Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing you be otherwise minded…
Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and 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. Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. Three thoughts are suggested here concerning moral perfections.
I. THAT MORAL PERFECTION IS ATTAINABLE IN THIS LIFE. "Let us therefore, as many as be perfect." What is the perfection? No being is absolutely perfect but God; fallibility belongs to all rational creatureship. The perfection consists in the ruling principle of action, and that is supreme sympathy with the supremely Good. This is a thing perfect in itself; it can be strengthened, but is incapable of any modification. The perfection is, therefore, that of the embryo of character. The acorn is perfect as an acorn, not as an oak; the babe is perfect as a babe, not as a man; the dawn is perfect as a dawn, not as a noon. There is incompletion in development, but completion in the rudimental clement. All Christians have this or they are not Christians.
II. THAT THE MORAL PERFECTION ATTAINABLE IN THIS LIFE IS ESSENTIALLY PROGRESSIVE. Hence Paul speaks of "pressing towards the mark," of" walking by the same rule." The germinal principle is essentially growable. All life struggles for advancement. The acorn struggles to rise into majestic forests, infants into men, the unfledged eagle to soar into the heavens and to bask itself in sunny azure. Life not only creates its own organization, but goes on strengthening and enlarging it. There is the blade, the ear, the full corn in the ear.
III. THAT PROGRESS IN MORAL PERFECTION IS AN URGENT OBLIGATION. "Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing." Like all life, it has not only an instinct and a capacity for growth, but it has a moral obligation to grow. There is no obligation on plantal or irrational life to grow, but on moral life it presses with all the force of the Divine will. The progress is here indicated by four things.
1. By a walk. "Let us walk." Walking implies life, deliberation, and onwardness.
2. By a walk in loving union with others. "Let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing." We are so constituted that social intercourse is essential to the quickening, the development, and the satisfying of our natures. The society that is required for this is the society who attend" the same rule, mind the same thing," one in supreme aim and purpose. Thus walking, the soul advances, gets not only new energy for the old faculties, but new faculties developed.
3. By following the best examples. All life has its archetypes or ideals. The growth of true moral life requires this; hence Paul says, "Be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample." He does not say, I am a perfect example. But, on the contrary, he says, elsewhere, "Be ye followers of me, even as I am a follower of Christ." Be followers of me so far as I follow Christ.
CONCLUSION. Perseverance in goodness, then, is not to be preached as a doctrine, but propounded as a law and urged as a duty. - D.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.