Grace Family Bible Church
Presented as Perfect
By: Scott Morton
Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:  To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:  Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:  Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.
As chapter 1 concludes, we see the Apostle Paul continuing to discuss some things related to the mystery. This is very important for us to understand, as this is related to the doctrinal information which has been given to us for today. This is part of the issue of coming to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4) which is part of the will of God for mankind.
By referring to the fact that this was a mystery (something which was not made known) Paul goes on to discuss how this was hid from the ages and not made known. We can see this concept by looking at what the Bible says:
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
The Bible begins with the issue of the two areas of creation. Each of these is going to have a plan related to the reconciliation of them. These were needed because of the fall of the angelic realm. God knew this was going to happen. From this verse forward we see discussions of the earth and the reconciliation of it. These are the things which God was revealing to man.
The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.
2 Peter 1:21
For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
These two passages show how God was dealing with man. He was revealing things through the prophets and these things were speaking about the kingdom of God, which was the plan for Israel. These are the things which were being revealed unto man and they could understand what was going on through these things.
The word mystery is used a couple of time in this program, each time it is used is for a purpose:
The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.
And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?  He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.  For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.  Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.  And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:  For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.  But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.
This is where confusion can start to come in. Just because the same word is used in both programs does not mean that they are speaking about the same thing. In these passages we have some things being mentioned that have not been mentioned which have not been revealed at this point. In the prophetic program there was information being revealed to man. This information was always building upon what had already been given to them. While the new information could be said to be secret or a mystery, it was always known by God and related specifically to the program for Israel and the kingdom being established on the earth.
The information which is given to the Apostle Paul is a mystery which could not be found in the prophetic writings. This is why he states the things he does about this:
Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,  But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:
For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,  If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:  How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,  Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)  Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;  That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:  Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.  Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;  And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
These two passages show how what was given to the Apostle Paul was something which had been hid from man. God had established this before the foundation of the world and knew exactly how this was going to play out. He revealed the information at the appointed time and to the individual who would minister this to the Gentiles. This was unreachable because you could not see this in any of the other books which were written. This is why Paul speaks about how Satan did not know what the cross was going to accomplish. The reality of the cross and what would be accomplished is only revealed through what is given to Paul.
This information is now being revealed to the saints. This is who we are and how we can be described by God. While some might not like this terminology to describe who we are,
To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
This is how God views those who have put their trust in the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) and are then identified in this manner. Paul does appear to be addressing two groups of people, which would cause some to think he might be addressing Israel and the Gentiles here. This is not the case. The saints are those who have put their trust in the gospel message for today. Those who are identified as being the faithful brethren are those who have been applying the doctrine of Romans through Philemon to their lives and have been making the necessary changes accordingly. This is what makes an individual faithful, as they are following what is found in the Word of God rightly divided.
A word which is used to identify this is the word sanctify. Paul uses this term in many places in his epistles to speak about what members of the Body of Christ are supposed to do:
1 Thessalonians 5:23
And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 4:3-4
For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:  That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;
These two passages were chosen for a particular purpose. These passages show how there is something which the Godhead does related to our sanctification (Position) which is related to who we are in Christ. There also are some things which we must do (Practical) in order to be pleasing to God according to His Word. This is a term many individuals do not fully understand. The following is the definition of sanctify which has been taken from Webster's 1828 Dictionary:
1. In a general sense, to cleanse, purify or make holy.
2. To separate, set apart or appoint to a holy, sacred or religious use.
God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it. Gen 2.
So under the Jewish dispensation, to sanctify the altar, the temple, the priests, &c.
3. To purify; to prepare for divine service, and for partaking of holy things. Exo 19.
4. To separate, ordain and appoint to the work of redemption and the government of the church. John 10.
5. To cleanse from corruption; to purify from sin; to make holy be detaching the affections from the world and its defilements, and exalting them to a supreme love to God.
Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth.
John 17. Eph 5.
6. To make the means of holiness; to render productive of holiness or piety.
Those judgments of God are the more welcome, as a means which his mercy hath sanctified so to me, as to make me repent of that unjust act.
7. To make free from guilt.
That holy man amaz'd at what he saw, made haste to sanctify the bliss by law.
8. To secure from violation.
Truth guards the poet, sanctifies the line.
To sanctify God, to praise and celebrate him as a holy being; to acknowledge and honor his holy majesty, and to reverence his character and laws. Isa 8.
God sanctifies himself or his name, by vindicating his honor from the reproaches of the wicked, and manifesting his glory. Ezek 36.
We see from these definitions the issue of the individual having been put into a position of where we can be seen as being holy and set apart for a particular purpose. This purpose is what God intended with us and had determined before the foundation of the world. He had determined there was going to be an entity known as the Body of Christ and we would be used to reconcile the heavenly places back onto God. This is not because of anything we have done, but all because we put our trust in what the Lord Jesus Christ did to take care of the issue of sin. This is what allows for us to be seen as righteous and to be considered holy.
The above is the issue of the positional sanctification of the believer. There also is the practical sanctification which is an ongoing process. This is where we take the doctrine into ourselves and apply it to our lives. This is where we are getting closer and closer to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ. Practical sanctification is something the Apostle Paul teaches in each of his epistles, as we are created unto good works (Ephesians 2:10).
This is why Paul can start to speak about the riches of His glory to us. This is something which can only be spoken of to those who are going to receive these riches, as those who are not saved are not going to understand what is being said.
Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
Paul preached the unreachable riches of Christ, the information which has been given to us. This is what we find in Romans through Philemon. These riches are what are to be applied to our lives as we achieve a greater understanding of what is being said to us.
2 Corinthians 2:14
Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.
This is the knowledge which we see Paul going out and giving to these local assemblies and to us through the epistles he wrote. This knowledge is described as a savor, which is used to denote a smell and is typically used to describe a smell that would be pleasing unto God. We are pleasing unto Him as we apply these riches, which we need to understand.
In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
We see in these riches the issue of the redemption and forgiveness which are already things we possess. There is a liberty that comes with understanding these are riches which are already ours. Individuals who do not understand the issue of forgiveness try to get this on their own. They will pull passages such as 1 John 1:9 and try to apply it to themselves. The members of the Body of Christ do not need any additional forgiveness, as the sin issue was already taken care of at the cross.
That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
As individuals who understand right division, the above passage is typically just used to show that there is something in the future which is called the ages to come. There is not a focus on the fact that there are exceeding riches which are going to be given to us during this time. This is done through His kindness because we have not done anything to earn these things. These riches are given because of the promise of the spiritual blessings in heavenly places which we have (Ephesians 1:3). This is where we will finally be able to see everything which has been given to us.
There are some things which will be given to us at the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10). These are the result of us allowing the Word to work through us (Galatians 2:20) and are associated with the position which will be given to us in the heavenly places.
The reality is that man deserved wrath coming from God. Man had rejected the things of God at every opportunity and should receive wrath. It is only through the grace of God that man can receive salvation (Titus 2:11) because He had to do everything to take care of the sin issue and allow for the possibility of the restored relationship (reconciliation) with Himself.
Paul shows the major difference here between what is going on with us and what went on during Israel's program. He states how the mystery is Christ in us. This is something which never could have been said prior to the information which was given to him. We can see how the Lord Jesus Christ was spoken of prior:
Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,  Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
Here in this passage we see He had the name of Emmanuel. This means God with us. He was walking along side of them and they could actually see Him. There was no statement that He was going to be in them and this is never said during their program. They were looking for Him to come as the King to sit on the throne ruling over Israel and the entire world. In order for this to be true, they would actually have to see Him and be able to interact with Him in a physical manner.
It is only when we get to this dispensation and look at what is said to us that we see a change. The Apostle Paul explains to us how there is a shift in this dispensation from the Lord Jesus Christ being with them to Him being in us.
For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,  Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,  That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;  That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
Nobody else could have written about the Lord Jesus Christ dwelling in the hearts of individuals. This is something which is only true today and occurs the moment we put our trust in the gospel message for today. Paul identifies we are a habitation for God (Ephesians 2:22), which means we are a place where He can live. This is a present reality for us today.
Paul also explains we are going to be presented as perfect. This is a word which causes some confusion for individuals. In order to understand it, the following comes from Webster's 1828 Dictionary:
1. Finished; complete; consummate; not defective; having all that is requisite to its nature and kind; as a perfect statue; a perfect likeness; a perfect work; a perfect system.
As full, as perfect in a hair as heart.
2. Fully informed; completely skilled; as men perfect in the use of arms; perfect in discipline.
3. Complete in moral excellencies.
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect. Mat 5.
4. Manifesting perfection.
My strength is made perfect in weakness. 2 Cor 12.
Perfect chord,in music, a concord or union of sounds which is perfectly coalescent and agreeable to the ear, as the fifth and the octave; a perfect consonance.
A perfect flower, in botany, has both stamen and pistil, or at least another and stigma.
Perfect tense, in grammar, the preterit tense; a tense which expresses an act completed.
Most people think of the idea of perfect as being without flaw, which is the modern use of the word. The Bible uses this word to refer to someone or something as complete. While these might seem to be similar ideas, they are different things.
Man could not be seen as perfect because of the issue of sin which was introduced in Genesis 3 with the fall of Adam. Because of the failures of the nation, God put the law in place. This led to some of the conclusions which the Apostle Paul makes in the book of Romans:
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:  There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.  They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
These two passages show the condition of man in the eyes of God. We could not measure up to the standard of the glory of God and therefore could not be identified as being good. This is because we lacked something. There was also a standard (the Law) which man could not meet. Paul tells us that individuals who continue not in the law are cursed (Galatians 3:10), which is why God did something to fix the problem:
But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.  For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;  Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
The middle wall of partition (the law) has been taken out of the way. This was done by the cross:
Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
The result of this is now we can all have a relationship with God because of this fact. The Lord Jesus Christ has put us in a position to where we can now be seen as being perfect, once we put our trust in the gospel message. The result of our belief is this:
Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:  Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;  To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.  Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.  Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
We see the result as there is a justification which occurs as a result of believing the gospel. This is the identity change where we are seen only as the Lord Jesus Christ who is living in us. This is not by any works which we have done and is the result of His faith (Romans 4:5). This is how we can be presented as perfect when we are caught out at the end of this dispensation.
There is a change which has occurred:
2 Corinthians 5:16-21
Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;  To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.  Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.  For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
We are seen as being righteous because it is His righteous. This is the reconciliation which is being spoken of here, as this allows for us to have the relationship with God that we need. This is the message which has been given to us in order to preach to the lost so they can receive this as well.
This is why we can see the statement the Apostle Paul makes:
But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
There is nothing which we can glory in except the cross. This is where the focus of everything should be and what should be the motivation to preach this message to others.