What Does Matthew 5:48 Mean?

Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Matthew 5:48(HCSB)

Verse Thoughts

Perfect God and perfect man commands us to be perfect, as our heavenly Father is perfect. On the surface it seems like an impossible, unreasonable even thoughtless request because God knows that we are a sinful race, with a fallen nature and that there is no way that we could ever obey this command.

God’s eternal plan for man is so designed that we are unable to obey His commands in our own strength, but He will allow us to attempt to reach perfection - despite knowing that our fleshly efforts will end in failure! Often, we will spend months, years, even decades trying to reach our own standards of perfection though our own imperfect strength, until at last we come to understand that being perfect means that we are to be complete; mature; entire; whole; lacking in nothing. We are to reach the goal of our calling – to finish the work that God has prepared for us to do.

Before the world was created, God planned a way that fallen man could be made perfect – a plan that had ultimate fulfilment in Christ, for our righteousness is in Christ and we are perfected in Him. We are to become mature, complete, lacking in nothing – we are to reach the goal of our calling – we are to finish the work that God has prepared for us to do – we are to be perfect - in Christ.

We cannot imitate Christ’s righteousness, nor can we be perfect by striving to reach righteousness by resolutions, by means of self-help skills or strictly training ourselves to be morally principled or indeed in any other way. The only way that we can be perfect, this side of heaven, is to be conformed into the image and likeness of Christ by having His righteousness imputed to us; credited to us; ascribed to us - through Christ.

Should we not rejoice that God has not only commanded us to be perfect as He is perfect but, in His love, and grace He foreordained that through faith in Christ we may be perfect, entire and lacking nothing simply by an act of saving faith, and an obedient life of sanctifying faith - and trusting in Him to finish the good work he started in us – in Christ.

My Prayer

Loving Lord and heavenly Father - I long to be more like You and to finish the work that You have prepared for me. I pray that I may be perfect as You are perfect and that You perfect Your life in me in all I say and do, to Your praise and glory, in Jesus name I pray, AMEN.

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