J. N. Darby.
Christian Friend, vol. 13, 1886, p. 13.
A perfect Christian is a full-grown man in one sense; it is the same word as the "perfect man, the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ" And what is that? It is certainly not being like what Christ was when He was down here, for there was no sin in Him; so the thought of being like Him thus is a mere delusion. He that gazes on Him up there walks like Him down here; but to be like Him as He was down here is not possible. To walk like Him, I repeat, is said; but to be like Him would be to be absolutely sinless. To be conformed to Him in glory - that we shall be, and therefore the heart desires and runs after it now; and that is what is called a perfect Christian. It is not one who knows what it is to have got the sins of the old creation cleared away; it is not merely knowing the work of Christ which puts away sin, hardly measured either by the sin, for it is the whole state of the nature. All is settled, and I know that "by one offering He has perfected for ever them that are sanctified;" that there is no more a question of anything to be settled between me and God, and I have liberty before Him in the sense of His favour. But then I say, Is that all? All my debts paid; but am I to have nothing to go and buy anything with? Am I henceforth to starve without possessing a farthing? Then it is that the believer comes to see, that having part in this forgiveness he has also part with the last Adam: he has got hold by grace of this Man in the glory, and knowing this, I say my whole soul is in that. I have seen the excellency of Christ Jesus my Lord, and it has set aside everything here; I have done with it all; I belong to another place, and no longer own the old man.
It is then the Christian has got to be what he calls a perfect man. He has this object before him; he has got Christ's place before God, and he grows up into the stature of Christ, not that he has not much still to learn, but he has got into his place; he is of full age; he discerns good and evil; he has got hold of his place in Christ, and he knows it. This sets aside the flesh altogether, and also that which is a deceptive thing to many - perfection in the flesh; for Christ in glory is my only perfection. In the world I am running a race I have not attained yet; but Christ has laid hold of me for it.
Those who are not thus perfect are then put into the strongest contrast - "If in anything ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing." I can walk with one who only knows his redemption in Christ with just the same love; but I look for him to get hold of this also. J. N. Darby.