‘Be ye perfect’

By Jennifer Moreno

I feel that there is a big misconception to the words ‘be ye perfect’ in the Bible.

Mathew 5:48 says the following – “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

But no human is perfect right? So then what does that mean? Jesus’ call for us to be perfect is the only standard He could possibly set for us. But yet at the same time, it is an impossible standard to meet.

If you really look at it ,what are the other possible alternatives? Jesus could have said, “Be as good as you can be or be 90 percent loving to people, be 98 percent honest.” Jesus calling us to be righteous like the father is basically showing that G-d can neither accept sin, nor can He allow us to set our own standards.

We are sinful by nature and we all have a tendency to act selfishly; therefore, making it difficult for us to be perfect. So if we’re not able to accomplish perfection, how do we live then a life trying to be perfect when we know we can’t? That can only mean one thing — grace.

Here is where John 3:16 comes in – “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

There we can see that G-d has mercy on us and through the life, death and resurrection of His son, we are able to be made right with G-d. That’s because Jesus paid in full for us falling short of the mark, He paid the penalty for us that a just G-d requires.

But having this grace once you accept Jesus doesn’t mean that is a “fast pass” to live a sinful life, we are not called to abuse of this grace nor take advantage. On the contrary, we must try our hardest to please G-d in all that we do.

Romans 6:1 Paul enforces this reasoning many Christians have by asking the following- “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?” The answer is no.

Now the reality is that we all sin, we sin everyday, we sin continuously. Sin in the general sense of the term, whether it is a simple white lie to coveting, to looking at someone lustfully, to killing your wife.

So if we continuously sin, sometimes even when we don’t want to, then what does G-d do about that? G-d’s answer is, He will forgive you 70 times 70, or each time you ask for forgiveness.

That’s great to know, but if we sin and repent, sin and repent and so on, what is happening to our hearts? We start slipping into a pattern of numbness and our remorse isn’t genuine anymore because we know we’ll be forgiven.

We need to remind ourselves that when we sin, we are sinning against G-d.

Psalm 51 shows us this – “For I know my transgressions,  and my sin is always before me.  Against you, you only, have I sinned  and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.”

In the end G-d will always strive to make us perfect to His image, in the sense that if we let Him in our lives, he will make us perfect. Essentially the moment you put your life into His hands, you’re in it to win it, He will finish the work in you. He won’t take anything less, or other, than that.

Philippians 1:6 says- “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

Just like a father gets happy to see his son learning how to walk, even if he stumbles a few times, the father is proud at the attempt. The same exact concept applies here with G-d, he is pleased to see us try.

G-d’s standard is perfection. Therefore our lives as Christians is meant to be one of perfect freedom, freedom from sin.

So remember my friends, Love is the greatest motivator to obedience to G-d. We must not focus on our imperfections and our falls, but instead we must keep our eyes set on Jesus Christ.

 

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