perfect be thus minded."
Paul had known Christ for many years, but he knew there
were in Him riches and treasures greater than he had known
yet, and nothing could satisfy him but the full and final
and eternal possession of what the resurrection would bring
him. For this he counted all things but loss; for this he
forgot the things that were behind; for this he pressed on
to the goal, unto the prize. He teaches us the spirit of
true perfection. A man who knows he is perfect with God; a
man who knows he must yet be perfected; a man who knows that
he has counted all things loss to attain this final
perfection; such is the perfect man.
Christian, learn here the price of perfection, as well as
the mark of the perfect ones. The Master gave His life to be
made perfect forever. Paul did the same. It is a solemn
thing to profess the pursuit of perfection. The price of the
"pearl of great price" is high: all things must be counted
loss. I have urged you to put down your names in the
class-list of the perfect; to ask the Master to put it down
and give you the blessed witness of the Spirit to a perfect
heart. I urge you now, if, like Paul, you claim to be
perfect, single and wholehearted in your surrender to God,
to live the life of the perfect, with all things loss for
Jesus as its watchword and its strength, and its one desire
to possess Him wholly, to be possessed of Him, and to be
made perfect even as He was.
O our Father! be pleased to open the eyes of Your
children, that they may see what the perfection of heart is
that You now ask of them, and what the perfection in Christ
is that You desire for them to seek at any cost.
Day 17 -- PERFECT IN CHRIST.
"Christ in you, the hope of glory: whom we proclaim,
admonishing every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom;
that we may present every man perfect in Christ: whereunto I
labor also, striving according to His working which works in
me mightily." Col. 1: 27-29.
Perfect in Christ: in our inquiry into the teaching of
the Word as to perfection, we have here a new word opening
up to us the hope, giving us the assurance, of what we have
seen to be our duty. It links all that we have seen of God's
call and claim, with all that we know of Christ in His grace
and power. Perfect in Christ: here is the open gateway into
the perfect life. He to whom it is given to see fully what
it means, finds through it an abundant entrance into the
life of Christian perfectness.
There are three aspects in which we need to look at the
truth of our being perfect in Christ. There is, first, our
perfectness in Christ, as it is prepared for us in Him, our
Head. As the second Adam, Christ came and wrought out a new
nature for all the members of His body. This nature is His
own life, perfected through suffering and obedience. In thus
being perfected Himself, He perfected forever them that are
sanctified. His perfection, His perfect life, is ours. And
that not only judicially, or by imputation, but as an actual
spiritual reality, in virtue of our real and living union
with Him. Paul says in the same Epistle, "You are complete,
made full in Him"; all that you are to be is already
fulfilled, and so you are fulfilled in Him: circumcised in
Him, buried with Him, raised with Him, quickened together
with Him. All Christ's members are in Him, fulfilled in Him.
Then there is our perfection in Christ, as imparted to us
by the Holy Spirit in uniting us to Him. The life which is
implanted in us at the new birth, planted into the midst of
a mass of sin and flesh, is a perfect life. As the seed
contains in itself the whole life of the tree, so the seed
of God within us is the perfect life of Christ, with its
power to grow, and fill our life, and bring forth fruit to
And then there is also our perfection in Christ, as
wrought in us by the Holy Spirit, appropriated by us in the
obedience of faith, and made manifest in our life and
conduct. As our faith grasps and feeds upon the truth in the
two former aspects, and yields itself to God to have that
perfect life master and pervade the whole of our daily life
in its ordinary actions; perfect in Christ will become each
moment a present practical reality and experience. All that
the Word has taught of the perfect heart, and the perfect
way, of being perfect as the Father, and perfect as the
Master, shines with new meaning and with the light of a new
life. Christ, the living Christ, is our Perfection; He,
Himself, lives each day and hour to impart it. The
measureless love of Jesus, and the power of the endless life
in which His life works, become the measure of our
expectation. In the life in which we now live in the flesh,
with its daily duties in relationship with men and money,
with care and temptation, we are to give the proof that
Perfect in Christ is no mere ideal, but in the power of
Almighty God, simple and literal truth.
It is in the last of these three aspects that Paul has
used the expression in our text. He speaks of admonishing
every man, and teaching every man, in all wisdom, that he
may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. It is to the
perfectness in daily life and walk that the admonishing and
teaching have reference. In principle, Christians were
perfect in Christ: in practice they were to become perfect.
The aim of the Gospel Ministry among believers was to
present every man perfect in Christ Jesus, to teach men how
they might put on the Lord Jesus, have His life cover them
and have His life in them.
What a task! What a hopeless task to the minister, as he
looks upon the state of the Church! What a task of infinite
hopefulness, if he does his work as Paul did, "Whereunto,"
nothing less than presenting every man perfect in Christ:
"Whereunto I also labor, striving according to His working
which works in me mightily." The aim is high, but the power
is Divine. Let the minister, in full purpose of heart, make
Paul's aim his own: to present every man perfect in Christ
Jesus. He may count upon Paul's strength: "His working which
works in me mightily."
Day 18 -- PERFECT IN ALL THE WILL OF GOD.
"Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Jesus Christ,
salutes you, always striving for you in his prayers, that
you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of
God." Col. 4: 12.
In this, as in some of the other Epistles, there is set
before us the life of the believer as he lives it in heaven
in Christ, and then as he lives it here on earth with men.
The teaching of Scripture is intensely spiritual and
supernatural, but, at the same time, intensely human and
practical. This comes out very beautifully in the two
expressions of our Epistle. Paul had told the Colossians
what he labored for; he now tells them what another
minister, Epaphras, prayed on their behalf. Paul's striving
was in his labor that they might be perfect in Christ Jesus.
The striving of Epaphras was in the prayer that they might
be perfect in all the will of God.
First we have "Perfect in Christ Jesus." The thought is
so unearthly and Divine, that its full meaning eludes our
grasp. It lifts up to life in Christ and heaven. Then we
have "Perfect in all the will of God." This word brings us
down to earth and daily life, placing all under the rule of
God's will, and calling us in every action and disposition
to live in the will of God.
"That you may stand perfect in all the will of God." "The
perfection of the creature consists in nothing but willing
the will of the Creator." The will of God is the expression
of the Divine perfection. Nature has its beauty and glory in
being the expression of the Divine will. The angels have
their place and bliss in heaven in doing God's will. The Son
of God was perfected in learning obedience, in giving
Himself up unto the will of God. His redemption has but one
object, to bring man into that only place of rest and
blessedness -- the will of God. The prayer of Epaphras shows
how truly he had entered into the spirit of his Master. He
prays for his people, that they may stand in the will of
God; and that in all the will of God -- nothing in their
life excepted, in which they were not in God's will. And
that again, perfect in all the will of God; at each moment,
with a perfect heart walking in a perfect way. Perfect in
all the will of God, is ever his one thought of what ought
to be asked and could be found in prayer.
Paul prayed for the Colossians, "that they might be
filled with the knowledge of God's will in all wisdom and
spiritual understanding." These two servants of God were of
one mind, that young converts must be reminded that their
knowledge of God's will is very defective, that they need to
pray for a Divine teaching to know that Will, and that their
one aim should be to stand perfect in all that will.
Let all seekers after perfection, let all who would be
like-minded with Paul, note well the lesson. In the joy of a
consecration sealed by the Holy Spirit, in the consciousness
of a wholehearted purpose, and of serving God with a
perfectheart, the believer is often tempted to forget how
much there may be in which he does not yet see God's will.
There may be grave defects in his character, serious
shortcomings from the law of perfect love in his conduct,
which others can observe. The consciousness of acting up to
the full light of what we know to be right is a most blessed
thing, one of the marks of the perfect heart. But it must
ever be accompanied with the remembrance of how much there
may be that has not yet been revealed to us. This sense of
ignorance as to much of God's will, this conviction that
there is still much in us that needs to be changed, and
sanctified, and perfected, will make us very humble and
tender, very watchful and hopeful in prayer. So far from
interfering with our consciousness that we serve God with a
perfect heart, it will give it new strength, while it
cultivates that humility which is the greatest beauty of
perfection. Without it, the appeal to the consciousness of
our uprightness becomes superficial and dangerous, and the
doctrine of perfection a stumbling-block and a snare.
Perfect in all the will of God. Let this be our unceasing
aim and prayer. Striking its roots deep in the humility
which comes from the conviction of how much there is yet to
be revealed to us; strengthened by the consciousness that we
have given ourselves to serve Him with a perfect heart; full
of the glad purpose to be content with nothing less than
standing perfect in all the will of God; rejoicing in the
confidence of what God will do for those who are before Him
perfect in Christ Jesus: let our faith claim the full
blessing. God will reveal to us how perfect in Christ Jesus,
and perfect in all the will of God, are one in His thought,
and may be so in our experience.
Paul prayed for the Colossians "without ceasing," that
they might be filled with the knowledge of God's will.
Epaphras was "always striving in his prayers" for them, that
they might stand perfect in all the will of God. It is by
prayer, by unceasing striving in prayer, that this grace
must be sought for the Church. It is before the throne, it
is in the presence of God, that the life of perfection must
be found and lived. It is by the operation of the mighty
quickening power of God Himself, waited for and received in
prayer, that believers can indeed stand perfect in all the
will of God. God give us grace so to seek and so to find it.
Day 19 -- CHRIST MADE PERFECT THROUGH SUFFERING.
"It became Him to make the Leader of their salvation
perfect through sufferings." Heb. 2: 10. "Though He was a
Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He
suffered; and having been perfected, He became, for all them
that obey Him, the Author of eternal salvation." Heb. 5: 8,
9. "But the word of the oath appointeth a Son, perfected
forevermore." Heb. 7: 28.
We have here three passages in which we are taught that
Jesus Christ Himself, though He was the Son of God, had to
be perfected. The first tells us that it was as the Leader
of our salvation that He was perfected; that it was God's
work to perfect Him; that there was a need-be for it; "it
became God" to do it; and that it was through suffering the
work was accomplished. The second, what the power of
suffering to perfect was, that in it He learned obedience to
God's will; and that, being thus perfected, He became the
Author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him. The third,
that it is as the Son perfected for evermore that He is
appointed High Priest in the heavens.
The words open to us the inmost secret of Christian
perfection. The Christian has no other perfection than the
perfection of Christ. The deeper his insight into the
character of his Lord, as having been made perfect by being
brought into perfect union with God's will through suffering
and obedience, the more clearly will he apprehend wherein
that redemption which Christ came to bring really consists,
and what the path is to its full enjoyment.
In Christ there was nothing of sinful defect or
shortcoming. He was from His birth the perfect One. And yet
He needed to be perfected. There was something in His human
nature which needed to grow, to be strengthened and
developed, and which could only thus be perfected. He had to
follow on, as, step by step, the will of God opened up to
Him, and in the midst of temptation and suffering to learn
and prove what it was at any cost to do that will alone. It
is this Christ who is our Leader and Forerunner, our High
Priest and Redeemer.
And it is as this perfection of His, this being made
perfect through obedience to God's will, is revealed to us,
that we will know fully what the redemption is that He
We learn to take Him as our example. Like Him we say, "I
am come, not to do my own will, but the will of Him that
sent me." We accept the will of God as the one thing we have
to live for and to live in. In every circumstance and trial
we see and bow to the will of God. We meet every
providential appointment, in every ordinary duty of daily
life, as God's will. We pray to be filled with the knowledge
of His will, that we may enter into it in its fulness, that
we may stand complete in all the will of God. Whether we
suffer or obey God's will, we seek to be perfected as the
We not only take Christ as our example and law in the
path of perfection, but as the promise and pledge of what we
are to be. All that Christ was and did as Substitute,
Representative, Head and Savior, is for us. All He does is
in the power of the endless life. This perfection of His is
the perfection of His life, His way of living; this life of
His, perfected in obedience, is now ours. He gives us His
own Spirit to breathe, to work it in us. He is the Vine; we
are the branches; the very mind and disposition that was in
Him on earth is communicated to us.
Yes, more; it is not only Christ in heaven who imparts to
us somewhat of His Spirit; Christ Himself comes to dwell in
our heart: the Christ who was made perfect through learning
obedience. It is in this character that He reigns in heaven:
"He became obedient unto death; therefore God highly exalted
Him." It is in this character that He dwells and rules in
the heart. The real character, the essential attribute of
the life Christ lived on earth, and which He maintains in
us, is this: a will perfect with God, and ready at any cost
to be perfected in all His will. It is this character He
imparts to His own: the perfection with which He was
perfected in learning obedience. As those who are perfect in
Christ, who are perfect of heart towards God, and are
pressing on to be made perfect, let us live in the will of
God, our one desire to be even as He was, to do God's will,
to stand perfect in all the will of God.
Day 20 -- LET US PRESS ON TO PERFECTION.
"But solid food is for the perfect, even those who by
reason of use have their senses exercised to discern goad
and evil. For this reason, let us cease to speak of the
first principles of Christ, and press on unto perfection."
Heb. 5: 14; 6: 1.
The writer had criticized the Hebrews for being dull of
hearing; for having made no progress in the Christian life;
for still being as little children who needed milk. They
could not bear solid food, the deeper and more spiritual
teaching in regard to the heavenly state of life into which
Christ had entered, and into which He gives admission to
those who are ready for it. Such our writer calls the
perfect, mature or full-grown men of the house of God. We
must not connect the idea of mature or full-grown with time.
In the Christian life it is not as in nature: a believer of
three years old may be counted among the mature or perfect,
while one of twenty years' standing may be but a babe,
unskilled in the word of righteousness. Nor must we connect
it with power of intellect or maturity of judgment. These
may be found without that insight into spiritual truth, and
that longing after the highest attainable perfection in
character and fellowship with God, of which the writer is
We are told what the distinguishing characteristic of the
perfect is: "even those who by reason of use have their
senses exercised to discern good and evil"' It is the desire
after holiness, the tender conscience that longs above
everything to discern good and evil, the heart that seeks
only, and always, and fully to know and do the will of God,
that marks the perfect. The man who has set his heart upon
being holy, and in the pursuit after the highest moral and
spiritual perfection exercises his senses in everything to
discern good and evil, is counted the perfect man.
The Epistle has spoken of the two stages of the Christian
life. It now calls upon the Hebrews to be no longer babes,
no longer to remain content with the first principles, the
mere elements of the doctrine of Christ. With the
exhortation, "Let us press on to perfection"; it invites
them to come and learn how Jesus is a Priest in the power of
an endless life, who can save completely; how He is the
Mediator of a better covenant, lifting us into a better life
by writing the law in our heart; how the Holiest of all has
been set open for us to enter in, and there to serve the
living God. "Let us go on to perfection" is the landmark
pointing all to that heavenly life in God's presence which
can be lived even here on earth, to which the full knowledge
of Jesus as our heavenly High Priest leads us.
"Let us press on to Perfection." It is not the first time
we have the word in the Epistle. We read of God's perfecting
Christ through suffering. Perfection is that perfect union
with God's will, that blessed meekness and surrender to
God's will, which the Father wrought in Christ through His
suffering. We read of Christ's learning obedience, and so
being made perfect. This is the true maturity or perfection,
the true wisdom among the perfect, the knowing and doing
God's will. We read of strong food for the perfect, who by
reason of practice, have their senses exercised to discern
good and evil. Here again perfection is, even as with
Christ, the disposition, the character that is formed when a
man makes conformity to God's will, fellowship with God in
His holiness, the one aim of His life, to which everything
else, even life itself, is to be sacrificed.
It is to this that Jesus, our High Priest, and the
further teaching of the Epistle, would lead us on. The
knowledge of the mysteries of God, of the highest spiritual
truth, cannot profit us, because we have no inward capacity
for receiving them, unless our inmost life is given up to
receive as ours the perfection with which Jesus was
perfected. When this disposition is found, the Holy Spirit
will reveal to us how Christ has perfected forever, in the
power of an endless life, those who are sanctified. He has
prepared a life, a disposition, with which He clothes them.
And we will understand that, "Let us go on to perfection,"
just means this, "Let us go on to know Christ perfectly, to
live entirely by His heavenly life now that He is perfected,
to follow wholly His earthly life, and the path in which He
reached perfection." Union with Christ in heaven will mean
likeness to Christ on earth in that lamb-like meekness and
humility in which He suffered, in that Son-like obedience
through which He entered into glory.
Brethren, leaving the first principles, let us go on to
Day 21 -- NO PERFECTION BY THE LAW
"Now, if there was perfection through the Levitical
priesthood (for under it the people had received the law),
what further need that another priest should arise after the
order of Melchisedek? . . . who has been made, not after the
law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an
endless life . . . . For there is a disannulling of a former
commandment, because of its weakness and unprofitableness,
for the law made nothing perfect." Heb. 7: 11-19. Gifts and
sacrifices are offered, which cannot, as touching the
conscience, make the worshiper perfect." Heb. 9: 9. "For the
law, having a shadow of the good things to come, can never
make perfect them that draw nigh." Heb. 10: 1. "That apart
from us they should not be made perfect." Heb. 11: 40.
Of the Epistles of the New Testament there is none in
which the word "Perfect" is used so often as that to the
Hebrews. There is none that will help us more to see what
Christian perfection is, and the way to its attainment. The
word is used thrice of our Lord Jesus, and His being made
perfect Himself. Twice of our subjective perfection. Five
times of the perfection of which the law was the shadow, but
which could not be until Jesus came. Thrice of Christ's work
in perfecting us. And once of the work of God in perfecting
us. These five thoughts will each give us a subject of
meditation. Of the first two we have spoken already.
A careful perusal of the verses placed above, will show
that the writer thought it of great importance to make it
clear that the law could perfect no person or thing. It was
all the more of consequence to press this, both because of
the close connection in which the law stood to the true
perfection, as its promise and preparation, and of the
natural tendency of the human heart to seek perfection by
the law. It was not only the Hebrews who greatly needed this
teaching: among Christians in our days the greatest
hindrance in accepting the perfection the gospel asks and
offers, is that they make the law its standard, and then our
impotence to fulfil the law, the excuse for not attaining,
for not even seeking it. They have never understood that the
law is but a preparation for something better; and that when
that which is perfect is come, that which is in part is done
The Law demands; the Law calls to effort; the Law means
self. It puts self upon doing its utmost. But it makes
nothing perfect, neither the conscience nor the worshiper.
This is what Christ came to bring. The very perfection which
the law could not give He does give. The Epistle tells us
that He was made a Priest, not as Aaron, after the law and
in connection with the service of a carnal commandment,
which had to be disannulled because of its weakness and
unprofitableness, but after the power of an endless life.
What Christ, as Priest, has wrought and now works, is all in
the power of an inward birth, of a new life, of the eternal
life. What is born into me, what is as a spirit and life
within me, has its own power of growth and action. Christ's
being made perfect Himself through suffering and obedience;
His having perfected us by that sacrifice by which He was
perfected Himself; and His communication of that perfection
to us, is all in the power of an endless life. It works in
us as a life power; in no other way could we become
partakers of it.
Perfection is not through the law; let us listen to the
blessed lesson. Let us take the warning. The law is so
closely connected with perfection, was so long its only
representative and forerunner, that we can hardly realize:
the law makes nothing perfect. Let us take the
encouragement: What the law could not do, God, sending His
Son, has done. The Son, perfected for evermore, has
perfected us for ever. It is in Jesus we have our
perfection. It is in living union with Him, it is when He is
within us, not only as a seed or a little child, but formed
within us, dwelling within us, that we shall know how far He
can make us perfect. It is faith that leads us in the path
of perfection. It is the faith that sees, that receives,
that lives in Jesus the Perfect One, that will bear us on to
the perfection God would have.
Day 22 -- CHRIST HAS PERFECTED US.
"But Christ, through the greater and more perfect
tabernacle, through His own blood, entered once for all into
the holy place." Heb. 9: 11, 12.
"By one offering He has perfected forever them that are
sanctified." Heb. 10: 14.
In Christ's work, as set before us in the Epistle to the
Hebrews, there are two parts. In contrast with the worldly
sanctuary, He is the minister of the true tabernacle. The
Holiest of all is now open to us: Christ has opened the way
through a more perfect tabernacle into the presence of God.
He has prepared and opened up for us a place of perfect
fellowship with God, of access, in a life of faith, which
means a life in full union with Christ, into God's immediate
There must be harmony between the place of worship and
the worshiper. As He has prepared the perfect sanctuary, the
Holiest of all, for us, He has prepared us for it too. "By
one offering He has perfected forever them that are
sanctified." For the sanctuary the sanctified ones; for the
Holiest of all a holy priesthood; for the perfect tabernacle
the perfected worshiper.
"By one sacrifice He has perfected forever them that are
sanctified." The word perfected cannot mean here anything
different from what it meant in the three passages where it
has been previously used of Him (Heb. 2: 11, 5: 9, 7: 28).
They all point to that which constituted the real value, the
innermost nature, of His sacrifice. He was Himself perfected
for our sakes, so that He might perfect us with the same
perfection with which God had perfected Him. What is this
perfection with which God perfected Him through suffering,
in which He was perfected through obedience, in which as the
Son, perfected forevermore, He was made our High Priest?
The answer is to be found in what the object was of
Christ's redeeming work. The perfection of man as created
consisted in this, that he had a will with power to will as
God willed, and so to enter into inner union with the Divine
life and holiness and glory. His fall was a turning from the
will of God to do the will of self. And so this self and
self-will became the source and the curse of sin. The work
of Christ was to bring man back to that will of God in which
alone is life and blessedness. Therefore it became God, it
was proper and needful if He was to be the Leader of our
salvation, that God should make Him perfect through
suffering. In His own person He was to conquer sin, to
develop and bring to perfection a real human life,
sacrificing everything that men hold dear, willing to give
up even life itself, in surrender to God's will; proving
that it is the meat, the very life of man's spirit, to do
God's will. This was the perfection with which Christ was
perfected as our High Priest, who brings us back to God.
This was the meaning and the value of His sacrifice, that
"one sacrifice"' by which "He has perfected forever them
that are sanctified." In the same sacrifice in which He was
perfected, He perfected us. As the second Adam, He made us
partakers of His own perfection. Just as Adam in his death
corrupted us and our nature forevermore, so Christ, in His
death, in which He, Himself, was perfected, perfected us and
our nature for evermore. He has created for us a new perfect
nature, a new life. With Him we died to sin; in Him we live
And how do we become partakers of this perfection with
which Christ has perfected us? First of all the conscience
is perfected so that we have no more conscience of sin, and
enter boldly into the Holiest, the Presence of God. The
consciousness of a perfect redemption possesses and fills
the soul. And then, as we abide in this, God Himself
perfects us in every good thing, to do His will, working in
us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus
Christ. Through Christ, the High Priest in the power of the
endless life, there comes to us in a constant stream from on
high, the power of the heavenly life. So that day by day we
may present ourselves perfect in Christ Jesus.
A soul that seeks to dwell in the Divine perfection of
which the Epistle speaks; that holds fellowship with Him who
in such intense human reality was perfected through
suffering and obedience; that in faith turns to Him who has
perfected us, and now holds our perfection in Himself to be
communicated as a life in us day by day, for us to practice
and put it into exercise in walking in His footsteps; may
count most surely that He Himself will lead it into the
Day 23 -- GOD PERFECT YOU IN EVERY GOOD THING.
"Now the God of peace, who brought again from the dead
the Great Shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal
covenant, even our Lord Jesus, make you perfect in every
good thing to do His will, working in us that which is well
pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be the
glory for ever and ever. Amen." Heb. 13: 20, 21.
These two verses contain a summary of the whole Epistle
in the form of a prayer. In the former of the two we have
the substance of what was taught in the first or doctrinal
half -- what God has done for us in the redemption in Christ
Jesus. In the second of the two verses we have a revelation
and a promise of what this God of redemption will do for us;
we see how God's one aim and desire is to make us perfect.
We have said before, the word "perfect" here implies the
removal of all that is wrong, and the supply of all that is
lacking. This is what God waits to do in us. "God make you
perfect in every good thing."
We need a large faith to claim this promise. So that our
faith may be full and strong, we are reminded of what God
has done for us; this is the assurance of what He will yet
do in us. Let us look to Him as the God of peace, who has
made peace in the entire putting away of sin; who now
proclaims peace; who gives perfect peace. Let us look to
Jesus Christ, the Great Shepherd of the sheep, our High
Priest and King, who loves to care for and keep us. Let us
remember the blood of the eternal covenant, in the power of
which God raised Him and He entered heaven; that blood is
God's pledge that the covenant with its promises will be
fulfilled in our hearts. Let us think of God's bringing Him
again from the dead, that our faith and hope might be in
God; the power that raised Jesus is the power that works in
us. Yes, let us look, and worship, and adore this God of
peace, who has done it all, who raised Christ through the
blood of the covenant, that we might know and trust Him.
And let us believe the message that tells us: This God of
peace, He will perfect you in every good thing. The God who
perfected Christ will perfect you too. The God who has
worked out such a perfect salvation for us, will perfect it
in us. The more we gaze upon Him who has done such wondrous
things for us, will we trust Him for this wondrous thing He
promises to do in us, to perfect us in every good thing.
What God did in Christ is the measure of what He will do in
us to make us perfect. The same Omnipotence that worked in
Christ to perfect Him, waits for our faith to trust its
working in us day by day to perfect us in the doing of God's
will. And on our part, the surrender to be made perfect will
be the measure of our capacity to experience what God has
done in Christ.
And now hear what this perfection is which this God
promises to work in us. It is truly Divine, as Divine as the
work of redemption: the God of peace, who brought again
Christ from the dead, perfect you. It is intensely
practical: in every good thing, to do His will. It is
universal, with nothing excluded from its operation: in
every good thing. It is truly human and personal: God
perfects us, so that we do His will. It is inward: God
working in us that which is pleasing in His sight. And it is
most blessed, giving us the consciousness that our life
pleases Him, because it is His own work: He works in us that
which is pleasing in His sight.
"God perfect you to do His will:" this is the conclusion
of the whole Epistle. "To do His will:" this is the
blessedness of the angels in heaven. For this the Son became
man: by this He was perfected: in this, -- "in the which
will," as done by Him, "we are sanctified." It is "TO DO His
WILL" that God perfects us; that God works in us that which
is pleasing in His sight.
Believer, let God's aim be your aim also. Say to God that
you do desire this above everything. Give yourself, at once,
entirely, absolutely, to this, and say with the Son, "I come
to do Your will, O my God." This will give you an insight
into the meaning, and the need, and the preciousness of the
promise, "God perfect you to do His will." This will fix
your heart upon God in the wondrous light of the truth: He
who perfected Christ is perfecting me too. This will give
you confidence, in the fulness of faith, to claim this God
as your God, the God who perfects in every good thing.
The perfecting of the believer by God, restoring him to
his right condition to fit him for doing His will, may be
instantaneous. A valuable piece of machinery may be out of
order. The owner has spent time and trouble in vain to put
it right. The maker comes: it costs him but a moment to see
and remove the hindrance. And so the soul that has for years
wearied itself in the effort to do God's will, may often in
one moment be delivered from some misapprehension as to what
God demands or promises, and find itself restored, perfected
for every good thing. And what was done in a moment becomes
the secret of the continuous life, as faith each day claims
the God that perfects, to do that which is well pleasing in
Yes, the soul that dares say to God that it yields itself
in everything to do His will, and through all the
humiliation which comes from the sense of emptiness and
impotence, abides by its vow in simple trust, will be made
strong to rise and to appropriate and experience in full
measure what God has offered in this precious word: "The God
of peace perfect you, in every good thing, to do His will,
working in you that which is pleasing in His sight, through
And it will sing with new meaning, and in fulness of joy,
the song of adoring love: "To Him be glory for ever and
Day 24 -- PERFECT PATIENCE MAKES A PERFECT MAN.
"And let patience have its perfect work, that you may be
perfect and entire, lacking in nothing." Jas. 1: 4.
Perfection is a seed. The life, given in regeneration, is
a perfect life. Through ignorance and unbelief the soul may
never get beyond knowing that it has life, and remain
unconscious of what a wonderful, perfect life it has.
Perfection is a seed. It is a blessed hour when the soul
wakens up to know this, and with a perfect heart yields
itself to appropriate all that God has given. The perfection
of the perfect heart, a heart wholly yielded to seek God
with all its strength, is again a seed, with infinite power
of growth and increase.
Perfection is a growth. As the Christian awakens to the
consciousness of what God asks and gives, and maintains the
vow of a wholehearted surrender, he grows in his sense of
need and his trust in the promise of a Divine life and
strength, until all the promises of grace come to a focus in
the one assurance, "The God of all grace will Himself
perfect you"; that faith which was the fruit of previous
growth, becomes the new seed of further growth. Perfection
now develops into something riper and mellower. The
overshadowing Presence of Him who perfects, rests
continually on the spirit, and the whole character bears the
impression of heavenliness and fellowship with the Unseen.
The soul makes way for God, and gives Him time to do His
work; the God of Peace, perfecting in every good thing, gets
entire possession. The soul rests in the rest of God.
This is not the work of a day. Perfection is a growth.
"You have need of patience, that having done the will of
God, you may inherit the promise." "Be imitators of them who
through faith and patience inherit the promises." Man is the
creature of time, and is under the law of development. In
the kingdom of heaven it is as in nature, from the seed
first the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the
ear. There is nothing at times that appears more mysterious
to the believer than the slowness of God. It is as if our
prayers are not heard, as if His promises are not fulfilled,
as if our faith is vain. And all the time God is hastening
on His work with all speed. He will avenge His own elect
speedily, though He bear long with them.
"Let patience have its perfect work." We are so often
impatient with ourselves, not content to trust God to do His
work, and so hindering just when we want to hurry on His
work. We are impatient with God; instead of the adoring
trust of Him, the God of peace, who is perfecting us, we
fret ourselves because we do not see what we had thought out
for ourselves. "Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for
Him," is the law of faith, not only in times of well-being,
but especially in the path of perfection. Faith is the law
of the Christian life to an extent that very few realize.
The assurance that rests in the unseen power that is working
out its Holy Purpose will never be disappointed. As it has
been said of an elderly saint, "She was sure that, however
long any soul might have to continue in the path of
humiliation, with self-emptying, the end, with all who were
faithful, would one day be a filling to overflowing of all
their inward being with the presence of the Holy One."
"Let patience have its perfect work." This is the
command. To those who obey it, the potential offered is
certain, "that you may be perfect and entire, lacking in
nothing." How words are heaped up to make us appreciate what
the aim and expectation of the believer ought to be!
Perfect, something finished, that satisfies its purpose;
entire, that in which every part is in its place; and
lacking in nothing, just all that the Father expects: such
is the Christian character as God's Spirit sets it before
us. There is a perfection which the Christian is to regard
as his duty and his life. Where patience has its perfect
work it will bring forth what the husbandman longs for,
fruit unto perfection. "God's work in man is the man. If
God's teaching by patience have a perfect work in you, you
But where there is to be this perfect fruit, there must
first be the perfect seed. And that seed is the perfect
heart. Without this, whence could patience have its perfect
work? With this, every trial, every difficulty, every
failure even, is accepted as God's training school, and God
is trusted as the Faithful One, who is perfecting His own
work. Let there be first the perfect heart -- that will lead
to perfect patience, and that again to the fully perfected
Jesus Christ was Himself not perfected in one day: it
took time; in Him patience had its perfect work. True faith
recognizes the need of time, and rests in God. And time to
us means days and years. Let us learn each day to renew the
vow: "This day I intend to live for God as perfectly as His
grace will enable me. This day I intend, in the patience of
hope, to trust the God of all grace, who Himself is
perfecting me. This day I intend to be perfect and entire,
lacking nothing." With such a vow renewed day by day, with
faith in Christ who has perfected us, and God who is
perfecting us, patience will do its perfect work. And we
will be perfect and entire, lacking nothing.
Day 25 -- THE PERFECT TONGUE MARKS THE PERFECT MAN.
"In many things we all stumble. If anyone does not
stumble in word, the same is a perfect man, able to bridle
the whole body also." Jas. 3: 2.
There can be no perfection in art or science without
attention to little things. One of the truest marks of
genius is the power, in presence of the highest ideal, to
attend to even the least details. No chain is stronger than
its feeblest link. The weakest point in the character of a
Christian is the measure of his nearness to perfection. It
is in the little things of daily life that perfection is
attained and proved.
The tongue is a little member. A word of the tongue is,
oh! such a little thing in the eyes of many. And yet we are
told by none less than our blessed Lord: "By your words you
will be justified." When the Son of man comes in the glory
of His Father to repay to every man according to his deeds,
every word will be taken into account. In the light of the
great day of God, if any man stumble not in word, the same
is a perfect man. This is the full-grown man, who has
attained maturity, who has reached unto the measure of the
stature of the fulness of Christ.
But is it possible for any man to be thus perfect, and
not to stumble in a single word? Has not James just said,
"In many things we all stumble?" Just think of all the
foolish words one hears among Christians, the sharp words,
the hasty, thoughtless, unloving words, the words that are
only half honest and not spoken from the heart. Think of all
the sins of the tongue against the law of perfect love and
perfect truth, and we must admit the terrible force of
James' statement: "In many things we all stumble." When he
adds, "If any stumble not in word, the same is a perfect
man," can he really mean that God expects that we should
live so, and that we must seek and expect it too?
Let us think. With what objective does he use these
words? In the beginning of his Epistle he had spoken of
patience having its perfect work, that we may be perfect and
entire, lacking in nothing. There, entire perfection, with
nothing lacking, is set before us as a definite promise to
those who let patience have its perfect work. His Epistle is
written, as all the Epistles are, under the painful
impression of how far ordinary Christian experience is from
such perfection, but in the faith that it is not a hopeless
task to teach God's people that they ought to be, that they
can be, perfect and entire, lacking in nothing. Where he
begins to speak of the tongue, the two sides of the truth
again rise up before him. The ordinary experience he
expresses in the general statement: "In many things we all
stumble." The will of God and the power of grace he sets
forth in the blessed and not impossible ideal of all who
seek to be perfect and entire: "If any man stumble not in
word, the same is a perfect man." James speaks of it in all
simplicity as a condition as actual as the other condition
of everyone stumbling.
The question is again asked: But is it really a possible
ideal? Does God expect it of us? Is grace promised for it?
Let us call in Peter as a witness, and listen to what God's
Spirit says through him, as to that terrible necessity of
always stumbling which some hold fast, as to the blessed
possibility of being kept from stumbling. "Give the more
diligence," he writes, "to make your calling and election
sure; for if you do these things, you will never stumble."
"Never" -- that includes, not even in word. Let us hear what
Jude says, "Now unto Him, who is able to guard you from
stumbling through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty,
dominion, and power, before all time, and now, and
forevermore. Amen." It is the soul that knows and without
ceasing trusts God as a God who guards from stumbling, as a
God who watches and keeps us every moment through Jesus
Christ, that will without ceasing sing this song of praise.
The three texts on "stumbling" are the only ones in the
New Testament in which the word occurs in reference to the
Christian life. The text in James is heard quoted a hundred
times for every time the texts in Peter and Jude are cited.
And Christ has said, "According to your faith be it unto
you." If our faith feeds only and always on, "In many things
we all stumble," no wonder that we do stumble. If with that
"stumble" we take the "stumble not" that follows, "If any
man stumble not in word, the same is a perfect man," and the
"not stumble" of Peter and Jude, the faith that embraces the
promise will obtain it: God's power will translate it into
our experience, and our life will be a living Epistle into
which God's words have been transcribed. Out of the
abundance of the heart the mouth speaks: out of a heart that
is perfect towards God, in which the love of God is shed
abroad, in which Christ dwells, the tongue will bring forth
words of truth and uprightness, of love and gentleness, full
of beauty and of blessing. God wills it: God works it: let
us claim it.
Day 26 -- GOD WILL HIMSELF PERFECT YOU.
"The God of all grace, who called you unto His eternal
glory in Christ, after you have suffered awhile, will
Himself perfect, establish, and strengthen you. To Him be
the dominion forever and ever. Amen." 1 Pet. 5: 10, 11.
Through suffering to glory: this is the keynote of the
First Epistle of Peter. The word "suffer" occurs sixteen
times, the word "glory" fourteen times. In its closing words
the readers are reminded of all its teaching, as he writes
to them: "The God of all grace, who has called you to His
eternal glory, after you have suffered a little while." In
no Epistle of the New Testament are the two aspects of
Christ's death: that He suffered for us, and that we are to
suffer with Him and like Him, so clearly and closely linked
together. Fellowship with Christ, likeness to Christ,
manifested in suffering, is the point of view from which
Peter would have us look on life as the path to glory. To be
a partaker of the sufferings and the glory of Christ is the
Christian's privilege. He was perfected through suffering by
God: the same God perfects us for suffering and glorifying
Him in it.
"God will Himself perfect you!" In God alone is
perfection. In Him is all perfection. And all perfection
comes from Him. When we consider the wondrous perfection
there is in the sun, in the laws it obeys, and in the
blessings it dispenses, and remember that it owes all to the
will of the Creator, we acknowledge that its perfection is
from God. And so, through the whole of nature, to the
tiniest insect that floats in the sunbeam, and the humblest
little flower that basks in its light, everything owes its
beauty to God alone. All His works praise Him. His work is
And have we not here in nature the open secret of
Christian perfection? It is God who must perfect us! "God
will Himself perfect you." What is revealed in nature, is
the pledge of what is secured to us in grace. "It suited
Him, for whom are all things, and of whom are all things, in
leading many sons unto glory, to make the Leader of their
salvation perfect through suffering." It was befitting that
God should show that He is the God who works out perfection
amid the weakness and suffering of a human life. This is
what constitutes the very essence of salvation, to be
perfected by God; to yield oneself to the God, for whom, and
of whom are all things, Himself to perfect us.
God has planted deep in the heart of man the desire for
perfection. Is it not this that stirs the spirit of the
artist and the poet, of the discoverer and the artificer? Is
it not the nearest possible approach to this that wakens
admiration and enthusiasm? And is it only in grace that all
thought and all joy of present perfection is to be banished?
Certainly not, if God's word be true. The promise is sure
and bright for this our earthly life: "God will Himself
perfect you." Joined with the words, "establish, and
strengthen you," the "Himself perfect you," can refer to
nothing but the present daily life. God shall Himself put
you into the right position, and in that position then
establish and strengthen you, so as to fit you perfectly for
the life you have to live, and the work you have to do.
We find it so hard to believe this, because we do not
know what it means. "You are not under the law, but under
grace." The law demands what we cannot give or do. Grace
never asks what it does not give; and so the Father never
asks what we cannot do. He Himself, who raised Jesus from
the dead, is always ready, in that same resurrection power,
to perfect us to do His will. Let us believe, and be still,
until our soul is filled with the blessed truth, and we know
that it will be done to us.
O my soul, learn to know this God, and claim Him, in this
His character, as yours: "God will Himself perfect you!"
Worship and adore Him here, until your faith is filled with
the assurance: My God Himself is perfecting me. Regard
yourself as the clay in the hands of the Great Artist,
spending all His thought and time and love to make you
perfect. Yield yourself in voluntary, loving obedience to
His will and His Spirit. Yield yourself in full confidence
into His very hands, and let the word ring through your
whole being: GOD SHALL HIMSELF PERFECT YOU; perfectly fit
you for all He intends you to be or do. Let every perfect
bud or flower you see whisper its message: Only let God
work; only wait upon God; GOD SHALL HIMSELF PERFECT YOU.
Believer! have you desired this? O claim it, claim it
now. Or rather, claim now in very deed this God as your God.
Just as the writer to the Hebrews, and Peter in this
Epistle, gather up all their varied teaching into this one
central promise, "God shall Himself perfect you," so there
may come in the life of the believer a moment when he
gathers up all his desires and efforts, all his knowledge of
God's truth, and all his faith in God's promises,
concentrates them in one simple act of surrender and trust,
and, yielding himself wholly to do His will, dares to claim
God as the God that perfects him. And his life becomes one
doxology of adoring love: To Him be the dominion for ever
and ever. Amen.
Day 27 -- PERFECT LOVE IS KEEPING CHRIST'S WORD.
"Whosoever keeps His words, in him truly has the love of
God been perfected." John 2: 5.
Tauler says of the Apostle John:
"In three ways, dear children, did the beloved Lord
attract to Himself the heart of John. First, did the Lord
Jesus call him out of the world to make him an apostle.
Next, did He grant to him to rest upon His loving breast.
Thirdly, and this was the greatest and most perfect
nearness, when on the holy day of Pentecost He gave to him
the Holy Ghost, and opened to him the door through which he
should pass into the heavenly places. Thus, children, does
the Lord first call you from the world and make you to be
the messengers of God. And next, He draws you close to
Himself, that you may learn to know His holy gentleness and
lowliness, and His deep and burning love, and His perfect
unshrinking obedience. And yet this is not all. Many have
been drawn thus far, and are satisfied to go no further. And
yet they are far from the perfect nearness which the heart
of Jesus desires. St. John lay at one moment on the breast
of the Lord Jesus, and then he forsook Him and fled. If you
have been brought so far as to rest on the breast of Christ,
it is well. But yet there was to John a nearness still to
come, one moment of which would be worth a hundred years of
all that had gone before. The Holy Ghost was given to him --
the door was opened. There is a nearness in which we lose
ourselves, and God is all in all. This may come to us in one
swift moment, or we may wait for it with longing hearts, and
learn to know it at last. It was of this that St. Paul spoke
when he said that the thing which the heart has not
conceived, God has now revealed to us by His Holy Spirit.
The soul is drawn within the inner chamber, and there are
the wonders and the riches revealed.'' (Three Friends of
God, by Mrs. Bevan.)
To understand a writer it is often needful to know his
character and history. When John wrote the Epistle he had
for fifty years been living in that inmost nearness of which
Tauler speaks, in the inner chamber within the veil. While
on earth Jesus had found in him a congenial spirit,
receptive of His highest spiritual teaching, one to whom He
felt drawn in special love. Fifty years of communing with
the Son in the glory of the Father, and experiencing the
power of the Holy Spirit to make the eternal life, the
heavenly life of Jesus in fellowship with the Father, an
everyday reality, -- no wonder that when John testifies of
it as a life of perfect love, the Church that is not living
on this level can only speak of it as an ideal, in this life
unattainable. To one who thinks of what John was and knew of
his Lord, and what a Church under his teaching would be, the
words are simply descriptive of characters he saw around
him; men to whom he could write: "Beloved, if our hearts
condemn us not, we have boldness toward God . . . because we
keep His commandments, and do the things that are pleasing
in His sight." "Whosoever keeps His word, in him truly has
the love of God been perfected."
John is the disciple whom Jesus loved! The words Jesus
spoke about the love of God had a special attraction for
him; the love with which Jesus loved him exercised its
mighty influence; the Holy Spirit that came from the heart
of the glorified Jesus intensified and spiritualized it all;
and John became the Apostle of Love, who, gazing into the
very depths of the Divine Glory and Being, found there that
GOD IS LOVE. With this word, "Love," as the sum of his
theology, he links to the word he found in the Old Testament
and in the writings of his brother apostles, the word
"Perfect," and tells us that this is perfection, this the
highest type of Christian character, the highest attainment
of the Christian life -- for a man to have God's love
perfected in him.
The condition and the mark of this being perfected in
love Jesus had taught him: "If a man loves me, he will keep
my word, and my Father will love him; and we will come to
him, and make our abode with him." Keeping His word: this is
the link between the love of the disciple and the love of
the Father, leading to that wondrous union in which the
Father's love draws Him to come and dwell in the loving
heart. "If you keep my commandments," Jesus said, "you shall
abide in my love: even as I have kept my Father's
commandments, and abide in His love." And John confirms from
his own experience what the Master spoke: "Whosoever keeps
His word, in him has the love of God been perfected."
Thank God! this is a life to be found on earth: God's
love can be perfected in us. Let not what we see in the
Church around us make us doubt God's word. When John spoke
of Perfect Love, and Paul of the love of God shed abroad in
our hearts by the Holy Ghost, they testified from personal
experience of what they had received in direct communication
from the throne of glory. The words were to them the
expression of a life of which we have little conception; to
us they convey no more truth than our low experience can put
into them. Oh! that our hearts might be roused to believe in
their heavenly, supernatural, fulness of meaning, and not to
rest until we know that the love that passes knowledge, the
love that God is, the love of Christ, dwells within us as a
fountain springing up unto everlasting life: "THE LOVE OF
GOD PERFECTED IN US" -- the prospect is sure to everyone who
will allow the love of God in Christ to have the mastery,
and to prove what God can do for them that love Him.
Day 28 -- PERFECT LOVE IS LOVING THE BRETHREN.
"Beloved! if God so loved us, we ought also to love one
another. No man has beheld God at any time. If we love one
another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us."
1 John 4: 11, 12.
The first mark of a soul in whom the love of God is to be
perfected is: keeping His word. The path of obedience, the
loving obedience of the perfect heart, the obedience of a
life wholly given up to God's will, is the path the Son
opened up into the presence and the love of the Father. It
is the only path that leads into perfect love.
The commandments of Christ are all included in the one
word "Love," because "Love is the fulfilling of the law." "A
new commandment I have given you, that ye love one another,
even as I have loved you." This is Christ's word: he that
keeps this word, keeps all the commandments. Love to the
brethren is the second mark of a soul seeking to enter the
life of perfect love.
In the very nature of things it cannot be otherwise.
"Love seeks not her own:" love loses itself in going out to
live in others. Love is the death of self: where self still
lives there can be no thought of perfect love. Love is the
very being and glory of God; it is His nature and property
as God to give of His own life to all His creatures, to
communicate His own goodness and blessedness. The gift of
His Son is the gift of Himself to be the life and joy of
man. When that love of God enters the heart it imparts its
own nature -- the desire to give itself to the very death
for others. When the heart wholly yields itself to be
transformed into this nature and likeness, then Love takes
possession; there the love of God is perfected.
The question is often asked whether it be the love of God
to us, or our love to God, that is meant by perfect love.
The word includes both, because it implies a great deal
more. The love of God is One, as God is One: His Life, His
very Being. Where that Love descends and enters, it retains
its nature; it is ever the Divine Life and Love within us.
God's love to us, and our love to God and Christ, our love
to the brethren and to all men -- all these are but aspects
of one and the same love. Just as there is one Holy Spirit
in God and in us, so it is one Divine Love, the Love of the
Spirit, that dwells in God and in us.
To know this, is a wonderful help to faith. It teaches us
that to love God, or the brethren, or our enemies, is not a
thing our efforts can attain We can only do it, because the
Divine Love is dwelling in us; only as far as we yield
ourselves to the Divine Love as a Living Power within, as a
life that has been born into us, and that the Holy Spirit
strengthens into action. Our part is first of all to rest,
to cease from effort, to know that He is in us, and to give
way to the love that dwells and works in us in a power that
is from above.
How well John remembered the night when Jesus spoke so
wonderfully of love in His parting words! How impossible it
appeared to the disciples indeed to love as He had loved!
How much there had been among them of pride, and envy, and
selfishness; anything but love like His! How it had broken
out among them that very night at the supper table! They
never could love like the Master -- it was impossible.
But what a change was wrought when the Risen One breathed
on them, and said, "Receive the Holy Ghost!" And how that
change was consummated when the Holy Spirit came down from
heaven, and out of that wonderful Love which there flowed in
holy interchange between the Father and the Son, when they
met again in the glory, shed abroad in their hearts THE LOVE
OF GOD! In the love of the day of Pentecost, the Perfect
Love celebrated its first great triumph in the hearts of
The Love of God still reigns. The Spirit of God still
waits to take possession of hearts where He has hitherto had
too scanty room. He had been in the disciples all the time,
but they had not known of what manner of spirit they were.
He had come upon them on that evening when the Risen One
breathed upon them. But it was on Pentecost He filled them
so that Love Divine prevailed and overflowed, and they were
perfected in Love. Let every effort we make to love, and
every experience of how feeble our love is, lead us and draw
us on to Jesus on the Throne. In Him the Love of God is
revealed and glorified, and rendered accessible to us. Let
us believe that the Love of God can come down as a fire that
will consume and destroy self, and make love to one another,
fervent perfect love, the one mark of discipleship. Let us
believe that this Love of God, Perfect Love, can be shed
abroad in our hearts, in measure to us hitherto unknown, by
the Holy Ghost given to us. Our tongues and lives, our homes
and Churches, will then prove to sinful, perishing
fellow-men that there still are children of God in whom the
Love of God is perfected.
Even as the whole Christian life, so love too has its two
stages. There is love seeking, struggling, and doing its
best to obey, and ever failing. And there is love finding,
resting, rejoicing, and ever triumphing. This takes place
when self and its efforts have been given into the grave of
Jesus, and His Life and love have taken their place. When
the birth of heavenly love in the soul has come; in the
power of the heavenly life, loving is natural and easy;
Christ dwells in the heart, now we are rooted and grounded
in love, and know the love that transcends knowledge.
Day 29 -- PERFECT LOVE: GOD ABIDING IN US.
"No man has seen God at any time: if we love one another,
God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. By this
we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has
given us of His Spirit." 1 John 4: 12, 13.
"No man has seen God at any time:" the vision of God we
may not yet have. The all-consuming, all-absorbing fire of
its glory, bringing death to all that is of nature, is not
consistent with this our earthly state. But there is given
to us in its stead an equivalent, that can prepare and train
us for the beatific vision, and also satisfy the soul with
all that it can contain of God. We cannot behold God, but we
can have GOD ABIDING IN US, and HIS LOVE PERFECTED IN US.
Though the brightness of God's glory is not now to be seen,
the presence of what is the very essence of that glory --
His Love -- may now be known. God's love perfected in us,
God Himself abiding in us: this is the heaven we can have on
And the way to this blessedness? "God abides in us, and
His love is perfected in us, if we love one another." We may
not see God; but we see our brother, and, lo! in him we have
an object that will repay us for the loss of the vision of
God. An object that will awaken and call forth the Divine
love within us; will exercise and strengthen and develop it;
will open the way for the Divine love to do its beloved work
through us, and so to perfect us in Love; will awaken the
Divine complacency and draw it down to come and take up its
abode within us. In my brother I have an object on which God
bids me prove all my love to him. In loving him, however
unlovely he may be, love proves that self no longer lives;
that it is a flame of that fire which consumed the Lamb of
God; that it is God's love being perfected in us; that it is
God Himself living and loving within us.
"If we love one another, God abides in us. By this we
know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has
given us of His Spirit." The wondrous knowledge that God
abides in us, and His love is perfected in us, is no result
of reflection, a deduction from what we see in ourselves.
No, Divine things, Divine Love, the Divine indwelling, are
only seen in a Divine light. "By this we know them, because
He has given us of His Spirit." John remembers how little
the disciples understood or experienced of the words of
Jesus until that never-to-be forgotten day when, in the
light of the fire that came from heaven, all became luminous
and real. It is the Holy Spirit alone, not in His ordinary
gracious workings, such as the disciples also had before
that day, but in His special bestowment, direct from the
throne of the exalted Jesus, to make Him personally and
permanently present to the soul that will rest content with
nothing less -- it is the Holy Spirit alone, by whom we know
that God dwells in us, and we in Him, and that His love is
perfected in us.
It is in the Christian life now still, even as it was
then. It is the special work of the Holy Spirit to reveal
the indwelling God and to perfect us in love. By slow steps
we have to master now one side of truth and then another; to
practise now one grace and then the very opposite. For a
time our whole heart goes out in the aim to know and do His
will. Then, again, it is as if there is but one thing to do
-- to love -- and we feel as if in our own home, in all our
dealings with men, in our outlook in the Church and the
world, we needed but to practise love. After a time we feel
how we fail, and we turn to the word that calls us to faith,
to cease from self and to trust in Him who works both to
will and to do. Here once more we come short, and we feel
that this alone can meet our need -- a share in the
Pentecostal gift -- the Spirit given in power as not before.
Let none faint nor be discouraged. Let us seek to obey, and
to love, and to trust with a perfect heart. In that
whereunto we have attained let us be faithful. But so let us
press on to perfection: let us confidently expect that this
portion also of the word will be made all our own: "If we
love one another, God abides in us, and the love of God is
perfected in us. By this we know it, because He has given us
of His Spirit."
It is only in the path of love -- love in practical
exercise seeking to be perfect love -- that this wondrous
blessing can be found: God abiding in us, and we in Him. And
it is only by the Holy Ghost that we can know that we have
it. God abiding in us, and His love perfected in us: God is
Love; how sure it is that He longs to abide with us! God is
Love, who sends forth the Spirit of His Son to fill the
hearts that are open to Him: how sure it is that we can be
perfected in love. A perfect heart can count upon being
filled with a perfect love: let nothing less than perfect
love be our aim, that we may have God abiding in us, and His
love perfected in us; we shall know it by the Spirit which
He has given us.
Day 30 -- PERFECT LOVE: AS HE IS, EVEN SO ARE WE.
"Herein is love made perfect in us, that we may have
boldness in the day of judgment: because as He is, even so
are we in this world." 1 John 4: 17.
Let us look back on the steps in the life of perfected
love that have been set before as thus far. The Divine love
entering the heart, manifests itself first in loving
obedience to Christ. Of that obedience, love to the brethren
in active exercise becomes the chief mark and manifestation.
In this obedient love and loving obedience, the principle of
fellowship with God, God abiding in us, is developed and
strengthened. Of this fellowship the Holy Spirit gives the
evidence and abiding consciousness. Such is the path in
which love is perfected. Obedience to Christ: love to the
brethren; the indwelling of God in us, and us in Him; the
communication and revelation of all this by the Holy Spirit:
all these are correlated ideas -- they imply and condition
each other. Together they make up the blessed life of
The perfect heart began by seeking God wholly and alone.
It found Him in the perfect way, of obedient love to the
Lord, ministering and loving to the brethren. So it came in
Christ to the Father, and fellowship with Him. So it was
prepared and opened for that special illumination of the
Spirit which revealed God's indwelling: the Father came to
take up His abode. What was at first but a little seed --
the perfect heart -- has grown up and borne fruit; the
perfect heart is now a heart in which the love of God is
perfected. Love has taken full possession, and reigns
throughout the whole being.
Has the apostle now anything more that he can say of
perfect love? Yes; two things. He tells what is its highest
blessing: "Herein is love made perfect in us, that we may
have boldness in the day of judgment." And what is its
deepest ground or reason? "Because as He is, even so are we
in the world." The former of these two thoughts we find
again in the next verse. Let us here consider the latter.
"Because as He is, even so are we in the world." It is in
Christ we are perfect. It is with the same perfection with
which Christ was perfected Himself that He made us perfect,
that God now perfects us. Our place in Christ implies
perfect unity of life and spirit, of disposition and
character. John gathers up all the elements of the perfect
love he has mentioned, and in view of the day of judgment,
and the boldness perfect love will give us, combines them
into this one, "Because as He is, even so are we in the
"As He is, so are we." In chapter 2 he had said, "He that
says he abides in Him, ought himself also to walk even as He
walked." Likeness to Christ in His walk of obedience on
earth is the mark of perfect love.
In chapter 3 we read, "Everyone that has this hope set on
Him (the hope of being like Him, when we will see Him as He
is), perfects himself, even as He is pure." Likeness to
Christ in His heavenly purity is the mark of perfect love.
In chapter 3 we read further, "Hereby know we love,
because He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay
down our lives for the brethren." Likeness to Christ in His
love to us is the mark of perfect love.
In the last night Jesus prayed, "That they may be one,
even as we are one; I in them, and You in Me, that they may
be made perfect in one." Likeness to Christ in His
fellowship with the Father, God in us and we in Him, is the
mark of perfect love. God gave Christ to save us, by
becoming our life, by taking us up into union with Himself.
God could have no higher aim, could bestow no higher
blessing than that He should see Christ in us, that we may
have boldness in the day of judgment. Herein is love made
perfect, "because as He is, even so are we in the world."
"That we may have boldness in the day of judgment," God
has committed judgment unto the Son, as the perfected Son of
man. His judgment will be a spiritual one: Himself will be
its standard; likeness to Him the fitness to pass in and
reign with Him. Perfect love is perfect union and perfect
likeness; we have boldness even in the day of judgment:
because as He is, even so are we in this world. O ye seekers
after perfection! it is in Christ it is to be found. In Him
is God's love revealed; in Him and His life you enter into
it, and it enters into you; in Him love takes possession,
and transforms you into His likeness; in Him God comes to
make His abode in you; in Him love is perfected. The prayer
is fulfilled, "That the love wherewith You love Me may be in
them, and I in them." The love of God is perfected in us; we
are perfected in love; we have boldness in the day of
judgment: because as He is, even so are we.
The Love of God, as a fire from the altar before the
Throne, as the Presence of the God of love Himself living in
us, makes itself felt in its Heavenly power, so that the
world may know that God has loved us, as He loved His Son.
The Love that flows from God to Christ rests on us also, and
makes us one with Him. As He, the Son, is, in heaven, even
so are we, in the world, living in the Father and in His
Day 31 -- PERFECT LOVE: CASTING OUT FEAR.
"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out
fear: because fear has punishment. And he that fears is not
made perfect in love." 1 John 4: 18.
Bengel says that in the religious life there are four
steps: serving God without fear or love; with fear without
love; with fear and love; with love without fear. And
Augustine: Fear prepares the way for love: where there is no
fear, there is no opening for love to enter. Fear is the
medicine, love the healing. Fear leads to love; when love is
perfected fear is done. Perfect love casts out fear. Herein
is love perfected, that we may have boldness in the day of
judgment: because as He is, even so are we in this world.
The day of judgment! What a day that will be! Many have
no fear of that day, because they trust that they have been
justified. They imagine that the same grace which justified
the ungodly will give the passage into heaven. This is not
what Scripture teaches. The reality of our having obtained
forgiveness will be tested in that day by our having
bestowed forgiveness on others. Our fitness for entering the
kingdom, by the way in which we have served Jesus in the
ministry of love to the sick and the hungry. In our
justification all this had no part: in the judgment it will
be the all-important element. If we are to see Him as He is,
and to be like Him, we must have purified ourselves as He is
pure. It is perfect love, it is to be in this world even as
He is, that casts out fear, and gives us boldness in the day
of judgment. He that fears is not made perfect in love.
The day of judgment! What a day! What a blessed thing to
have boldness in that day! To meet the burning, fiery
furnace of God's holiness, to be ready to be judged by our
conformity to Christ's likeness and image, and to have no
fear, what blessedness! It is this that makes what Scripture
reveals of perfection and of love perfected in us of such
immediate and vital interest to each one of us.
We have come to the close of our meditations on what
Scripture teaches of the perfection attainable in this life.
We began with the perfect heart, the heart wholly set upon
God, as the mark of the man whom God counts a perfect man.
We saw the perfect man walking in a perfect way, "walking in
all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless."
We found with the New Testament the standard at once
infinitely raised. Perfect as the Father, the child's
standard; perfected as the Master, the disciple's model;
perfect in all the will of God, the Christian's aim and
hope. And then to meet this high demand, the word came to
us: perfect in Christ, perfected by Christ, God Himself
perfecting us in every good thing. And now John, the beloved
disciple, has summed up all the teaching of the word with
his perfect love. Keeping Christ's word, loving the
brethren, abiding in God, filled with the Spirit, being even
as Christ is, we can live perfected in love. With a heart
that does not condemn us, we have boldness before God,
because we keep His commandments, and do the things that are
pleasing in His sight. With God's love perfected in us we
have boldness in the day of judgment.
Beloved fellow-Christian! To have the love of God
perfected in us; to be perfected in love; perfect love:
these all are a Divine possibility, a Divine reality, the
ripened fruit of the perfect life. We know now the tree on
which this fruit grows. Its root is a heart perfect with
God, walking before Him and being perfect. Let us be perfect
in our surrender to Him in obedience and trust. Let deep
dependence on Him, let faith in Him, let a patient waiting,
having our expectation from Him alone, be the spirit of our
daily life. It is God, Himself, who must give it. Let us
count upon Him for nothing less than to be perfected in love
and to have God abiding in us. This is what He longs to do
The tree that grows on this root is a life in union with
Christ, aiming at perfect conformity to Him. Perfect in
Christ, perfected by Christ, perfected by God like Christ
and through Christ: when these words, pregnant with the will
and love of God and the mystery of redemption, become the
daily life of the soul, the perfect heart rules the life,
and the believer learns to stand perfect in all the will of
God. The tree brings forth fruit abundantly.
Even unto perfection. Obedience and brotherly love,
fellowship with God and likeness to Christ, and the
unhindered flow and rule of the Holy Spirit, lead the soul
into a life of perfect love. The God of love gets His
heart's desire; the love of God celebrates its triumph; the
days of heaven are begun on earth; the soul is perfected in
"Finally, brethren, farewell! Be perfected." Be perfect
with God. Let nothing less be your aim. God will show
Himself perfect with you, will perfectly reveal Himself,
will perfectly possess you. Believe this. God will Himself
perfect you day by day, with each new morning you may claim
it. Live in surrender to this His work, and accept it. And
fear not, nor be discouraged. God Himself will grant it to
you to know what it is: God dwells in us, and His love is
perfected in us.
O my Father! I desire to walk in your presence this day,
and be perfect. You have commanded it; and You give the
enabling grace. I desire to be perfect with the Lord my God.
I desire to serve You with a perfect heart. I desire to be
perfect, as the Father is perfect.
These are Your own words, O my God! I resolve to accept
and obey them in childlike simplicity and trust.
I thank You for the unspeakable gift, Your beloved Son,
who was Himself perfected through suffering and obedience in
His sacrifice on the cross, and by that sacrifice has
perfected us also. I thank You that through Him You now
perfect me in every good thing, Yourself working in me that
which is pleasing in Your sight. You will show Yourself
strong to them that are of a perfect heart.
I thank You, O my Father, for the blessed expectation Your
word holds out of being perfected in love here on earth; for
the blessed witness of the beloved disciple to its truth in
him and around him; for the power and light of the Holy
Spirit that sheds abroad Your love in our hearts, and makes
it all a reality and a consciousness. The Lord will perfect
that which concerns me: to Him be the glory. Amen.