Monday, 13 February 2012

Perfection (Part 1)

Mat 5:48  Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. 

Have you ever had that verse thrown at you by legalists who insist it is possible to do all of the commandments of the OT (over 600 of them, including not wearing clothing made of mixed fibers, and stoning your children when they are disobedient)???? Things that make you go "hmmmmm"

So let's read that verse in context of the passage:

 Mat 5:38  Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
Mat 5:39  But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
Mat 5:40  And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.
Mat 5:41  And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
Mat 5:42  Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
Mat 5:43  Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
Mat 5:44  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
Mat 5:45  That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
Mat 5:46  For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
Mat 5:47  And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
Mat 5:48  Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. 

This passage is talking about not returning the "favor" when someone slights you or abuses you. It talks about going the extra mile, to bless those who curse you... it says nothing about going to church on a certain day of the week, or about abstaining from pork.

Let's find another passage which has that word "perfect" in it...

Mat 19:16  And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
Mat 19:17  And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
Mat 19:18  He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,
Mat 19:19  Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Mat 19:20  The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?
Mat 19:21  Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

Wow, the young man boasted of keeping the ten commandments, and yet that was not enough. Many legalists will still say it is possible to be perfect, and that this passage is a testament to that fact because Jesus would not tell us to do something that He knows we cannot do....and yet I still have to find one legalist who actually HAS sold everything and given it all to the poor.... but is that truly what Jesus was saying here? I personally believe (and of course I can be way off) that Jesus knew this rich young man's weakness was his love for and dependence on his wealth. We are to have that kind of love for and dependence on Jesus. That is the point. If we love Him, we keep the commandments (which? see above: don't return evil for evil, but always return love even when spat upon, or crucified for the truth), not the other way around (keeping the commandments legalistically in order to prove to everyone that we love Him, and are better at it than most everyone else).

But there's more...that word perfect...does it really mean what the legalists try to make it to mean? My Strong's says this:

From G5056; complete (in various applications of labor, growth, mental and moral character, etc.); neuter (as noun, with G3588) completeness: - of full age, man, perfect.

Complete. Jesus completes us, when we are in Him we are complete and in need of nothing... but let's not get that wrong, because we can become complacent in thinking we are in need of nothing because we are rejoicing in the things we have that bring us the comfort of this world:

Rev 3:14  And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
Rev 3:15  I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
Rev 3:16  So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
Rev 3:17  Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
Rev 3:18  I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
Rev 3:19  As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
Rev 3:20  Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
Rev 3:21  To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
Rev 3:22  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

We can be destitute and at deaths door, covered with boils like Job was, and yet be complete if we are content in all circumstances knowing that God has us covered, and that this life is fleeting and not the place to set our hopes.

Mat 19:22  But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.
Mat 19:23  Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Mat 19:24  And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
Mat 19:25  When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?
Mat 19:26  But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them,....

....With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

It is impossible for us, because our flesh always gets in the way. The minute we think we have got it, we are now perfect in God's sight, we become a boastful and proud pharisee, and we don't have it at all. Paul put it like this:

Rom 7:14  For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
Rom 7:15  For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
Rom 7:16  If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
Rom 7:17  Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
Rom 7:18  For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
Rom 7:19  For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
Rom 7:20  Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
Rom 7:21  I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
Rom 7:22  For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
Rom 7:23  But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
Rom 7:24  O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
Rom 7:25  I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

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Peter prayed this for all the faithful in Jesus (which includes you and me!):
2Pe 1:2  Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
2Pe 1:3  According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
2Pe 1:4  Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Amen! :)


  1. Funny thing about that Be Ye Perfect.

    Someone pointed out that it is a future promise, not a challenge.

    Check out the words and tenses in Strong's and tell me what you think:

    1. Interesting, Ma, that reminds me of that pagan teaching of our "becoming" that is brought up in the "Know Your Enemy" series...but with everything good that God does/is doing, the devil has a "clever" counterfeit.

      The counterfeit, it has an appearance of godliness but it denies "HIS" power. That is the whore. It seems like there are elements that almost sound like what the Bible says, but it robs God of the truth about Him and brings Him down to being equal to man, elevating man to God's level. Very clever, in that Jesus humbled Himself to become a man to save us, to rescue us, and the devil twists that into a counterfeit fable that sounds religious, a religious fake...and then people say "That 'story' (of a divine incarnation) has been with us since antiquity and is in many religions which go way before Christ"...but God did foretell that it would take place, and the devil did devise his counterfeits beginning at the Tower of Babel with Semiramis.

      Jesus likens our relationship with Him as a bride to her husband, "and the two shall become one flesh"... we enter into a covenant with Him, He is our covering, and it is His goodness that matters, not ours, because when we try to make it about our own goodness, it fails us, and others because eventually we let others down when it's about us. The Bible does say there will be a future time when we will see Him, and be like Him.

      Sometimes when I pray, it seems like the devil gets in between me and my prayers (he still is "the god of this world"), like he is trying to make it that I'm praying to him, and I pause, and think of Jesus on the cross, and make sure my prayers have the correct recipient attached! and of course always with the clause that says "not my will but Thy will be done" :)

    2. Wonderful post. Dicernment of God's word and instruction is revealed when we allow the Comforter left for us to intercede guides our thoughts and heart. Remembering who dwells within this flesh suit is the only way we can fulfill our purpose and stay our path because the Attacker does hold the lease on this planet but we're only tenants and not permenant residents and therefore we must remember that it is not the Landlord who has the final word but the owner. May we all have a blessedlove-filled, joy-filled week hugs xxPatricia

    3. Hi Patricia,

      I love that about the landlord and owner analogy, so true! Hope your week is wonderfully blessed as well ;-)

    4. The Bible does say there will be a future time when we will see Him, and be like Him.

      That is what I meant by the tense of the wording in that passage it is future, meaning we SHALL be perfect:) By His perfection of course.


  2. We strive for perfection. We will never be perfect while on this earth but we will be perfect in heaven with Him. God bless you.

    1. Thank you JT, I agree with you. When we think we are doing well that's usually when we are at our worst. Check out what Jesus said to those who thought highly of themselves in 7 letters to 7 churches. They thought they were rich, but Jesus told them that they didn't know they were wretched, blind and poor. When we realize we are wretched, blind and poor, then Jesus can bless us and forgive us, and sup with us. We cannot be perfect, but we can be forgiven! :)

  3. Hi Susan, that is a wonderful bible study! It encourages me mightily as I delve ever deeper into how this world is not our home in every day's insane occurrences that pass as world events.

    This word "perfect" is so fraught with misconceptions, it is only through this type bible study that we can come close to understanding. I especially like your reply to Ma and the comparison Jesus gives of marriage. I also appreciate Patricia's analogy.

    That brings into mind how Job was protected and brought to a greater estate after his ordeal with Satan's attacks and how confident God was of Job's being able with His help to withstand! Now that is too deep for me, but I glimpse His perfecting going on there.

    1. Hi Matermuse,

      I have trouble understanding Job too. I know there is so much more to Job, but I only grasp that the trials Job went through were what God allowed to happen (makes me also think of the trials that Adam and Eve went through were because satan manipulated them into falling, but that God allowed it to happen)... the torment included his friends pestering him to find out what his "secret sin" was that caused all his trouble, and his wife telling him to just give up and die, and in the end it was for a blessing for Job, and also for Job's family. It makes me think of the many situations in my life where family, friends and situations cause me grief and pain. Like Job one day God will turn all that pain into blessings. :o)

  4. Powerful post! I feel I need to reread it several times!! Thank you for taking the time to share this.


    1. Hi Jennifer,

      Thanks so much for your kind comment :)

      This is something I need to reread again and again...this blog is mostly for things that the Lord has shown me in His word that I want to keep reminding myself about because my memory seems to be getting worse, and I want to remember what He shows me. When I go back to these things and am reminded of His love and caring, and His perfection, it boggles my brain each time.

      I'm so glad it blessed you (and Ma, and Patricia, Matermuse and JT as well) because I hope that the bread Jesus gives me gets scattered upon the waters to the sharing of His blessings :D


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