Yes, the word does indeed speak of “maturity.” This is important to see, for we sometimes think of the word “perfect” today as meaning “sinless.” There is only one Man who was Sinless; the Lord Jesus Christ, as we see in verses such as Hebrews 7:26, “For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens” (NKJV).

A classic example of the word perfect referring to “spiritual maturity” is the Apostle Paul’s writings to the saints at Corinth. We read in 1st Corinthians 2:6, “Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are PERFECT (KJV).” The NKJV reads, “However, we speak wisdom among those who are MATURE.” Paul had to write to the Corinthians and rebuke them for NOT being mature when they should have been. This is seen clearly in 3:1-2, “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and EVEN NOW YOU ARE STILL NOT ABLE.” It must have pained Paul to write these words. When he first came to Corinth with the gospel many were saved and he fed them with the “milk of the word” (see 1st Peter 2:2). This was natural, for when one is first saved they are indeed “babes in Christ” and need “milk” (the basic, elementary truths of Scripture). But NOW Paul is writing after much time had passed and THEY WERE STILL BABES IN CHRIST! They should have “grown up”; that is, they should have become “mature Christians” who would be ready for “solid food” (the deeper truths of God).

Another example of this is found in Hebrews 5:11-14, “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of FULL AGE, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” Like the Corinthians, the saints here should have been “mature Christians” (“those who are of FULL AGE”), yet their growth had become “stunted” and they were still babes. Thus they still needed the MILK of God’s Word and couldn’t digest SOLID FOOD.

Now let’s look at a verse in Paul’s letter to the Colossians. In 1:28 we read, “Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man PERFECT in Christ Jesus.” Here we see that Paul’s great desire was to teach the saints so they he could present them “perfect” in Christ Jesus. Here too the meaning is the same, for he wanted them to grow into “mature, full-grown Christians.” He wasn’t content to see souls saved and then leave them; he wanted to disciple them so they could “grow up” into spiritual and healthy believers who would bring honor and glory to Christ! This, dear fellow-believer, should be our desire too. If we have the privilege to lead a soul to Christ, we should then continue to lead them on in God’s Word by presenting truth to them that will result in them being PERFECT (MATURE) Christians.

I will close quoting by Colossians 4:12, “Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand PERFECT and fully assured in all the will of God.” Are we praying for other believers in this same way? (300.9) (DO)