The perfect law of God requires only this: complete love without the least defect—all the heart, all the soul, and all the might. A corrupt grain makes the whole unacceptable, as one condition not observed forfeits the whole lease, though all the rest be kept. … We are bound to strive after [this perfect law] … We cannot arrive to the perfectness of the glorified estate, but we are pressing towards it. Allowed failings cannot stand with sincerity … he that cares not how little God be loved, provided he may be saved, does not sincerely love God. A true Christian will endeavour a constant progress, and aim at no less than perfection. Christians, this is still your rule, all the heart and all the soul, and all the might. The Lord has such a full right to your love, that coldness is a kind of a hatred, and the grace which we received in conversion will urge us to it … The whole latitude of understanding, will, and affections is due to Him, without division or derivation to other things.Thomas Manton (Works 13:171)
Let us not dream that true Christians can ever attain such a state of perfection in this world as not to need the mediation and intercession of Jesus. Sinners we are in the day we first come to Christ. Poor needy sinners we continue to be so long as we live, drawing all the grace we have every hour out of Christ’s fullness. We shall find ourselves sinners in the hour of our death, and shall die as much indebted to Christ’s blood as on the day when we first believed.J. C. Ryle
Expository Thoughts, 1:65.
We ought to be humbled for our defects, and troubled for every failing in obedience; but we should not be discouraged, though multitudes of weaknesses be upon us, and many infirmities compass us about, in every duty we put our hand to: though we have no righteousness of our own; yet of God, Christ is made unto us righteousness; and that righteousness of his is infinitely better than our own: instead of our own, we have his. O blessed be God for Christ’s perfect righteousness!
The Whole Works of the Reverend John Flavel, 1:437.
There is but a very imperfect union with God to be had in this world
—A very imperfect knowledge of him in the midst of much darkness; a very imperfect conformity to God, mingled with abundance of estrangement.
Here we can serve and glorify God but in a very imperfect manner; our service being mingled with sin, which dishonours God.
But when we get to heaven (if ever that be), we shall be brought to a perfect union with God, and have more clear views of him. There we shall be fully conformed to God, without any remaining sin; for “we shall see him as he is.” There we shall serve God perfectly; and glorify him in an exalted manner, even to the utmost of the powers and capacity of our nature. Then we shall perfectly give up ourselves to God; our hearts will be pure and holy offerings, presented in a flame of divine love.
The Works of Jonathan Edwards, 2:244.
This life was not intended to be the place of our perfection, but the preparation for it. As the fruit is far from ripeness in the first appearance, or the flower while it is but in the husk or bud; or the oak when it is but an acorn; or any plant when it is but in the seed; no more is the very nature of man on earth. As the infant is not perfect in the womb, nor the chicken in the shell, no more are our natures perfect in this world.
The Practical Works of the Rev. Richard Baxter, 11:254.