part one: the pressure of perfection
In my last post on this subject, I wrote, “But the Lord does not require perfection of us …”
I searched the Scriptures for “perfect,” and found the word used over and over again to describe God’s greatness and character, His law, His word, His justice, and other attributes which can only be applied to Him. I did not find it applied to us as His servants or children, except in this verse:
“Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” — Mat 5:48
Strong’s says of the word “perfect” in this sentence, that it means “brought to its end, finished, wanting nothing necessary to completeness.” Vine’s says that it means “having reached its end, finished, complete, perfect,” and that it is an adjective used “of persons, primarily of physical development, then, with ethical import, fully grown and mature;” and particularly in Mat 5:48, that it is used of persons “complete … [in] goodness …”.
Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown say of this admonition, that “our Lord here speaks, not of degrees of excellence, but of the kind of excellence which was to distinguish His disciples and characterize His kingdom.”
John Gill says of this admonition, that “this perfection is to be restrained to the subject Christ is upon, love to men, and not to be referred to any, or every other thing; wherefore, in Luk 6:36 it is, “be ye merciful, as your Father also is merciful”; and regards not a perfection of degree in that, but objects and quality: that is to say, not that men may, or can, or ought to be as perfect in love, as to the degree of it, as God is; that is impossible: the ‘as’ here, is not a note of equality, but of likeness: such, who profess God to be their Father, ought to imitate Him, particularly in their love to men …”
The Lord is admonishing us in this verse to imitate our heavenly Father so as to be perfect — complete and mature — in mercy toward our fellow man. Not perfection of self-righteousness, parenting, homeschooling, homemaking,
or other endeavors. For He knows our frame, that we are but dust. Were we without weaknesses, then how could His power be made perfect in us, in our families and in our children? We have nothing to boast of before the Lord, and what good God works in our children’s lives credits to His grace, not to our good works.
To be continued …
Continued in the deception of perfection