You have doubtless heard a preacher, at some point, say “I haven’t arrived yet.“ This is super common to say in the church. But this is simply not true, at least not the way that they’re saying it.
There is some fundamental knowledge that we need to understand first. Namely, that everything good is already inside of you. Your spirit has been made perfect. You don’t need God to give you a single thing! You are already exactly like Jesus in your spirit.
Hebrews 12:23 (KJV) …the spirits of just men made perfect…
Philemon 1:6 (KJV) …acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.
People don’t realize, that when you receive from God — whether that be healing, wisdom, godliness, or success — ALL of it is coming from inside of you. These things aren’t coming from Heaven above you, they are manifesting from inside of you. The Holy Spirit in you is called a river that flows forth from your belly! He’s also called a fountain that springs up from within you.
John 7:38 (KJV) He that believeth on me… out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
John 4:14 (NKJV) …the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.
There’s so much more to say about this, but the point is, when you receive from God as a believer, you’re not receiving something you don’t have. You are simply receiving something to your flesh, that is already inside of you. It’s not coming from outside of you or above you. It’s coming from within you.
We Have Arrived
With all of that said, it is completely incorrect to make a blanket statement that as believers, “We have not arrived yet.“ The Bible says the contrary. We will get to that in one second.
Now it is true that our flesh has not received of everything that’s already inside of us. So only in that sense, our flesh has not arrived yet. Our flesh has not received all the perfection that is in us yet. But inside of us, we have already arrived. Inside of us we are already perfect. Inside of us, we have already attained to everything. And therefore, it is incorrect to make a blanket statement that, “We haven’t arrived” because you actually have arrived at perfection already (Hebrews 12:23).
Don’t believe me? In the very chapter where Paul says that he hasn’t yet attained, and has not been perfected, he also says that he has, in fact, already attained! He says that we have already been made perfect! And yet, you never hear that part of the chapter quoted. Personally, outside of Reform Church, I have never heard that part quoted in all my life.
Philippians 3:11-12 (KJV) If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect…
This is the part that everybody quotes. And that is true, but only of our flesh. Paul is saying that his flesh has not received the full resurrection life within him, and his flesh has not been made perfect yet. This is not because our flesh does not have resurrection life and perfection available to it. It’s all inside of our flesh right now! He is simply saying that his flesh has not received it perfectly yet. And that’s because we need to renew our minds! As we learn what we have, our flesh will experience it more and more!
So anyway, Paul says this about his flesh. He says that his flesh has not already attained to full resurrection life and has not already been made perfect. And yet, we neglect to keep reading. Look at what he says in the following verses of the same chapter:
Verses 15-16 says: “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.”
Paul clearly says, for as many of us as have been made perfect, that we should be mindful of this thing! And then he says, to what we have already attained, that we should walk this way and be mindful of this thing! I would recommend reading those verses again.
It’s amazing, that when referring to his flesh he says that it has not yet attained fully and has not been made perfect. And that’s the part that we quote in the church, because that’s the part that we relate to, unfortunately. We relate to not being perfect. We relate to not having attained fully.
And yet, just a couple verses later Paul says that we are, in fact, already perfect, that we have already attained, and that we should be mindful of this! Paul says that his flesh has not perfectly attained to everything inside of him, but we should be mindful of the perfection that we already have — that we should be mindful of what we have already attained. And yet, in the church, the only thing we are mindful of is that “we supposedly haven’t arrived yet.“
The funny thing is, when Paul says that we have already attained and been made perfect, this is the part that he tells us to be mindful of. And this is the very part that nobody quotes! We quote the part about our flesh! We’ll happily say, “I haven’t arrived yet. Nobody’s perfect!” But if a preacher got on stage and said, “Guess what? I have arrived. I’m already perfect!” Most churches would stare at him like he was joking.
The part that the Lord specifically advised us to be mindful of, is the part that we are most unfamiliar with. It’s the part Christians are most likely to disagree with. And yet it’s the very thing we should be renewing our minds to! Paul even goes a step further, for everyone that would disagree with him, and says in verse 15, “if anybody thinks otherwise, the Lord will reveal this to you.“
It’s not that Paul was incorrect for saying that he had not attained yet, but Paul was only talking about his flesh. He therefore went on to clarify that he had already been made perfect and had already attained. Then he advised that we should be mindful of it! But you’re simply not hearing that from the church today.
And please, don’t let anyone tell you that the word “perfect” in this verse means “mature.“ The word perfect means… Perfect! It literally means to be complete. And it always means “complete.”
Sure, if the word perfect is being used in the context of perfect understanding, then it would imply maturity. But not because the word perfect means “maturity.” The word perfect means complete. If it’s used regarding understanding, it’s referring to complete understanding. If it’s used regarding a cup of water, it’s referring to a complete cup of water. If it’s being used, as in Philippians 3, regarding you as a person, then it is saying that you are perfect and complete as a person. Simple as that.
The funny thing is, we don’t seem to have a problem with the word perfect, when Paul says “I’m not perfect yet“ in verse 12. We just relate to that. But when Paul says that “we are perfect“ in verse 15, suddenly, we want to translate that as “maturity.“ Because it just doesn’t fit in our mind, that we have already been made perfect. Therefore, “it must mean maturity,” right? But it doesn’t.
The word “perfect” in verse 12 and the word “perfect” in verse 15 are related Greek words. One is “teleio”. And the other is “teleios.” You don’t need to know Greek to look at the spelling of those words and tell that they’re related. Actually, one word is a derivative of the other word. And the important thing is, they both mean “complete.”
Although we’re content to take Paul at his word when he says he “isn’t perfect yet” (speaking only about his flesh), we are simply not content to take him at his word when he says that “we are already perfect.” Yet that is the most important part. That’s the part he said to be mindful of.
We are perfect through Jesus. We have already attained to everything through Him. We have completely arrived! There is no success we have not achieved through His work. There is no grace we have left to receive from His provision. There is no flaw left for Him to resolve in us. His work for us on the cross was perfect. And He made us perfect, through that work. It’s all inside of us now (Hebrews 12:23).
Enjoy being perfect and having already attained. That’s the part that God wants you to learn. That’s the part God wants you to be mindful of. Yet that’s the very part that is being overlooked by much of the church today.
If you’re still having trouble accepting this truth, I would say, as Paul said, “if in anything ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.“
…Please take the time today to share this with someone else! More people need to know this awesome truth of what Jesus has done for them! Don’t keep it to yourself.