Is perfection attainable if Jesus commanded his disciples to be perfect in, “Matthew 5:48: Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” ?
This question formulated from a Facebook post that had my Contributing Writer, Cyre’ and I pulling out the Bible on this one! First, understand that perfection in Christ is a process. It has a beginning an end. The beginning of the process starts when you have made up in your mind that you are striving to be Christ-like by being born-again; and it will end (obtaining perfection) when we meet Jesus for ourselves face to face.
1 John 3:2-3 ….but we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, for we shall see him as he is pure.
So the next common question is: Why would Jesus tell his disciples to BE perfect if it was not attainable? Remember anytime we read a scripture text we must meditate on these three questions. First: Can the word “perfect” have several meanings in the Bible? Second: What is the context of this verse? Third: Are there other verses in the Bible which will help us understand this one?
Besides perfect meaning ‘Complete,” we have also found that “Perfect” can have the meaning of “mature” or “grown up.” In Philippians 3:15 (KJV), the apostle Paul speaks to “as many as be perfect”. However, the NKJV translates this phrase “as many as are mature.” So by us knowing that our ultimate destiny is to be perfect; He was conveying that the disciples should CONTINUE to be motivated to purify themselves through every aspect of growth- which is in character, through holiness, in maturity and in love.
Within the pursuit of persuit of perfection, there are several actions we must take to remain morally fit in the scriptures:1 timothy 5:22,James 4:7-10 and 1 Peter 1:22-25 (Read on your own time)
Can you be perfect for a few minutes, hours, days, or even a lifetime if you have enough self discipline? That question transitions into the topic of “Omission and Commission”–something that you are doing or not doing that you didn’t even know that are sins in the eyes of God. James 4:17 ESV says “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” So if we don’t do anything for an hour does that mean we were perfect for an hour? No, because Ephesians 5:16-17 says “Making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” So even not doing something can be a sin therefore within our prayers we pray for our sins of “omission and commision” for even our thoughts can be sinful.
So just as Jesus requested to His disciples, continue to be motivated and warriors for God and to be more like Him, for our destiny, through God, is Perfection.