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crawfish
Mar 31st 2010, 05:39 PM
Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

This may be the most daunting passage in all of scripture. I certainly don't feel like it is something that is even possible in this life. What does the verse mean? What are the implications?

This passage is included in most translations in the block of text from Matthew 5:43-48. There is very strong structural similarity in all the blocks of text from Matthew 5:21-48; is it possible that this verse is being used as a "summary" for the entire section rather than just the smaller block?

bc3n1
Mar 31st 2010, 05:50 PM
Look at Matthew 5:20 where Jesus says,(NKJV),"For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven." He says this right before going into examples of Pharisaic interpretations of the Law and His interpretations which is the 'higher' righteousness.

Nomad
Mar 31st 2010, 10:16 PM
The Greek word for "perfect" in Matthew 5:48 can also mean complete or mature. This is most likely Jesus meaning rather than the idea of "flawless." The perfection Jesus has in mind here is with reference to love. He who loves only his friends loves imperfectly or incompletely. We are to imitate God in the way he loves the good and the bad, the just and the unjust. That is, we are not to harbor hatred in our hearts and we are to do good to all as we have opportunity.


Mat 5:43 "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'
Mat 5:44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
Mat 5:45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
Mat 5:46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
Mat 5:47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
Mat 5:48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. ESV

Servant89
Mar 31st 2010, 10:26 PM
Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

This may be the most daunting passage in all of scripture. I certainly don't feel like it is something that is even possible in this life. What does the verse mean? What are the implications?

This passage is included in most translations in the block of text from Matthew 5:43-48. There is very strong structural similarity in all the blocks of text from Matthew 5:21-48; is it possible that this verse is being used as a "summary" for the entire section rather than just the smaller block?

Heb 10:14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

There are three ways in which we can be perfect and holy.

1. Have someone cleanse away all our sin, and remove it as far as the east is from the west.

1 Jn 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

Rev 7:14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Ps 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

2. Have someone remove all the laws and commandments so that they do not apply to us anymore.

Eph 2:15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;

Col 2:14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

2 Cor 3:7 But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, ...which glory was to be done away:
11 For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.
13 And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished:

ROM 4:15 … for where no law is, there is no transgression.

ROM 5:13 … but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

And 3. The other way that we can be holy and perfect is by our own merit. The selfrighteous love this one. They that boast about the law love this one. Those that are under the law, thrive on this one. Good luck with that.

Jesus took care of # 1 and # 2 on Calvary. Praise and glory to his name.

Shalom

Butch5
Apr 1st 2010, 12:10 AM
The Greek word for "perfect" in Matthew 5:48 can also mean complete or mature. This is most likely Jesus meaning rather than the idea of "flawless." The perfection Jesus has in mind here is with reference to love. He who loves only his friends loves imperfectly or incompletely. We are to imitate God in the way he loves the good and the bad, the just and the unjust. That is, we are not to harbor hatred in our hearts and we are to do good to all as we have opportunity.

well said, I believe this is correct!

crawfish
Apr 1st 2010, 02:31 AM
The Greek word for "perfect" in Matthew 5:48 can also mean complete or mature. This is most likely Jesus meaning rather than the idea of "flawless." The perfection Jesus has in mind here is with reference to love. He who loves only his friends loves imperfectly or incompletely. We are to imitate God in the way he loves the good and the bad, the just and the unjust. That is, we are not to harbor hatred in our hearts and we are to do good to all as we have opportunity.

Thanks for the reply! I had defintely considerd that possibility. Matthew uses the word once elsewhere in his Gospel; in the story of the rich young ruler, where he says "Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go [and] sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come [and] follow me." This would definitely fit that definition. However, the verse says "as your heavenly father is perfect". This is an analogy, and seems to set the bar higher than what man is capable of.

Here is my thought, and why I suggested that the verse might actually stand as a summary statement to the larger set of verses. The pattern of each topic starts out with "you have heard" (the letter of the law), and expands on that with "but I say" (the spirit). That expansion sets an incredibly high bar for behavior. By expressing that to be "perfect" as God, it means that you must reach an impossibly high bar to be saved by following the law. The passages become about the insufficiency of attempting the law to save us. "The law will not pass away", Jesus said earlier, and follows that with our absolute inabiity to follow it to perfection.