Tuesday, December 08, 2009


Matthew 5:48
(48) You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

This is one of those really loaded verses. Is Jesus saying that we need to keep the Law perfectly to serve Him? Is He saying that it really is about what we do rather than what He has done? How does this work with Paul's statements about how we are all sinners?

The Greek word translated "perfect" has a range of meaning with words like "complete" or "mature" as alternative understandings in English. This is still no solace to the one who feels like he has to work to merit God's favor though. What do we do with this?

I think that it is explained with the Reformed view about the need for an alien righteousness. We cannot attain this "perfection" on our own. Therefore, we need something external to us to complete us. That is what happened in Jesus' life, death, burial, and resurrection. This command means what it appears to mean, but when we are ultimately judged we will be seen through Christ's life. Our life is hid in Christ on high.

However, this does not get us completely off the hook. If we believe that we can be saved without the pursuit of holiness then we are not really saved. If we have no desire to be more like Jesus then we do not really understand what it means to know Him. The idea of salvation without ongoing sanctification is foreign to the Scriptures.

Where are you with this? Are you working to be more like Jesus? Are you working out your salvation with fear and trembling? Or do you think that knowing Jesus is just a matter of cosmic fire insurance? Where are you with this?

No comments: