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

The commandment to be perfect in the same way our Father is perfect is to be seen in this context of love.  His perfect love is without discrimination; our love is to be open to all people, friends and enemies.  We should not read the word “perfect” as a philosophical or moralistic perfection.  As Bruce Larson has said of moralistic perfectionism, “It will drive you up the wall.  You can’t be all right and be well!”  The Greek word is teleios, a word which carries the meaning of culmination, of maturity, of achievement in function.  We were created in the image of God, and having perverted this image in sin we are re-created in grace and predestined “to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29, KJV).  The goal of the disciple is to live in this perfection, this teleios, this extension of the love of Christ.  It is an active word and, in context, means that our love must be all-inclusive as God’s is all-inclusive.

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