The Berean Expositor
Volume 22 - Page 30 of 214
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The figure that occurs with the use of this word both in I Corinthians and Hebrews,
also in Ephesians, is that of a full-grown adult:--
"Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect . . . . . I could not speak unto
you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with
milk and not with meat" (I Cor. 2: 6; 3: 1, 2).
"For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again
which be the first principles of the oracles of God, and are become such as have need of
milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of
righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are perfect (of
full age), even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both
good and evil. Therefore leaving the word of the beginning of Christ, let us go on unto
perfection" (Heb. 5: 12 - 6: 1).
"Till we all come . . . . . to the perfect man . . . . . that we henceforth be no longer
children" (Eph. 4: 13, 14).
With the knowledge that we now have of the word under discussion, we can return to
Col. 1: and realize that there is no intrusion into the finished work of Christ by Paul's
statement, but rather the idea that the believer, whose holiness is already an unalterable
fact in Christ, should by teaching and admonition make that fact real experimentally, that
he should take to the end, or to its logical conclusion, such a glorious position as is his
by grace. When the same apostle speaks of yielding the body as a living sacrifice, he
calls it a "reasonable" or "logical" service, in other words, the exhortation of Rom. 12:
is but the logical sequel of the doctrine of Rom. 6:, or the "perfecting holiness" of
II Cor. 7: 1.
When we come to the great central section with its warning "Beware!" we shall find
that it largely deals with a false sanctification that had its base in the flesh, and was not
the outcome of that completeness in Christ, which is the glory of the revelation of the
mystery. The apostle knew too well that it is easy to become simply a doctrinaire; this
he had already countered in Ephesians--with its perfect balance of doctrine with practice,
and in Philippians--with its exhortation to "work out" because it was God Who "worked
A further expansion of this truth is found in the next corresponding section of
Colossians, viz., 2: 2, 3 and 3: 1-4.  To these passages we must turn in our next