Matt 5:48 Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. NASU
Was there ever anything that Jesus said that seemed more impossible than this? Perfect? How could we be perfect? We still sin every day of our lives. Even the apostle Paul said that he did things he didn’t want to do and didn’t do that which he wanted to do. If he couldn’t be perfect, I am sure I can’t be perfect! Why would Jesus command us to do the impossible? Take comfort, I don’t think He did.
The word for “be” in Greek is a future tense for the a word meaning “I exist.” You could say it this way, “will be.” You may still be saying, “But that is still impossible, I cannot envision even a time in my future where I will be perfect!” That is understandable, especially if you will read the context in which Jesus is saying this (Lk 5). He has just finished telling His disciples several things that they should do such as:
· Love your enemies
· Pray for those who persecute you
· Give people more than they ask of you materially and time wise
· Turn the other cheek when someone slaps you and many other difficult commands, which seem impossible to keep.
Is this really the expectation level the Lord has for the believer?
The word perfect in Greek is teleioi. It comes from the word telos which means, “end,” “goal” or “limit.” It is sometimes translated as complete or mature. The idea here is that we are moving toward this end. We are becoming more and more like our Savior, doing His will more often. We are in modern vernacular, “works in progress.” It needs to be the major goal of our lives as Christians.
Even so it seems difficult to always be striving for that goal, does it not? Well, the good news is that as a believer in Christ, you have the Holy Spirit living in you to empower you towards that end. That’s why Paul could say in Phil 1:6 “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” NASU
There are two great encouragements in that verse. One, we don’t have the power to do this on our own. That’s ok, God provides the power for us. That is why the bible tells us, "With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." (Matt 19:26 NASU, emphasis mine) Two, there will come a day when we have been perfected. We don’t know when that day is but we can certainly look forward to it.
So, don’t shy away from this call to perfection but embrace it. Make it your desire to follow the Lord’s instructions to the uttermost and let His Holy Spirit empower you to do it. It won’t mean striving, but thriving in the “Living Water” Jesus promised!
John 7:37-39 "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'" But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; NASU
If you have put your faith and trust in Christ, but you have not experienced this overflowing power in your life, ask the Lord to baptize you in the Holy Spirit as it says in Acts 1:5 and 11:16.
If you have not yet put your trust in Christ, I urge you to do that today and you can experience the Living Water that Jesus promises to all believers.
God Bless You