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Be Perfect!

January 28, 2013

Which is the hardest saying of all the hard things Jesus said? I preached recently on his command to love our enemies; that easily qualifies as a candidate! Or maybe “consider others better than yourselves” – except that it was Paul who said that, not Jesus (Phil 2:3).
Still, I think the phrase that concludes the first part of the Sermon on the Mount must win the prize: “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt 5:48). How on earth is that possible?
Well, as I said in my sermon, I don’t think it’s possible on earth. It’s not going to become reality until we reach perfection in the new universe that God will create after he’s put an end to this one. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t aim to do as well as we can before then!
The Greek word used here means “perfect, mature, complete, fully grown” – so Jesus probably doesn’t mean “be flawless” – that would be a rather foolish command – but “be complete”; i.e. don’t be found lacking in your commitment to obeying God and serving your fellow humans.
It’s all about becoming like God – a tall order, but nevertheless true. Jesus came to take our sin away so that we can become like him – become like the Son of God: compassionate, serious about sin but forgiving sinners, full of the Holy Spirit and thus enabled to serve God wholeheartedly…
That is much more than just being religious, or enjoying church on a Sunday morning! Following Jesus has a price; it may cost you everything – but you will also gain everything that’s ultimately worth having. As Paul says: “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Rom 8:32)
So let’s aim to be perfect, in the biblical sense: mature, Spirit-filled believers who radiate God’s love and compassion to everyone, friend or foe alike. And if you feel you don’t know where to start, I suggest you talk to Jesus about it, alone or with another believer – Jesus has promised to listen and answer!


From → Christianity, Faith

One Comment
  1. Amen! May we set our sights high – on Christ – and try being more like Him everyday. We will miss the mark, but we won’t even get close if we don’t try.

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