I Peter 5:10; Psalm 138:8
But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect.
The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me.
JOHN WESLEY (1703-1791): All deviation from perfect holiness is sin.
THOMAS BROOKS (1608-1680): When our holiness is perfect, our happiness shall be perfect; and if this were attainable on earth, there would be but little reason for men to long to be in heaven.
JOHN OWEN (1616-1683): Holiness indeed is perfected in heaven: but the beginning of it is invariably confined to this world.
JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): The doctrine of “sinless perfection” [in this world] is not to be rejected, as though it were a thing simply impossible in itself, for nothing is too hard for the Lord, but because it is contrary to that method which He has chosen to proceed by. He has appointed that sanctification should be effected, and sin mortified, not at once completely, but by little and little; and doubtless He has wise reasons for it.
EDWARD PAYSON (1783-1827): When God converts His people from sin to holiness, He could, if He pleased, render them perfectly holy at once…But instead of adopting this method, He grants them, at first, but small degrees of grace, and increases it in a very slow and gradual manner. He leads them round for many years, through a wilderness beset with temptations, trials and sufferings, with a view to humble them, prove them, and show them all that is in their hearts.
JOHN NEWTON: Some of the first prayers which the Spirit of God teaches us to put up, are for a clearer sense of the sinfulness of sin, and our vileness on account of it.
J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): Many appear to forget that we are saved and justified as sinners, and only sinners; and that we never can attain to anything higher, if we live to the age of Methuselah. Redeemed sinners, justified sinners, and renewed sinners doubtless we must be—but sinners, sinners, sinners, we shall be always to the very last. They do not seem to comprehend that there is a wide difference between our justification and our sanctification. Our justification is a perfect finished work, and admits of no degrees. Our sanctification is imperfect and incomplete, and will be so to the last hour of our life.
C. H. SPURGEON: This is quite true, but why not go a little further, and remember that we are “perfect in Christ Jesus,” Colossians 1:28…It will always give a Christian the greatest calm, quiet, ease, and peace, to think of the perfect righteousness of Christ. How often are the saints of God downcast and sad! I do not think they ought to be. I do not think they would if they could always see their perfection in Christ.
HOWEL HARRIS (1714-1773): I was for some time much perplexed about perfection. Paul applied this to himself, and to many others, in Philippians 3:15. It was in that chapter that I had the most satisfaction as to what is meant by perfection. I saw that believers are perfect in all respects in Christ, but imperfect as to degrees in themselves.
C. H. SPURGEON: All of you, I am sure, who know anything about the experience of a living child of God, have found that in your best and happiest moments sin still dwells in you…There have been many saints of God who have abstained, for a time, from doing anything they have known to be sin; but still there has not been one who has been inwardly perfect―Surely, if any man had a right to say, I am not vile, it was Job; for, according to the testimony of God Himself, he was “a perfect and an upright man, one that feared God and eschewed evil,” Job 1:8. Yet we find even this eminent saint, when by his nearness to God he had received light enough to discover his own condition, exclaiming, “Behold I am vile.”
JOHN LELAND (1754-1841): When Isaiah, the sublime prophet, saw the Lord on a throne of glory, and the heavenly host adoring before him, from a deep sense of his own pollution, the pensive confession flowed from his lips: “Woe is me, for I am undone; for I am a man of unclean lips.”
JOHN NEWTON: The examples of the saints recorded in Scripture prove—and indeed of the saints in general—that the greater measure any person has of the grace of God…so much the more deep and sensible their perception of indwelling sin and infirmity has always been: so it was with Job, Isaiah, Daniel, and Paul.
JOHN LELAND: The knowledge which Paul had in the mysteries of God, was exquisite—his labours in the ministry were abundant—his sufferings, for Christ’s sake, above measure—his tour to the third heaven, very friendly for the health of his soul—and yet, long after this, we hear him lamenting in piteous groans, “O, wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I yet find a law in my members, bringing me into captivity, to the law of sin,” Romans 7:23,24.
RICHARD SIBBES (1577-1635): The reason for this mixture is that we carry about us a double principle, grace and nature. The end of it is especially to preserve us from those two dangerous rocks which our natures are prone to dash upon, security and pride, and to force us to pitch our rest on justification, not sanctification, which, besides imperfection, has some stains. “O wretched man that I am!” says Paul, with a sense of his corruption. Yet he breaks out into thanks to God through Jesus Christ our Lord, verse 25.
C. H. SPURGEON: Sometimes, I think that, if God’s people mentioned in the Old and New Testaments had all been perfect, I should have despaired, but, because they seem to have had just the kind of faults I grieve over in myself, I do not feel any more lenient toward my faults, but I do rejoice that I also may say with each of them, “The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me.”
ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): Surely the Scripture promises the thing; and the power of God can carry us on to the possession of it.
C. H. SPURGEON: He will most assuredly, beyond a doubt, bring to perfection my faith, my love, my hope, and every grace. He will perfect my body, and perfect my soul. While I am fully persuaded that perfection is absolutely impossible to any man beneath the sky, I feel equally sure that, to every believer, future perfection is certain beyond a doubt. The day shall come when the Lord shall make us perfectly pure and holy; when He shall not merely subdue our lusts, but He shall make us holy, and unblamable, and unreproveable in His sight.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): Paul’s confidence was this, that “He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ,” Philippians 1:6. That is my only hope. I am in His hands, and the process is going on. God is dealing with me, and my heart is being cleansed. God has set His hand to this task, and I know, because of that, that a day is coming when I shall be faultless and blameless, without spot or wrinkle, without any defilement.
C. H. SPURGEON: That day, however, I believe, shall not come until we enter into the joy of our Lord, and are glorified together with Christ in Heaven. Then, but not till then, shall He present us “faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,” Jude 24.
THOMAS BROOKS: In heaven man’s greatest happiness will be his perfect holiness.