Perfection Should Be Our Goal
"Therefore, you shall be
perfect, just as your Father in Heaven is perfect".Matthew 5:48
This is probably one of the most mis-understood, and also one of the most ignored passages in the Bible. Human reasoning alone tells us that if we sin, and we all do, we cannot be perfect, because perfect is the ultimate level of righteousness, beauty, strength, character, and comparison. While the goal is perfection, many see perfection as being impossible to accomplish, so they do not even try. This is sad, because even though we know that we cannot achieve perfection, we are still supposed to try to be perfect. We are to be like Christ, aren't we?
The bible tells us that all have sinned (Romans 3:23), and that includes you and me. Thus we cannot be perfect in that sense of the word. Jesus was perfect; Hebrews 4:15 teaches us that He, being our High Priest was tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin. Thus the perfection of Jesus made for a proper ultimate sacrifice.
But the scripture uses the word differently than we are accustomed to. The usage in the Bible indicates a condition of completeness or maturity. As we read a few passages, we will notice this. Let us notice a few:
The will of God is perfect. Psalm 19:7 also reads that "the law of the Lord is perfect". Paul wrote in Romans 12:1 that the will of God is perfect. In other words, those who practice doing what God has instructed will be spiritually complete or mature. So the law of the Lord and the will of God are perfect. Of course, anything associated with Deity is perfect. Paul wrote of the written word of God when he made the statement in 1 Corinthians 13:10 "when that which is perfect is come, the gifts would be done away with. This also means that God's word does not need improvement. It does not need anything added to it, neither would removing from it result in good. James also described this law of God as perfect. James "But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. Notice that being a doer of the law brings forth blessings. And remember that this law of liberty is not the Mosaic law given through Moses.
Our goal is to help everyone become acceptable to God. This was indicated by the idea in Colossians 1:28 "Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus." This is the ultimate goal and duty of every Christian to help each other achieve this status. Notice the early church had this charge also: Ephesians 4:13 "till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ". Notice also: Colossians 4:12 "Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God". This early Christian made it his life's goal to help people become spiritually complete and mature and perfect in Christ. This is an example we should be trying to follow. Paul also told the Thessalonians: 1Thessalonians 3:10 "night and day praying exceedingly that we may see your face and perfect what is lacking in your faith?"
James also teaches about this perfection: James 1:4 "But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing". James wrote: James 2:22 "Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?" The kind of faith we need is demonstratable, and it is accomplished by doing God's will.
After discussing the inspiration of Scripture, Paul describes one's condition of responding to it in a positive way. 2Timothy 3:17 "That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works". In other words, this person has all the tools available to them to know God's will. Peter also express a similar thought in 1 Peter 2:13: "Keep your behavior excellent among the gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may on account of your good deeds, as the observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation."
Let us all resolve to do the very best we can to achieve the perfection of the New Testament. May we all strive to become spiritually mature and complete in Christ. If we do our part to try to be perfect, God will take care of the rest with His grace.
By Carey Scott January 12,2011
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