Therefore you shall be perfect just as your Father in heaven is perfect.  (Matthew 5:48)

The Bible Knowledge Commentary:

“Jesus concluded this section by saying, Be perfect therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.  His message demonstrated God’s righteous standard, for God Himself truly is the “standard” of righteousness.  If these individuals are to be righteous, they must be as God is, “perfect,” that is, mature (teleioi) or holy.  Murder, lust, hate, deception, and retaliation obviously do not characterize God.  He did not lower His standard to accommodate humans; instead He set forth His absolute holiness as the standard.  Though this standard can never be perfectly met by man himself, a person who by faith trusts in God enjoys His righteousness being reproduced in his life.”

  1. The Sermon on the Mount demonstrates God’s righteous standard.  We know that standard and we know what it should look like in a believer’s life.  Jesus is our example in both His life and His words; it is there to be seen and studied; it is there to measure our progress and to show us our sinfulness.  But in time, as we submit to the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives we can see Jesus being reproduced in us.
  2. Righteousness requires us to be like our God and that is to be perfect or mature.  We hate using requirements because we think that leads to legalism.  Nobody would say to Jesus that He was a legalist.
  3. This perfection is ours only through faith and is God’s work of reproduction.  Our part is faith; God’s part is reproducing Christ’s righteousness in us.  We do the easy lifting; God gets the hard stuff.  In myself there is no good thing so I am grateful that God loves me so much that His desire is to make me like Jesus, submissive to the will of the Father…and perfect before Him.
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