Matthew 5:48 – “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” NKJV
I engaged in an interesting conversation some time past regarding the view that God Commands Holiness and Perfection. This person was perplexed because they were hearing people argue politically and morally that “You cannot legislate morality.” Their problem was in the thought that God does demand or command perfection and holiness and if He does then why can men not legislate rightness? It would be impossible to venture into all the ramifications of that thought process but let’s consider the point of God’s command for Perfection and Holiness.
We know as Peter declared that we are to, “…gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” NKJV [1 Peter 1:13-16].
If Sinless Perfection is the objective, and it should be, how can any of us achieve that prize? In the flesh, we cannot. I suggest that although we are forgiven we are not completely empty of fleshly thoughts, motives, and actions. The word, in our text, literally means, “To be finished, complete, pure, and holy.” It implies completeness where all the parts are functioning properly without defect. God described Job the first chapter of Job as “perfect” but clearly, he was not perfect in the same sense as God is perfect. We know that because fault and flaw were found in him. He exhibited a uniformity in his life through which he manifested the heart of God. The target is perfection and only as we grow in Grace and empty ourselves more and more as the Holy Spirit sheds abroad in our hearts the love, nature, and character of our LORD do we overcome. As John, the Baptist declared, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
But, back to the issue raised about God legislating perfection and holiness. God commands us to be Holy and instructs us to be Perfect but He does not issue those directives or commands and then leave us to flounder in our pursuit, going from failure to failure. Whatever God commands He provides the Grace, Wisdom, Knowledge, Strength, Power, and Provision to accomplish. In our world of humanity, we might pass a law to legislate a particular moral quality but there would be no empowerment afforded us to become that person. There would only be the demand of law to follow that path and conduct ourselves as though we were that person. But, with God, if He says be Holy, then He who is Holy brings to us His Holiness so that we are able to “be holy because He who is holy lives us and through us.” If God commands us to be “perfect, complete, entire” then He who is perfect, complete, and entire gives us the strength, grace, and wisdom to be that.
Too often, rather than seeking to BE PERFECT we justify our falling short declaring, “I’m only human.” Yes, but we are humans who have been redeemed by the Blood of Jesus, and He lives in us making real the truth that, “…in Him we live and move and have our being.” The life that we now live in the flesh we live by the faith of and faith in the Son of God. It is by Grace not Will-Power or any human ability it is by HIM that we can be that which He calls us to be.
My desire is that each of us makes God’s Call and Command not only a dream but our objective and pursuit. I pray that we make the goal of our Christian walk to be epistles known and read of men who manifest the nature, character, love, grace, mercy, peace, power, and person of Jesus Christ. Holiness is not an archaic word to be relegated to bygone eras but will be the revealed characteristic of Heaven and if we are to be at home in Heaven we need to get some Heaven in us now. God help us to seek perfection and desire holiness.
God bless you as you enjoy this wonderful day in Jesus!