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Can You Be Perfect in this Lifetime?

Updated on July 24, 2018
PlanksandNails profile image

PlanksandNails' goal is to be a catalyst in encouraging the followers of Christ to pursue Biblical truth for themselves.

Within religious circles, there often is a word that pops up when sin is addressed in a certain individual’s life. Someone will say to the other that they need to be 'perfect' before God. There is much truth to this statement, but many misunderstand what Biblical perfection means. The common defence to the one calling for perfection is that we are all sinners and we will continue to sin till Christ returns. They will say, 'Do you not also sin?' or, 'Are you claiming to be perfect?' Many will concede that they are not perfect and no one will ever be perfect because they believe that in this lifetime it is impossible to attain perfection.

Is there any truth to this?

This article will attempt to explore the definition of the term 'perfect' according to Scripture rather than the eisegesis of appealing to popular religious opinions. The fact is to even bring up the word perfection will immediately bring contention because many have been conditioned to believe in religious double-minded definitions according to their particular denominational name brand.

What your idea of perfection is for the body of Christ may be completely different than the standard of Scripture that teaches and admonishes all believers to be 'perfect.'

The idea of perfection is an offensive word within the man-driven church system. In fact, the odds are that it is not spoken of anywhere within her walls unless someone confronts them on their sin and admonishes them to be 'perfect.'

Here are a few Scripture references with 'perfect' as follows.

You therefore must be PERFECT, as your heavenly Father is PERFECT. – Matthew 5:48

Finally, brethren, farewell. Be PERFECT, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you. – 2 Corinthians 13:11

For the PERFECTING of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a PERFECT MAN, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ – Ephesians 4:12-13

Let us therefore, as many as BE PERFECT, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. – Philippians 3:15

Contention with Perfection

It may come as a shock to some, but we can attain perfection in this life as both Christ and Paul attested. They were speaking in the present tense. From here, it is important to come to the understanding of what they were talking about when it comes to being perfect.

And to the ASSEMBLY OF THE FIRSTBORN who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made PERFECT – Hebrews 12:23

This verse is speaking to the ekklesia, the living stones who are called out ones of Christ. They are born again (firstborn) believers having spirits that are being made perfect. They are a witness of spiritual perfection and do not believe that no one can be perfect.

However, nowhere in Scripture does it say that we cannot make any mistakes in order to be perfect. What is most important is to be able to make is the delineation between someone who has made a mistake and someone who is practicing a habitual lifestyle of sin.


When we make a mistake, we should immediately repent and turn from our sin. In contrast, there are those who practice sin. They are still abiding in their 'old man' and have not been been quickened by the Spirit of Christ. They are carnal products of continual willful disobedience that brings forth no fruit of repentance.

No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for GOD’S SEED ABIDES IN HIM, and HE CANNOT KEEP ON SINNING because he has been born of God. – 1 John 3:9

If we make a mistake (sin) and repent, then we can regain our righteous standing before God. Many buy into the notion that they can continually make the same mistakes over and over again, but this only reveals that the 'seed of God' does not abide within them. They fail to understand that when they continually and habitually sin over and over again, even if they supposedly repent or change their mind about their sin, it means nothing to God because the 'old man' is still fully active and in full force in their lives. The fruit of repentance is nowhere to be found.

You are to have put off, concerning the former way of life, the OLD MAN, which is being corrupted according to its desires of deceit - Ephesians 4:22

The practicing religious sinner loves to play the counterfeit grace card and will comfortably say, 'I sin every day, and I will even sin tomorrow.' They believe in the lie that the grace of God is a license to sin because their indoctrination has led them to believe that God forgives their past, present and future sins. This is clear evidence that the seed of God is not present within them. They resort to the tactics of finding loopholes to justify their habitual sinful behaviours. Repentance is not in their vocabulary because they believe they are already forgiven for the future sins they will commit. The only problem is that this notion is nowhere to be found in Scripture.

I will behave myself wisely in a PERFECT way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a PERFECT HEART. – Psalm 101:2

Spiritual Perfection

In Scripture, both the heart and spirit are synonymous with each other.

And said, Remember now, O LORD, I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee IN TRUTH and with a PERFECT HEART, and have done that which is good in thy sight. – Isaiah 38:3

Our Father in heaven is a perfect Spirit. We too must be of His perfect spirit through Christ in order to enter into the Kingdom of God.

If there were no possibility of a follower of Christ to obtain spiritual perfection, then why would Christ tell us to do so?

Christ was a man just like you and I and we can follow his example. We cannot believe whatever we are told about perfection by some hireling upon a pulpit, but diligently seek out for ourselves the clarity of words of Christ and the apostles found in the word of God. This is the only way with the help of the Holy Spirit to be able to discern what the perfecting nature of God is for ourselves.

For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the PERFECT comes, the partial will pass away. – 1 Corinthians 13:9

Physical vs. Spiritual

The Biblical meaning and context for the term 'perfection' is established from the mouths of multiple witnesses (Hebrews 12:23; Psalm 101:2; Isaiah 38:3) as attested in Scripture. Perfection is not something that is physical in nature, but spiritual. Those who are deemed as the ekklesia of Christ have a perfect spirit or heart. This is not derived from man’s natural spirit because it is not perfect.

And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but TAUGHT BY THE SPIRIT, interpreting SPIRITUAL TRUTHS to those who are spiritual. The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are SPIRITUALLY DISCERNED. – 1 Corinthians 2:13-14

The carnal spirit of man cannot understand the things of God. It is only by the indwelling of His Spirit that we can comprehend and implement them. Entering into the Kingdom of God means that a man’s spirit is being perfected by the infilling of the Holy Spirit.

It is the Spirit who gives life; THE FLESH IS NO HELP at all. – John 6:63

Playing church under the old ceremonial laws cannot make us perfect, but Christ is our mediator who brought a new covenant so that we may come into perfection through him.

And to the spirits of the righteous made PERFECT, and to Jesus, the mediator of a NEW COVENANT - Hebrews 12:23-24

Growth and Maturity

The Spirit that is unity with the Father and the Son is the only thing that can make the human spirit perfect. It comes by accepting Christ as your Saviour who is the only mediator between God and man. It is a process of maturing (growing) in the principles of the Kingdom of God and being obedient to His ways.

Not that I have already obtained this or am already PERFECT, BUT I PRESS ON to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. – Philippians 3:2

Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to MATURITY – Hebrews 6:1

Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to GROW UP in every way into him who is the head, into Christ – Ephesians 4:15

Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may GROW UP into salvation - 1 Peter 2:2

And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be PERFECT and COMPLETE, lacking in nothing. – James 1:4

Growth takes time.
Growth takes time.

The process of being perfected is the sole reliance upon the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth. Growth and maturity takes time. It is about walking in the perfection and unity of Spirit being perfected in the gifts. Those who ask, seek and knock will receive good and perfect gifts that only come from Him. You cannot buy these gifts, be certified on paper or make merchandise off of them like the local institutional church does.

Perfection is the process of the spirit of God working within. It is the will of God perfected in our hearts. Man’s spirit is carnal, but the natural spirit can become cleansed and perfected through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The quickening transforms man’s spirit into a new born again spirit that responds in obedience to the will of God. The old spirit that was once dead and unlearned becomes alive through Christ who is a life giving spirit who is one with his Father. Learning from the Spirit of God should become a growing trend that moves us on towards perfection.

No one is born fully-grown; therefore, all believers must go through the maturation and development process to adulthood by taking on the attributes of the Father as our love, faith and works grow in harmony and unity of Spirit.

And Jesus GREW in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. - Luke 2:52


Those who have been perfected in spirit will flow with God’s love (agape). Those who do not have the Holy Spirit will not have love perfected within them.

And above all these PUT ON LOVE, which BINDS everything together in PERFECT harmony. – Colossians 3:14

The outworking of love is an action of good works without carnal motives. The binding is the completion of one’s character through the Spirit by walking in love in harmony with the Father and the Son.

And let steadfastness have its full effect, THAT YOU MAY BE PERFECT AND COMPLETE, lacking in nothing. – James 1:4

Walking in the Spirit by faith perfects love where we become perfect and complete. Perfect love is the bi-product of spiritual growth and maturity in Christ.

But whoever KEEPS HIS WORD, in him truly the LOVE OF GOD IS PERFECTED. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. – 1 John 2:5-6

There are many who continually practice sin in their lives and claim to have the love of God within them. Their version of love has no standard because it is defined in the leaven of tolerance and compromise rather than truth. That is why many who claim to be believers are in the states of confusion, fear and double-mindedness. It should be obvious that these attributes are not a product of abiding in or being obedient to the way of Christ. Perfect love rejoices in truth (1 Corinthians 13:6). Love is the fulfillment of the law through Christ. It is the bond of perfection that enables us to see clearly the things of God and His Kingdom. Perfect love is having the same love that God has. It will flow through us in a greater way as we are perfected in Him and freed from the carnal love that many religious people exude today. The blinders will come off and the hidden agendas will be exposed because of our love for truth.

Faith and Works

It takes a faith perfected by the Spirit of God to believe in something that we cannot see by walking out His promises. Many confess they believe, but the Spirit has not perfected their belief.

You believe that God is one; you do well. EVEN THE DEMONS BELIEVE—and shudder! – James 2:19

Perfect faith is not only believing there is a God, but an initiative where there is an action of obedience that follows the path of truth. Many believe there is a God, but they do not believe in God. Many believe Christ, but they don’t believe in Christ. Their confession is no better than the belief of demons. Belief with no action will bring no power or change in anyone's life. Love, faith and works will be imperfect until there is an intervention of the Holy Spirit.

We must take the measure of faith that we are given and move forward into perfection until we reach the full measure of faith (great faith).

Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and BY WORKS WAS FAITH MADE PERFECT? – James 2:22

There are many who decide to do great things for God. They start their own ministries and churches claiming to be doing great works for God. Unfortunately, they have completely missed the mark.

Perfect works are done through the spirit of what God is telling us to do, not what we think we are doing for God. It is not about something that we have decided to do, but about what He does in us. Perfect works flow from a perfect spirit glorifying the Father through the Son. It is not a glorification of man’s religious works and ministries done in their own names because their agendas are not in harmony with the standard of Scripture.

Christ said he did not do his own works, but the works of his Father. If we follow his example and his leading, our works will also be perfected . That is why love, faith and works must be synergistic all working together to form the perfect spirit in man through Christ.

Put simply, the flow of spiritual perfection is as follows. The Holy Spirit perfects the human spirit. From a perfected human spirit will flow perfect love. From perfected love, perfect works will flow. The product of perfected works is perfect faith.

There are other factors such obedience and sound doctrine. This is how our growth (spiritual maturity) leads to the perfection of our spirits.

Walking the narrow way is not the path of least resistance. Often, it takes patience and perseverance to move forward in the things of God. Many concede to the state of imperfection as an excuse to remain in their carnal ways. They would rather submit to the authority of salaried religious men instead of trusting solely on Christ to lead and guide them in the Spirit to all truth.

Only the Holy Spirit can guide us to perfection of our spirits. We must seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.

Perfection will only come through a repentant heart and believing in the Gospel. It leads to growing in the character of righteousness and holiness as we are being prepared by the Holy Spirit for our eternal destiny.

Do you believe you can be perfected in this lifetime?

See results

© 2016 PlanksandNails

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    • profile image


      2 years ago

      Religious intolerance has no place on the road to perfection. Absolutely none.

      We have simply stopped at a road sign if we think that just one religion has the Truth and no others. Think about it, this is what makes Daesh "Daesh": it's belief in it's exclusivity.

      Christ means "anointed one" and Buddha means the same thing. Get it?

    • Rich kelley profile image

      Rich Kelley 

      2 years ago from The Ekklesia

      2John 1:9-11 Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.

      Condemning? Yep it sure is if you don't abide in the doctrine of Christ.

      Religious intolerance? Not a whole lot of wiggle room.

      Believe the scripture or the opinions of man. Choices that are made everyday. The let's all get along theme has been around for a long time. God warned Israel:

      Exodus 34:12-16 Take care, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land to which you go, lest it become a snare in your midst. You shall tear down their altars and break their pillars and cut down their Asherim (for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God), lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and when they whore after their gods and sacrifice to their gods and you are invited, you eat of his sacrifice, and you take of their daughters for your sons, and their daughters whore after their gods and make your sons whore after their gods.

    • PlanksandNails profile imageAUTHOR


      2 years ago from among the called out ones of the ekklesia of Christ


      I do acknowledge that others will have differing religious beliefs. That is their right. I do not have to accept that those beliefs are true. A follower of Jesus Christ will not endorse any religious beliefs that run counter to what the Word of God teaches. Many of the teachings in Scripture are to avoid and expose false doctrines.

      I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; AVOID them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. - Romans 16:17-18

      Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead EXPOSE them. - Ephesians 5:11

      I acknowledge the right of others to have their own different religious beliefs, but that does not mean that I will not challenge the validity of them based on the standard of God's Word that I believe in.

      Words like "condemning" and "religious intolerance" can be thrown around easily, but there is never a real concrete definition to these terms. To some it means not accepting and disagreeing with someone's religious beliefs, to others it is resorting to violence because of them. Most of the time it is the former, but deemed a "crime" anyway.

    • profile image


      2 years ago


      I found this hub to be a great improvement on your others because it is instructive and not condemning.

      It is my opinion that the ( hopefully past) condeming was due to a clash in what you may or not see as good doctrines. For example it is good doctrine to tolerate all religions and denominations unless they are practicing religious intolerance. Religious intolerance is an evil thing and is spiritually illegal so please no references to not tolerating intolerance because the Truth is we should condemn religious intolerance as a spiritual crime against humanity.

      In other words one of the very first steps to perfecting ourselves is in fact to be tolerant of the various religions. Without this early step we remain "stuck" to imperfection.

    • PlanksandNails profile imageAUTHOR


      2 years ago from among the called out ones of the ekklesia of Christ


      Since I left the corrupt "church" system, God has been taking me through the process of unlearning everything I had been taught and relearning in Him without an indoctrinated lens. The process (katartizo G2675) is still going on and takes perseverance. I am encouraged when I hear of others who have heeded to call to "come out" as it takes great courage to leave the man-driven "church" system and rely solely on Jesus Christ to guide us along the narrow path. The mending process can often be difficult as we must repent and turn from what we thought was the "right" way.

      There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. - Proverbs 14:12

      There are many who believe that they are on the right path in the traditions of man, but it actually is the broad road that they are on. They cannot see the words of Jesus in Matthew 23 being practiced right in front of them.

      Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. - Matthew 23:1-11

      The modern "church" system is trap; it is not a net. The difference is that one uses bait and the other doesn't. Does this sound familiar? The "church" marketing sales tactics is where a potential customer is baited by the advertisement of a low-priced item, but then is encouraged to buy a higher-priced one.

      You received without paying; give without pay. - Matthew 10:8

      Jesus want us to follow him, he doesn't bait us, but simply asks.

      "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will send you out to fish for people." - Matthew 4:19

      When we learn to follow him and his example, he enables (katartizo) the individual parts (ekklesia) to work together in unity sent out with the gifts that each have been given to fish for people. Man's ways cannot teach us these things because being a part of the body of Christ about total reliance on our Lord and Saviour, not salaried "mediators."

    • Rich kelley profile image

      Rich Kelley 

      2 years ago from The Ekklesia

      The below scripture is a real world example of what happens to us the believer in Christ. The nets are being mended because they are still of use for what they were made for. No need to dispose of the entire net because of a hole. The constant use of a net is bound to cause holes to show up now and then, repair them and move on. Leaving a hole in the net is the same as not repenting. An item becomes of no use for what it was intended for until repaired. Who determines what something was intended for? The God of the Israelites. Many of the fleshly wants and desires lead to death. Only the disciple of Christ will find the holes in their nets and be able to repair them. The disciple is not alone there are many around to help repair and maintain our nets.

      Matthew 4:21 And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending (katartizo G2675) their nets, and he called them.

    • Rich kelley profile image

      Rich Kelley 

      2 years ago from The Ekklesia

      Luke 6:40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly (Katartizo) trained will be like his teacher.

      After reading many scriptures with the word “katartizo” and many translations it can be rendered as:

      Be perfect

      Be restored

      Be made perfect

      Be perfected

      Become complete

      Strive for full restoration

      Be made complete

      Perfect yourselves

      Growing to maturity

      Strive for perfection

      Restore yourselves

      The Greek word katartizo is G2675 from G2596 a derivative of G739; to complete thoroughly, that is repair, adjust, frame, mend, perfect, prepare and restore.

      1Peter 5:10 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, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

      None of the translations or renderings become an excuse to remain in unrepentant sin despite the many fleshly definitions of grace that are out there. All uses of the word are actions that are on going to repair or mend to make whole again.

      Planks, you have laid this out quite well. It is obvious that we are to be a work in progress. All of this reconstruction and building is done by following Christ and using the gifts the Holy Spirit gives to every member of the called out one’s of God, the body of Christ, His Ekklesia.

      Thanks for sharing your gift with us.



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