"Come out of her my People" - Jesus Christ

What is perfectionism? Perfectionism is the doctrine that a Christian can reach a plateau of sinless-ness, and flawlessness of character in this life.

When is this doctrine DANGEROUS? This doctrine becomes rather deadly when it is said that perfection is necessary before one can be glorified or translated.

EXPLAIN: We must not confuse perfectionism with the biblical doctrine of ‘overcoming’; overcoming teaches that Christ will begin to sanctify the believer at conversion; that is he will begin to set him free from the dominion of sin; and lead him into all necessary truth. The bible makes it very plain that those who are in Christ Jesus cannot practice willful known sin.

Romans 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

1st John 3:3-10 And every one that has this hope in him purifies himself, even as *he* is pure. Every one that practises sin practises also lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. And ye know that *he* has been manifested that he might take away our sins; and in him sin is not. Whoever abides in him, does not sin: whoever sins, has not seen him or known him. Children, let no man lead you astray; he that practises righteousness is righteous, even as *he* is righteous. He that practises sin is of the devil; for from the beginning the devil sins. To this end the Son of God has been manifested, that he might undo the works of the devil. Whoever has been begotten of God does not practise sin, because his seed abides in him, and he cannot sin, because he has been begotten of God. In this are manifest the children of God and the children of the devil. Whoever does not practise righteousness is not of God, and he who does not love his brother. (DBY)

Hebrews 10:26   For if we willfully persist in sin after having received the full knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains in reserve any other sacrifice for sins. (WEY)


1. Salvation demands repentance (Acts 17:30). Repentance means a change of mind resulting in a change of life, and Jesus Christ said "except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3). The person who has never changed his mind about God, sin, Christ, and the Bible, has never turned from sin and self-will to God, has never been saved. The individual who professes salvation, yet does not experience a changed life, is not a person who falls away from salvation; he is a person who has never possessed salvation. He has never repented.

2. The new birth changes a man’s life. The Bible says those who are truly saved are born again.
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (2 Co. 5:17). The new birth is God giving the sinner a new nature (2nd Peter 1:4). The saved man has new desires. God’s nature within him makes him desire to live God’s way. The indwelling Holy Spirit ministers a desire for holiness and truth. The professor in Christ who does not love God’s way is not a saved man who falls away from salvation; he is a hypocrite or a deceived person who has never possessed true salvation.

3. True saving faith produces works.
"Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone..." (James. 2:17).

Galatians 5:6   For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision;
but faith which worketh by love.

A faith that does not work is a dead faith. The individual who professes to be saved, but who is not interested in Christ and the things of God, has a very sad kind of "faith" and it is certainly not saving faith.

We agree with the Perfectionist that salvation produces works; but we vehemently disagree with them that these works in any way perfect salvation. Evidencing salvation by one’s works is one thing; perfecting one’s salvation through works is quite another. Evidencing salvation by works is the gospel; perfecting salvation through works is a perversion of the gospel.

Does practical sanctification have to be complete before one can be saved?

The New Testament presents two distinct aspects to the believer’s sanctification, or his setting apart to God from the world: the two are positional sanctification and practical sanctification. The words "sanctification," "holy," and "saint" are all translated from the same root word in the Greek. Thus the things we say here are equally true for all terms, for the believer’s sanctification, for his holiness, and for his sainthood.

The word "sanctification" itself means to be set apart for special service. There are two aspects to the believer’s sanctification.
First, the believer is said to be positionally set apart to God from sin at his new birth. He is, at that moment, positionally sanctified and holy. He is, right then, a saint, positionally, although, as a brand new Christian, he certainly is not very saintly. He is a saint, sanctified and holy, solely because of his position in Christ Jesus.

"By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (Hebrews 10:10).

1st Corinthians 1:2 To the church of God which is in Corinth, to those who have been made holy in Christ Jesus, saints by the selection of God, with all those who in every place give honour to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours: (BBE)

1st Corinthians 1:30
But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: (AV) --- Also see   Acts 20:32; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Hebrews 10:14; and 1 Peter 1:2.. 

Positional sanctification is a free gift of God’s grace received by simple faith in Christ; it is a secure and present possession.

Secondly, the believer is instructed to be sanctified in a practical sense. This is Christian growth, the putting away the old man and putting on Christ, laying aside sin and attaining to godliness. "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" (1 Th. 4:3-4). Some other passages speaking of this are 1 Th. 4:3; 1 Pe. 1:14-16; and Ro. 6:19,22.

These two different parts of sanctification are present in every true believers life. He is once for all sanctified in Christ positionally at the new birth. Then he is to follow the Lord in obedience and growth in practical sanctification.

Two Old Testament feasts, Passover and the feast of unleavened bread illustrate these two aspects. Of course, the Passover, according to 1 Corinthians 5:7, pictures the believer’s salvation through the atonement of the Lord Jesus. This refers to positional sanctification. The feast of unleavened bread, which occurred during the seven days following the Passover, pictures the believer putting sin out of his life in a practical, daily sense (1 Corinthians 5:7-8). This is practical sanctification. Christ’s Passover sacrifice secures the believer’s cleansing and standing before God. Saved from sin positionally, the believer begins to put sin out of his life and to grow in grace.

The process of practical sanctification is a life long experience.

Philippians 1:6   And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (RSV)

The deadly doctrine of the perfectionist teaches that one’s practical sanctification must be 100% complete before he can be glorified or translated. We will quote a few examples for you.

"God requires of us perfect obedience.  We are to purify ourselves, even as he is pure.  By keeping his commandments, we are to reveal our love for the Supreme Ruler of the universe." The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, September 27, 1906, page 8

“The determination of the cases of the righteous in showing that they have perfected the work of overcoming, and that they are worthy to have their sins blotted out, is the final work of our Lord as high priest.” JNA  JUDGEMENT CHAPTER 4 OFFICES OF CHRIST. page 0040 paragraph 1

In the following quote a perfectionist tells us that the last generation of believers in Christ must be so perfected that they can stand before Almighty God with out an advocate.

“Those who are living upon the earth when the intercession of Christ shall cease in the sanctuary above, are to stand in the sight of a holy God without a mediator. Their robes must be spotless, their characters must be purified from sin…” {GC88 425.1}

Not only is this doctrine unbiblical (there is not a verse in all the bible that teaches such things) but also it is a damnable doctrine. This can be seen when we ask the following question.

What of the people who accept Christ today and are born again, and die tomorrow? Are they lost because their practical sanctification was not complete?

What of the ones who accept Christ just days before he returns from heaven, will they be lost since their practical sanctification was not complete?

What of all the Christians who died thinking Sunday was the 7th Day Sabbath? Will they be lost since their practical sanctification was not complete?

What of the theif on the cross? Will he really be in paradise since he only had a few hours to live after he accepted Christ?

I tell you again my friends that practical sanctification will not be completed till the Lord comes and the believer is glorified. If a person thinks he has reached practical perfection then he is greatly deceived.

Proverbs 20:9  “Who can say, ‘I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin’?"

John 8:7  “He straightened up and said to them, ‘If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.’"

Romans 3:23  “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”

1 John 1:8  “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”

Jeremiah 2:35  “You say, 'I am innocent; he is not angry with me.' But I will pass judgment on you because you say, 'I have not sinned.'”

When you ask a ‘perfectionist’ if they have reached sinless perfection, or know of anyone besides Christ who have, they will often answer, “one who has reached perfection would never acknowledge it and may not even realize it”. I ask why not? Christ fully acknowledged being sinless.

John 8:46  Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?

John 15:10 I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

John 8:29  And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.

The reason the bible says there is no truth in a person who claims to be sinless is not because a ‘sinless person’ would never say so, it is because there is no person that is perfect. In the eyes of GOD even his angels are not perfect.

Job 25:4-6   How then can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a woman? Behold even to the moon, and it shineth not; yea, the stars [angels see Rev. 1:20] are not pure in his sight. How much less man, that is a worm? and the son of man, which is a worm?

Job 4:18   Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly:

Job 15:15   Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints [angels]; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight.


Most Perfectionists promote a narrow view of sin. They often limit sin to the physical requirements of the 10 Commandments; and ignore the spiritual requirements. The 10 Commandments are a basic description of sin; yet sin is also described as:

"not doing the good which one knows he should do." James 4:17
"despising your neighbor." Proverbs 14:21
"haughty eyes and a proud heart." Proverbs 21:4
"everything that does not come from faith." Romans 14:23
"lawlessness." 1st John 3:4
"all wrongdoing." 1st John 5:17

For one to reach perfection he must be living in accordance to all of God’s commandments and ordinances, he must be absolutely perfect, not only in deed but also in thought. Some perfectionists attempt to excuse sins that are done in ignorance; yet God says ignorance will not be an excuse for breaking a single command.

Leviticus 5:17  "If a person sins and does what is forbidden in any of the Lord's commands, even though he does not know it, he is guilty and will be held responsible.”

So if the perfectionist believes he must be sinless to be saved, then he must find every command that exists in the bible (which is basically impossible), and be sure to follow each command exactly in both thought and deed. If he sins ignorantly, and forgets to confess his sin, then according to his own theology he will be lost!


The gospel according to the Perfectionist is a sad testimony; it is not GOOD NEWS. The perfectionist never has assurance of his salvation, he must always wonder if he has lived good enough, to merit God’s grace. And in the end he will fail, because no one is worthy of eternal life. No one can stand before God without a mediator. The perfectionist attempts to climb up by his own merits, by making himself or herself good enough (or as the perfectionist would say, by letting Christ make us live good enough). This heresy stems from the wrong understanding of biblical justification and sanctification. A person is justified by faith in Christ alone. The justified person will be sanctified by the indwelling Spirit, and will strive for the mark of perfection. This striving is a fruit of justification, not an attempt to gain justification. Actually reaching the mark of ‘perfection’ is not obligatory and is doubtless impossible until the Lord returns.

Thank GOD that our salvation is not dependent upon our practical sanctification being completed, but upon our justification and positional sanctification which are perfected the moment we accept Christ by faith.

Babylon Forsaken