“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:48
Wow! This verse of Scripture used to upset me so much! I would read it and think, “God, I can’t be perfect! Only you and Jesus and the Holy Spirit are perfect! You know I’m not perfect, yet you are requiring me to be so!” This Scripture especially bothered me because it is preceded and followed by lists of so many things at which we humans fail and need to do better. . . a “to do” list, so to speak. I don’t know anyone who is perfect in all the ways listed in these Scriptures. I’m certainly not! Plus, it would be so unfair, unjust, and unreasonable of God to require us to be perfect, and I know that He, being the loving Father that He is, would not require us to do something that we could not do. In keeping with His own character, He would not ever be unjust or unreasonable toward us. So, what about this Scripture?
Well, I believe the reality of it is that God perfects each one of us in our inward man through Him. He is made perfect in us. He is our perfection and completeness. We cannot do it alone; nor does He want us to do it alone. He wants us to realize our dependence upon and relationship with Him. We can do all things through Him (Phil. 4:13). Greater is He in us than he in the world (1 Jn. 4:4). When we commit our way to Him, depend on Him, rest in Him rather than striving on our own, He perfects our ways. He is perfect in us. We do not need to be perfect. As believers, His Spirit is deposited in us, and He promises to bring us into the fullness of Christ (Eph. 4:13). He promises fullness, His fullness in our lives. His glory fills us up. He tells us in His Word that He is taking us from glory to glory, transforming us into His image by His Spirit in us (2 Cor. 3:18)! Do you know you are glorious in Him?!!! You are beautiful in His sight! He sees you through all He has provided for us! He sees you through the sacrifice of His Son and all that that accomplished!
I think that is a hard concept to grasp because we live in a natural world with so many imperfections and inadequacies. The concept of perfection is unrealistic to our natural way of thinking and existing, and the attainment of it conjures up feelings of impossibility and stress, but that is only because we are taking on the care of achieving perfection, something we could never do on our own. God does not intend for us to do that. Galatians 3:1-4 tells us that we can never be made perfect by the flesh, but only by God’s Spirit and our faith in Him. He tells us that He will perfect that which concerns us (Ps. 138:8 KJV). Paul tells us in Galatians 3, especially verses 7-15, that we cannot attain this “perfection” on our own, but we can be conformed into God’s image and receive all that Christ’s death and resurrection provided for us by faith in Christ!
God is not saying we will do everything perfectly, or even that we should expect to attain perfection in our own power. He is granting us a promise; He is giving us a gift; He is showing us His grace when He says, “Be ye perfect, even as your Father…is perfect.” We fall short; we live in a world where lack exists; we live in a world on imperfection, but He is perfect, and He is telling us that He will restore all that is lost. He will bring us into union with Him and all that He is – His excellence, His mercy, His love, His grace – through our faith and trust in Him. He is perfecting us while we walk with Him on this earth, and we will all be made completely whole and perfect when we join Him in eternity. . .nothing missing, nothing broken. Can you imagine how glorious that will be; can you imagine the beauty, the peace, the joy? Can you imagine basking in all of that, in His presence for eternity? Nothing could be more perfect, and as we rely and depend upon, trust and have faith in, fellowship and build relationship with Him, He makes Himself perfect in each or our spirits, so that each of us will come into the fullness of Christ and our joy will become complete!
Joining with you in the beautiful journey as His image is revealed in each one of us,
If you have never made Jesus the Lord of your life and desire to, pray this: Dear God, I believe that Jesus is your Son, that He died on the cross for me and was resurrected for my redemption. I choose to make Jesus the Lord of my life. I thank you for forgiving me and for filling me with Your Holy Spirit. I thank You that I am Your child, that You are my Father, and that You have great things planned for me. Amen.