The Berean Expositor
Volume 38 - Page 123 of 249
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"The perfect" is sometimes used to indicate an adult, as over against the
immature or the babe:
"Ye have need that one teach again which be the first principles of the oracles of
God are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that
useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness; for he is a babe. But strong meat
belongeth to them that are of full age (teleios)". (Heb. 5: 12-14). The connection
between this passage and the opening exhortation of  Heb. 6:  is plain.  In
Eph. 4: 13,14  we have the perfect man placed over against children, and
I Cor. 2: & 3: with its use of "perfect" and its "babes", its "milk" and its "meat", is
another evidence that the writer of Corinthians wrote the epistle to the Hebrews.
The figure of a race or contest uses these words.  Heb. 12: 2 just quoted
associates the "finisher" with "running the race", and Paul, who in
Philippians was running with the prize of the high calling in view, confessed
that he was not at that time "perfect", is permitted in his last epistle to
realize that he had touched the tape, saying:
"I have fought a good fight (agona "race" Heb. 12: 1),
I have finished (teleo) my course,
I have kept the faith; henceforth . . . . . a crown" . (II Tim. 4: 7, 8).
It is utterly impossible to believe that the Saviour could be "improved" morally or
spiritually, and where it says "He learned obedience by the things which He suffered, and
being made perfect" (Heb. 5: 8, 9) it indicates that He went through "to the end", and as a
consequence He became "the author" of eternal salvation; in Heb. 2: 10 "The Captain
of our salvation" was made "perfect" through sufferings, and in Heb. 12: 1, 2 He
became "the author" and "the finisher", and for the joy set before Him endured the cross.
We shall meet with these words, these derivatives of telos "the finish" or "the end" in
about thirty passages in Hebrews, and when we meet with them in the ordinary course of
exposition, we can deal with their immediate bearing on the passage in hand, our
comprehension being already enriched and illumined by the present survey.
Turning from Perfection, we face the dread alternative, Perdition. In view of the many
statements of Scripture that the redeemed shall "never perish", "shall not come into
condemnation" and the like assurances, the idea of any child of God drawing back unto
perdition sounds untrue. If we mean by "perdition" the orthodox theological view given
by the Oxford Dictionary, for example "the condition of final damnation; the fate of
those in hell, eternal death", then our objections are valid, but if we are resting our
arguments upon the usage of the English term, we are unwise. We must be guided by the
usage of the original word. Apoleia and apollumi are both compounds of luo "to loose"
and in the majority of cases the meaning of the word apollumi is expressed by the words
"perish" or "be destroyed".  In some places, this "perishing" is modified as in the
expression "the lost sheep of the house of Israel", and a further suggestive aspect of the
term is seen in the translation "lose his ward" or "lose his life for My sake". In Luke 15:
apollumi is used of the "lost" piece of money, the "lost sheep" and the "lost" son, who
himself said "I perish with hunger".  Coming to Hebrews, we find the word in
chapter 1: 11 "they shall perish" used of creation. Apoleia "perdition" occurs twenty
times in the New Testament and is used of the broad way that leadeth to "destruction", of