Matthew 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
This is the second in the “Be Ye Therefore…” series. Christ is speaking here during what is referred to as the Sermon on the Mount. He starts out this part of His sermon with verse 20 of this chapter. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:20) He goes on to describe the kind of righteousness a person must have to enter the Kingdom of heaven. The kingdom of heaven is when Christ sets up His everlasting kingdom here on earth and heaven rules here. Anyone who enters will have to be perfect as the Father is perfect. When Christ brings up several points of the law such as adultery, He shows that God’s standard of righteousness is higher than we can attain to. Why, if a man even looks with lust on a woman he has committed adultery. The pharisees had reduced righteousness to just an outward showing of obedience to the law.
The point of the sermon on the mount is not to introduce new law but to point out that we cannot enter heaven or the kingdom of heaven by our own efforts. You cannot be good enough. That is why Paul the apostle says, “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” (Galatians 2:16)
“And be found in Him…”
Many have preached Matthew 5:48 by defining perfection as maturity, and there is certainly a truth to be taught regarding spiritual growth, but notice Christ uses it in the sense of complete righteousness. He tells us to be perfect as the Father in heaven is perfect. This isn’t maturity because to be mature means to be fully developed whether physical or spiritual. That implies that previously the mature person was not fully developed or was immature. Such has never been the case with the Father. He has never been immature so what does Christ mean and how can we be perfect. There is only one way to stand before God one day and be seen as perfect… You must have the righteousness of Christ imputed to you. Paul again confirms this, “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith…” (Philippians 3:9)
Christ is saying even now to us, don’t just trust in formal ritualism or outward observances of rules, but trust in Christ for your salvation and follow the leadership of His Holy Spirit. If you are to accomplish what God would have you do this year, it will be because you have trusted Him and followed His lead. Be ye therefore, my brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
THINK ON THESE THINGS…
A Fellow Servant