The Perfection of Love
“And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.” —Deuteronomy 30:6
To love God with all the heart can occur only when it is circumcised—purified from all sin. It is not a perfect mind, but a perfect heart and a willing, teachable mind.
When we come to calm and candid examination of the Scriptures to find what is the true sphere and limitation of Christian perfection, we find that it is exclusively and only the perfection of the moral and religious nature. It is nowhere predicated on the body or bodily functions and powers.
According to the Bible, no sort or degree of physical perfection will be secured till the resurrection of the just. Neither is it a perfection predicated of the mental powers. Mental perfection is promised us in the Scriptures only when “we shall know even as also we are known.”
But it is a perfection of the heart, or spiritual being, embracing the heart, conscience and will; and whenever, in the word of God, perfection is predicated of or enjoined upon a man, it will always be found to be a perfection in relation to his heart or will; or, in other words, a species of perfection that covers only his moral nature, the sphere of his moral and spiritual relations.
Being cleansed from all sin is Christian perfection in its negative form. Entire yielding to all the will of God is Christian perfection in its receptive form; and being filled with pure love is Christian perfection in its positive form. When the heart is made pure, it is then in condition to be filled with the abiding Comforter, whose presence floods the soul with unmixed love.
This perfection of indwelling love, according to the Bible, should be the normal life of every Christian.
“Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom;
that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” —Col. 1:28
Christian perfection was a constant theme in Paul’s preaching and writing. So it ought to be of every gospel preacher.
“Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect:
but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended:
but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
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.” —Phil. 3:12-15
Here are two kinds of perfection—one is perfection in glory in the future, the other perfection of love which Paul had. We are to put on love as a garment—wear it as a girdle around all the graces; for love is the perfection of them all.
“But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected:
hereby know we that we are in him.”—I John 2:5
Not God’s perfect love to us, but His love perfected in us.
George D. Watson (1845-1924) was a prominent Holiness Movement preacher and author.
The Rev. George Douglas Watson (1845–1924 ) was a widely-traveled Methodist evangelist prominent in the post-Civil-War Holiness Movement in the United States.