Let’s Understand, the Command to Be Perfect
Except God. His command to be perfect is found in Matthew 5:48.
Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Let’s look at 2 issues arising from such a bold statement of Jesus from which he does not apologize at all.
Jesus says just before this that if we just look at a girl in lust, we have committed adultery. He says that if we are angry with a brother that is equal to murder. He sets the bar high and then say be perfect. See also that Sometimes the Bible is Overwhelming.
If you read Matthew 5 and see Jesus bear down on us, you finally can cry out and say, “Come save me God, a sinner.” Here, God saves us. We are driven to surrender by the high bar that we cannot reach. I treat this topic more completely in The Sermon on the Mount Revisited.
Here, I want to talk another issue that comes from Be Perfect. The commands of the Bible are clear enough, and we cannot reach it, but we go to church and are all smiles and grace abounds. We go home, and it is not so.
With a Command to be Perfect, We Need to be Careful
Jesus does mean for us to be perfect, but died for us as knows we are not. He does set a path for us though.
Look a 1 John 3:2-3,
2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears,[a] we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.
We do not be good to be saved but want to be pure as love him and want to be like Him. Indeed, our goal is to be like Him in heaven. So, we naturally start acting like citizens of heaven here if we believe. Read all of 1 John 3 to get a bigger picture.
So, to avoid being a church of pretenders, we need to commit to a church of sinners. That is what we are, but we are on the road to purity. But it is a road and not a place. We pursue it while not having attained it. If we pretend, then we deceive ourselves and do not realize our deep need of a Savior.
Let’s Be Children and Keep Growing
Jesus calls us children, and that is what we are. We are not mature but need to grow as children all our lives. Us Christians do not need to pretend to be mature as Jesus said we are children. We are on the road to purity as we want to be like Jesus.
That is a right response to Jesus’ call to be perfect, First confess and surrender, then as a saved child of God move forward progressively in perfection via love. However, we should be very careful not to fall into the trap of acting holy and perfect when it is not from our deep selves.