The Apostle Paul spoke intelligently to those who were “mature” in the faith. This would be to those who were complete in Christ.
1 Corinthians 2:6
Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that ARE PERFECT: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:
As a result, it is safe to say that Paul knew that there were others who were spiritually mature in Christ. Yet, the Apostle Peter praises Paul for his level of understanding, indicating that as far as the Apostle Peter was concerned, Paul had mature understanding of the scriptures. Also, that Paul’s writings were equal with the same authority as the scriptures of the Hebrew Bible.
2 Peter 3:15-16
And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
But, let us look at what Paul was saying to the Philippian church. Here the Apostle begins to give his qualifications, that he was a Hebrew of Hebrews, as concerning the Law blameless without fault, yet, he counted it all as nothing that he may obtain Christ. The Apostle Paul makes the statement that he didn’t count himself as having attained the level which he was looking for, which doesn’t mean, that he wasn’t spiritually mature, or at a higher level than others around him. Because the Apostle Paul then goes on to say….
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 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. Nevertheless, whereto we have ALREADY ATTAINED, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.
Again, Paul points to those who he considered as spiritually mature in Christ, but then goes on to say (including himself) as to what they have attained they were to keep pressing on further towards that high calling in Christ. This they should do while always leaving behind carnal religious works and credentials, which amount to nothing. In Philippians 3:17, the Apostle Paul gives himself as an example to the Body of Christ. This example should be noted and followed.
Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.
Was the Apostle Paul mature, and spiritually complete? The scripture would indicate that he was, but he believed that he could go even farther. Therefore the Apostle encouraged all those in the Body of Christ to also go further, and reach towards a high level of spiritual maturity in Christ Jesus.
Did Jesus expect His followers to become complete and spiritually mature? Yes, because Jesus Himself told us to be perfect as the Father was perfect. If it couldn’t be attained, then why would He tell us to “be” something, which was impossible to reach?
The Apostle Paul tells us that when he was a child, he spake as a child, he understood as a child, he thought as a child: but when he became a man, he put away childish things. When he became a man, fully mature spiritually. There comes a time when we are no longer looking at a blurred self-image of ourselves in Christ, but we see as God sees us. Therefore, Paul taught that the duty of the ministry was to encourage those in the church to press on towards the high calling in Christ Jesus.
Whom we preach, WARNING every man, and TEACHING every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man PERFECT in Christ Jesus:
Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand PERFECT and COMPLETE in ALL the will of God.
Paul taught that we were to press on to be able to stand spiritually mature in all the will of God. Not our own human carnal will, but God’s will, His leading of His Spirit. Therefore, the Apostle goes on to say…..
To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of JUST MEN MADE PERFECT,
We are told that the just will live by faith, and warned NOT to turn back.
Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.
So, obeying God, and following God without drawing back, while pressing on to the high calling in Christ Jesus brings believers to maturity. So, is it possible to attain? It most certainly is.
Did Paul reach spiritual maturity? The scripture seems to indicate that he did. Just that the Apostle believed he could go even higher.
Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you PERFECT in EVERY good work to DO HIS WILL, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Copyright © 2012 DD Benincasa. All Rights Reserved.