I have seen a slogan that I particularly do not like on billboards and on church websites: “No Perfect People Allowed.” Does this bother you? Jesus is perfect…what about having Him in your church? Maybe that is why Revelation 3:20 has Jesus saying,
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anybody hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and He with Me. (NKJV)
There are also contemporary Christian songs that tell us there are no perfect people. Are there perfect believers? If there were, would you want them in your church? What do the Scriptures say? One Greek word and it variations instructs us in this area and that word is teleios.
Teleios is a very important word to understand when studying the Scriptures and applying them to your life. It is most often translated perfect, but the modern translations come much closer to the meaning of the word in our vernacular by rendering it mature. The word teleios as used in the Bible does not mean sinless; and depending on the grammar it means full-growth, maturity, workability, soundness, and/or completeness.
We will study the Biblical uses of the Greek word teleios in its various grammatical forms. We will spend most of our time on Matthew 5:48 and go briefly through the other variants of teleios.
Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:48, NKJV)
Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his classic book Discipleship described what Jesus stated in this verse, teleios, as the extraordinary life. It was not extraordinary in that few believers get to this point, but what was extraordinary in that it was expected that they should be perfect – all them. It is extraordinary in that this is not the ordinary view in the church. This is what spring boarded me into this study – the extraordinary life as brought forth by Bonhoeffer.
I would like to mention three points before getting deep into the study of Matthew 5:48, and in teleios in particular:
First, the teleios life takes time, and a lot of it. We will learn that the teleios life is lived in Christ and as such teleios life is both a present reality and has a future fulfillment. This will be explained and illustrated as we study teleios, but the bottom line is if you are a disciple you are already perfect, and in the future you will become perfect.
Second, the process is of teleios is called sanctification and sanctification has a past, present, and future application. This too will be discussed through this blog.
Third, the role disciples should play in the process is to be involved in discipling others. This is the reoccurring theme here at The Plow and you are encouraged to learn the process by visiting the other blogs posted as the concept is covered frequently.
I pray that you will be encouraged as you study the teleios, or extraordinary, life. Let us embrace perfect people and allow them, and grow them, in the church.