Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:48)
The seventh lesson in the passage is one that needs to be constantly brought before our minds. — God demands perfection. — “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Mat_5:48).
Throughout this chapter our Lord has been teaching us that God demands perfection. In this last verse he states it plainly. By all means, let us ever strive to live in perfection, in perfect holiness and obedience to the will of God and for the glory of God. We cannot settle for less than absolute perfection. We cannot attain it here. But we must strive to attain it. Let us ever seek total commitment to Christ, total conformity to Christ, and total communion with Christ. But we must never imagine that we can attain perfection in this world, or ever make the slightest progress toward doing so.
There is no such thing as partial holiness, partial righteousness, or partial perfection. “All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.” If we would be perfect, we must trust Christ. There is no perfection in this world except that which he is and he gives. Men may call sincerity perfection, improved behavior righteousness, and religious devotion holiness, but God never will. — “That which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.” (Luke 16:5).
Yet, as the members of the body possess all that belongs to the head, so the members of Christ’s body are perfect in him. And when our Savior says, “Be ye perfect,” his meaning is, “Be ye perfect in me.” And all who know him gladly acknowledge, “In the Lord have I righteousness” (Isiah 45:24). We glory in him “who of God is made unto us Wisdom, and Righteousness, and Sanctification, and Redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30), rejoicing in the perfection that is ours in him (Colossians 1:28), and anxiously looking for that day when he shall present us “faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 1:24).