Perfection is a spiritual condition in which the nature of God totally dominates or has completely cleansed out the sin nature in the soul and flesh.
133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.
2 Cor 7:1
1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
We need to understand that sin is firstly a nature and substance which then produces a sinful conduct or behavior. All men inherited this sin nature from birth, because of the original sin of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden:
5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
When we are born-again, the nature of God: eternal life or living water is planted into our spirits as seed just like what happens to a woman when she is pregnant with the seed of a man.
1 Pet 1:23
23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
However, the nature of sin is still in the soul and in the flesh that is why there is a conflict between the born-again spirit and the flesh:
17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
When the sin nature in the flesh has been completely cleansed out of the soul and the flesh, then perfection in conduct or behavior can now become a reality; so biblical Christian perfection is first a perfection in the inner nature of the soul and flesh before it manifests as outwardly as perfection in conduct, thus there are 4 levels of perfection revealed in scripture:
1 Pet 5:10
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.
These four levels are:
1. Perfect— Dominion perfection
2. Stablish—Cleansing perfection
3. Strengthen—Manifesting perfection
4. Settle—Permanent perfection.
These 4 levels of perfection are described in more detail below:
1. Dominion perfection: dominion over the sin nature in spirit, soul and body: This type of perfection has always been possible and has been experienced by many saints of God. In dominion perfection, it is possible to operate perfectly, even though the sin nature is still in the spirit, soul and body. This inner sin nature can be totally dominated by the divine nature from the outside. We see this in the lives of many Old Testament saints whose records God puts in the bible as an inspiration to us. People like Enoch, the bible says Enoch walked with God and pleased God. That doesn’t mean he never sinned, of course in his growth and development, there was a time when he was still sinning, but a time came by learning to walk with God, he allowed God’s nature from the outside to dominate the sin nature on the inside. In the Old Testament, they didn’t have God’s nature in them:
They were not born again, but they had the presence of God with them. They could get the presence of God from the outside and they allowed it to completely dominate the satanic nature on the inside so they were able to operate perfectly in a way that pleased God. We see this record in Joseph, we see it in Daniel and many of the Old Testament saints; even those who had records of sin in any part of their lives, as they grew and they learnt to walk with God, many of them got to the place where they totally learnt to dominate sin.
Can you imagine a man like Job saying? “I made a covenant with my eyes not to think upon a maid”. Jesus said, “if you look at a woman with lust in your eye, you’ve committed adultery already”. Job lived during the same time as the Patriarchs like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the time before the law. During this time, there were some men like Job that learnt to dominate the sin nature. We see this truth in Psalm 119:132-133. So there is no excuse for us really in the New Testament not to have firstly dominion and then afterwards cleansing perfection.
Let’s look at verses 132 and 133 in Psalm 119.
We see here dominion perfection that has always been available.
Psalm 119: 132 –133 “Look thou upon me and be merciful unto me, as you used to do to those that love thy name. Order, (notice the word order) my steps in thy word and let not any, (any means none at all) iniquity have dominion over me”.
So it is possible that by ordering thy steps in the word of God, the instructions of the word of God, by obeying the word of God and doing it in order you can experience total dominion over the sin nature.
There is order in the word of God brethren. It is not just haphazard. There is a way to do the word of God, and when you don’t do it according to “the order”, you won’t get this result. But when you do it according to order, you then have the result of getting all iniquity under dominion and some of the Old Testament saints, in fact quite a good number of them were able to attain unto this.
A person, who is operating in dominion perfection, is somebody who always ultimately allows the will of God to dominate his own will or desires. So a person operating in dominion perfection might sin briefly temporarily, (because of the sin nature still present that has not yet been cleansed out) but will almost instantly repent and do the will of God thus he always ultimately does the will of God. The key word here is always: some of us sometimes ultimately do the will of God, but those in dominion perfection always ultimately do the will of God.
But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first… (KJV) Recall the Bible definitions of sin: James 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
A person, who knows what to do and always ultimately does it, is perfect. Rom 14:23 And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.
A person who never does anything without faith: an assurance of God’s approval according to His Word, is perfect. This is the functional meaning of dominion perfection.
2. Cleansing perfection
This is a spiritual state in which all the sin nature has been cleansed out of the soul and body: When you get born again, the divine nature is implanted into your spirit or belly or your innermost being, as a seed; however, residues of the satanic nature remain in the soul and body. This residual sin nature is cleansed out by the washing of the water of the Word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit:
2 Cor. 7:1: “Having therefore these promises dearly beloved (the promises of the Word of God) let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness (that is that word perfecting) in the fear of God”.
25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
Now, when you get into a state where all the filthiness of the flesh and the spirit have been cleansed, by the power of the Holy Spirit, through the use of the word of God, you would have reached a state of cleansing perfection. It was the same state Christ was in: because he was born of a virgin. He never had the sin nature in him when he was on the earth. It was the same state Adam was created in and had in the Garden of Eden before he sinned.
This state of cleansing perfection has not been attainable by the human race hitherto: it is only available in this third millennium that we have now entered into to some degree. It was not available before because there was not enough knowledge of the word of God to produce enough presence of the power of God in the air to cause cleansing perfection to be attainable.
The knowledge of the word of God and the consequent release of God’s power in the air has been increasing down through human history from the time of the fall. After the fall of man, the knowledge and power of God was drastically reduced in the earth because of the satanic influence through the dominion of Adam by the devil. Then God began to make covenants with men like Abraham and the early patriarchs, right down through to the time of Moses and the children of Israel, and their coming out of Egypt. That’s when we first got the law, the five books of Moses, which was the first formal introduction of the word of God into the earth. More of the Word of God was then released into the earth over the years through the judges and the prophets and the kings: from Joshua through Malachi.
So the amount of the word of God in the earth gradually built up, from Joshua through David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and the other minor prophets up till Malachi. Then there was silence for four hundred years: God did not release any new revelation of His Word until Jesus came.
When Jesus came, through the early apostles, we had the four gospels and the letters of the apostles: what we now call the New Testament books culminating in the book of Revelation that was given to John on the Isle of Patmos. This complete canon of Scripture now becomes the basis and the revelation on which this cleansing perfection will now be possible in this third millennium. This is what Jesus meant when He was speaking prophetically in Luke 13: 32 saying “on the first and second day, I cast out devils and do cures but the third day, I shall be perfected”.
So now in this 3rd millennium, cleansing perfection is now possible.
3. Manifesting perfection: Here, the purified nature of the soul and body has been sufficiently trained to manifest the power of the life of God in the physical body like Jesus did in healing of multitudes when they simply just touched His garments:
2 Cor 4:10-11
10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. 11 For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.
56 And whithersoever he entered, into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought him that they might touch if it were but the border of his garment: and as many as touched him were made whole.
To appreciate this, we need to understand that when we are born-again and filled with the Holy Spirit, the anointing we are given by God is only an earnest or deposit of the full anointing: the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ
13 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:
13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
This earnest or deposit anointing enables to speak in tongues, cast out devils and lay hands on the sick so that they recover, but it cannot produce the spectacular signs and wonders that were an everyday occurrence in the life and ministry of Jesus after he received the full anointing or the Spirit without measure:
17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
34 For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.
Jesus Himself had to learn obedience by the things He suffered between the ages of 12-30 before He experienced manifesting perfection and the full anointing:
8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; 9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;
It is vital here to understand that Jesus never sinned. So it is not as if he learned from his errors of falls like we do. When he was on earth as a man Jesus was stripped of His divine attributes of omnipotence, omniscience and omnipotence. He operated as a man like you and I with the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
He grew in wisdom and stature and so He had to learn from the Holy Spirit how to use the wisdom from the Word of God to overcome progressively greater levels of temptation He faced as He grew: He was never tempted above the present level of His spiritual capacity and wisdom just like us:
52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.
1 Cor 10:13
13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
The difference between us and Jesus is that in every temptation He always took the way of escape and never sinned: He learned obedience, suffering self denial by the power of the Holy Spirit through the Word of God.
15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
We, because of the sin nature in us have to learn by affliction which comes when we disobey the Holy Spirit and fall into sin.
71 It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.
67 Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.
However, there is a consolation here: Jesus had no sin nature in Him; but He had no blood to cleanse His sin if He had sinned. We have the sin nature in us; but we have the blood of Jesus to cleanse us when we sin and by the power of the Holy Spirit through prayer and the Word of God we can gradually, firstly, have dominion and then cleansing perfection.
As we mature with this cleansing perfection, we can then experience manifesting perfection and ultimately permanent perfection. Here is a word of wisdom: It was more difficult for Jesus to maintain His perfection without any blood available for Him to cleanse had He sinned even just once, than it is for you to attain and maintain cleansing perfection using the blood of Jesus, the Word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit. That is why the Bible says we can walk as He walked, become like Him in this life and do the works He did and greater works:
12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
I Jn 2:5-6
5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. 6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
I Jn 4:17
17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
The Lord Jesus operated with full anointing of the Holy Spirit which produced spectacular results on a consistent basis:
21 Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, 22 And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased. 23 And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,
1 And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,
14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about.
23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.24 And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.25 And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judea, and from beyond Jordan.
25 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.
So, we see that the full anointing produces mighty spectacular healings, signs and wonders on a consistent basis; we cannot be entrusted with this full anointing until we have firstly attained cleansing perfection and then have our purified senses trained by the Holy Spirit as Jesus was to discern between good and evil:
14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
It is instructive to note that before this third day, those who matured with dominion perfection experienced manifesting perfection to an appreciable degree. The great miracles we see in the lives of Moses, Elijah, Elisha and other great Old Testament prophets and characters illustrate this fact.
Furthermore, we see this manifesting perfection demonstrated to some appreciable degree in the lives of New Testament saints like Peter, John, and the other Apostles.
In recent times men like Charles Finney, Smith Wigglesworth and others have demonstrated an appreciable degree of this manifesting perfection. However the fullness of this manifesting perfection is reserved for this 3rd. millennium or day.
4. Permanent perfection in which the divine nature through practice and exercise of doing the will of God has caused the will to be permanently fixed in the will of God so that there is no more sin not only in nature but also in conduct. In fact in this state the scripture says one cannot sin— 1 John 3: 9; John 15:7,16
1 Jn 3:9
Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth (permanently) in him (spirit, soul and body): and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain (permanently in spirit, soul and body): that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
These scriptures show that if the nature of God is allowed to develop in the Christian’s life, it can bear permanent fruit in the spirit, soul and body, so much so that the will of the saint is permanently fixed in the will of God that he cannot sin again, thus he can ask what he wills and God will do it for him.
The key words in these scriptures are “his seed remaineth in him“, “cannot sin” and “ask what ye will“
Perfection in the 3rd day
Perfection has always been possible to every generation of Christians, in the form of dominion perfection. It is only in this 3rd day that cleansing and the fullness of manifesting and permanent perfection will be experienced by whoever desires it and is ready to pay the price.
Perfection and Maturity
Spiritual maturity and perfection are not the same thing. In this day of the Lord, it is possible for an individual to be perfect, yet not mature, like Jesus was at twelve years old. It is also possible to be matured, but not perfect, like the apostle Paul was in his latter days (Philippians 3:12). Spiritual maturity speaks of the size and capacity of the born-again human-spirit, and level of spiritual knowledge, understanding and wisdom. Perfection, on the other hand, speaks of a total cleansing of the sin substance from the soul and body (this makes it possible to be ultimately sinless in conduct, even though, initially, it will still be possible to sin). In this day of the Lord, with the proper foundation and with diligent application of the principles of perfection, you can come into the experience of cleansing perfection in a minimum of three years. Again, we can see this hidden in the types and shadows of scripture (Luke 13:32) Perfection and maturity are not the same.
Therefore, you do not have to wait until you are mature before you can enter perfection. Perfection can even be attained in the first few years of your Christian life if the foundations are laid properly and the necessary degree of diligence is there. Remember, Jesus was born perfect, and grew with that perfection into maturity.
Perfection and Sin
Does perfection mean that you cannot sin anymore? Not initially. Adam was created perfect yet he sinned. Christ also was perfect and was tempted to sin (Hebrew 4:14-15), which means it was possible for Him to do so, even though He did not. However, it is possible to get to a stage in perfection: permanent perfection where it will not be possible to sin anymore (1 John 3:9).
Christ as a pattern for Perfection
We can see the various stages of perfection patterned in the life of Christ:
Dominion and Cleansing Perfection (for Jesus this could be termed Training Perfection since He had no sin nature in Him to dominate or cleanse, though, He resisted and dominated temptation in His flesh from the sin substance in the air (Ephesians 2:2) and environment around Him
—Jesus from 12-30 years.
Manifesting Perfection– Jesus from 30-33 years.
Permanent Perfection–Jesus from Gethsemane to the Cross.