I. Introduction – Philippians 3:10-15
In Philippians, we are viewed as traversing a wilderness, and it treats our Christian experience down here. There is such a thing as perfection in the sense of Christian experience. The apostle here has set before us his own path, and he is not concerned with anyone running beside him but focuses only on the Object before him. Now this is what he calls Christian perfection. We have only one Object before our hearts to preserve us in our wilderness journey.
II. Perfection in Hebrews 6:1, 11
Here, in Hebrews, we have the Object brought before us again, and there is also the Christian is seen on the wilderness journey. At the end of this chapter, we have the truth even brought down to the gospel level – those “who have fled for refuge” (vs. 18). In addition to its general sense provided in Hebrews, perfection is also presented in terms of Christian maturity.
The book of the Hebrews highlights the Lord Jesus UP THERE. He is our object, and He is up there in heaven interceding for us. He takes up our cause up there as our Great High Priest. This is His present work.
Perfection in the book of Hebrews is defined, then, as having our hearts and minds set on the Lord Jesus, and heavenly things.
So our Christian experience is an upward gaze and an upward journey — leaving behind the old things. “Let us go on to what belongs to full growth” is how one translator renders the phrase in Heb. 6:1. The upward direction and focus for the believer are of course determined by the Man in the glory.
III. Fleeing for Refuge
In the Old Testament, God had provided “cities of refuge” to aid the Israelites. A man could’ve been accused of something that had been done innocently, and they could seek refuge if they went to these cities. If a man was killed by accident the person who killed him would be held accountable by death. He could run to a city of refuge so that no one would kill him.
A young Indian boy had been hunting, and accidentally killed another boy by mistake in the woods. He had no intention to kill the other boy. The speaker shares that he told him about the cities of refuge. He also shared that we are sinners, and we really deserve to die, but there’s One who has taken our place. Now, all we need to do is flee to Him for refuge. The story of Jesus is about fleeing to refuge.
IV. Strong Consolation, and a Steadfast Hope
This is also perfection!
There are two assurances of a strong refuge and consolation:
- God swears by Himself and by His word
- He gives an oath, Hebrews. 7:21
There is no one who is perfect, and we cannot attain perfection, but we can enjoy it! Once the man entered the city of refuge, he had the consolation and assurance by God’s word and promise. The perfection that we enjoy is found in God.
A fisherman has given the following illustration for this chapter. After fishing, they would come into the harbor. Sometimes if it was between the rocks and there was a great wind, they couldn’t enter safely. So they’d send a man in a little boat into the harbor with a line. He’d fasten the line to a rock, and then guide the ship in safely.
There’s a Man who has gone on high — Jesus! He is our anchor, and He leads us on!