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QUESTION:  How can I be perfect?

 

ANSWER:  The Bible says, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).  Jesus is speaking and notice what He commands: “be perfect.”  He doesn’t say ‘become’ perfect, He says “be” perfect.

 

Is there not a big difference between “being” perfect and “becoming” perfect?  If I told my girls as they were growing up that they were to “be good” did I mean at that moment or within the next year?  Now, let’s turn the question on me, Am I perfect?  Don’t I have to be perfect according to Matthew 5:48?  I mean, if I’m telling you to be, shouldn’t I have to meet the same standard?

 

What if I, a constant sinner and offender of God’s Law, have been declared righteous by God?  Do you realize that that is the only way it can happen!  Only because Jesus was made sin for me can I be declared righteous by God (2 Cor 5:21).  Let’s park right here for a minute.

 

James 2:10 states, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”  This describes a person who offends (stumbles) at just one point.  Just one unintentional sin is all it takes to be guilty of all.  Apparently, when it comes to getting to Heaven by keeping the Law, it is all or nothing.  Jesus told the rich young ruler, “…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” (Matthew 19:21).  If we want to be perfect in and of ourselves, we are required to sell everything we have.  Where God guides doesn’t He also provide?  Someone once said, “The sermon on the mount is God’s blueprint for perfection.”

 

Are you, right now, as complete, finished, fully developed, “perfect” as your Heavenly Father?  Remember the Bible says “be” not “become.”  I know I sound like a broken record about being perfect but God demands perfection now.  We can’t ignore it.  In fact, I think God really wants us to think about this.  More than that, I believe He wants us to sweat over it, maybe even lose a little sleep, whatever it takes to despair of trying to perfect ourselves.  Because then, and only then, will we be ready to look to Jesus for salvation.

 

Stop and think for a second, what does your religion demand of you?  Are you really practicing your faith or just playing at it?  My job as a preacher is not to make the load of religion easier, but rather to make it heavier because the Bible teaches that religion cannot save.  Like our Heavenly Father, I want you to see the absolute hopelessness of following rules.

 

How can I be perfect? The answer is you can’t.  As a surgeon, God first uses His scalpel to cut out our self-righteousness in order to bring us to the place where we see clearly that it is only His righteousness that saves.  “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).  “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Galatians 3:24).