— I. C. Holland is a Church of God (Holiness) minister who lives in Fulton, Missouri.
Christian perfection is the signature doctrine of the holiness churches. It was particularly expounded by John Wesley and his associates. William Law, an older contemporary of Wesley, had written on Christian perfection, but Wesley in his preaching and writing clarified its essential meanings throughout a long lifetime.
The term perfection is a scarecrow to modernist thinking. Often when this truth is presented it is dismissed by saying, ” Oh, that’s not possible! Nobody’s perfect!” We readily agree that no mortal is absolutely perfect. Absolute perfection belongs to God alone. Yet by the grace of God a justified Christian can “go on to perfection” (Heb. 6:1) and be perfected in a finite state even as God is perfect in an infinite and absolute state. This is well expressed by our Brother Richard Taylor: “He did not intend for us to be equal in stature, but like Him in nature,” or to state it otherwise, it is of the same quality, but not the same quantity.
Christian perfection is the perfection of love, and love is the strongest bonding force in the world. Jesus gave the clearest of all answers regarding love in His response to the inquiring lawyer in Matthew 22:37, 39: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind,” and “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” The Wesley brothers used the term perfect love to define and describe the experience of holiness. St. Paul in Colossians 3:4 tells us that charity, or love, is the bond of heart purity. When the apostle Peter was testifying before James and the Jerusalem Council he recounted his experience when preaching to the Gentiles. He said God bore them witness, gave them the Holy Ghost, and purified their hearts by faith.
This is entire sanctification, spiritual wholeness, and Christian perfection.