The great commission leads us to the mark God has set out for us – if we obey it. The method that short-circuits the great commission saying “Go, teach (first principles), baptize, and then simply teach (to teach them to teach the first principles to others)” totally misses the mark. Teaching them to teach the first principles to others is certainly a part of the command, but it is only one part of the command. Jesus said “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. . .” (Matt. 28:20). If we teach ‘all things,’ we will teach the mark which God sets before each child of his. What is the mark to which we are called to run? Unless we know the mark (Phil. 3:14), how can we know the pathway that leads to the mark? Philip was very wise when he asked this of Christ: “We know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?” (John 14:4, 5). He did not know the mark nor did he know the pathway to reach that mark and knew it. Jesus said “. . .no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). He was speaking of going to be with his Father in heaven. The way to go to the Father is to follow in the steps of Christ and reach the mark which he reached. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Jesus knew the mark and knew the way to get to the mark. He is the author and finisher of our race. He made it, and he ran it ahead of us (Heb. 12:1-3). He did not run the race so we do not have to run it. He ran it so that we would have an example to follow as we run (1 Pet. 2:21). We need to follow him and run to the mark to which he ran.
The Lord in working all things together for good for his purpose (goal, mark). What is this purpose? Notice the two qualifications required before he will work all things together for good for us. Those who qualify, 1) love him, and 2) are called according to his purpose (Rom. 8:28). He calls men so they will fulfill his purpose. He tells us clearly in the next verse what he calls men to be (Rom. 8:29). He calls men to “be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Rom. 8:30). This is the same purpose, aim, goal of a disciple. “It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord” (Matt. 10:25). When the disciple is perfect, he is like his master (Luke 6:40). We can see that the word ‘perfect’ in these verses is not used as the world commonly uses it today. We need to explore this scriptural word ‘perfection’ as it is used in the scriptures. What is New Testament perfection?