Jesus gave us a commandment in Matthew 5:48, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."  The common response I have heard to this is, "Well, no one is perfect" insinuating that Jesus told us to do something we cannot do!  If we think this way, we call Jesus a liar and since he only spoke the words of the Father, we call God a liar.  If we try to be perfect in the flesh, then yes, no one is perfect.  But since Jesus gave us this commandment, he will also show us how to be perfect.

The word perfect is not referring to being a self-righteous "goody two-shoes", but it means to be complete (perfected).   It is a process and a result of the Spirit of God working in and changing our hearts.   James, writing in Chapter 1, states:

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; (v2)

Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. (v3)

But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.  (v4)

Being perfected is a process of the trying of our faith with the end result of us being entire (complete), with all wants fulfilled.   Continue on in verse 5.

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not:  and it shall be given him.   (v5)

But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.   For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.   (v6)

For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.  (v7)

A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.   (v8)

When our faith has been perfected, we are no longer double minded (full of doubt and unbelief).

How to be perfect

Paul tells us what we have to do to attain perfection, by explaining the process in his own life.  Let's read Philippians 3:7-15:

But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.  (v7)

Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord:  for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,  (v8)

And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that  which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:  (v9)

That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;  (v10)

If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of  the dead.  (v11)

Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect:  but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.  (v12)

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, (v13)

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.  (v14)

Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded;  and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. (v15)

Paul laid down his life and counted everything he was as dung.  He also forgot the things behind (he was forgiven) and only looked forward to Jesus.  By doint this, his faith was perfected.

Job and Noah were perfect

God called Job perfect.  He said in Job 1:1,

There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed (avoided) evil.

This is repeated again in the same chapter:

And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?   (v8)

Job was good and upright, avoided evil and feared God and God considered him perfect.

In Chapter 8, it states:

Behold, God will not cast away a perfect man......

If we walk like Job walked, God will not cast us away and we will live a life of peace.

Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright:   for the end of that man is peace.  (Psalm 37:37)

Read Genesis chapter 6:

And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.  (v5)

And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. (v6)

And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.  (v7)

But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. (v8)

These are the generations of Noah:  Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God. (v9)

Jesus had to be perfected

Jesus was a man with the same flesh we have (born of a woman).   He was not born perfect, but had to learn to be perfect before God.  The writer of Hebrews was talking about Jesus when he stated in Chapter 5:

Who (Jesus) in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;  (v7)

Though he were a Son, yet he learned obedience by the things which he suffered;  (v8)

And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.  (v9)

Jesus suffered in the many temptations that came against him and he learned obedience to the Father and was made perfect.

In Hebrews chapter 2, the writer states:

But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.  (v9)

For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.  (v10)

Jesus is our example and we are to walk as he walked.  Just as Jesus was perfected, we too will be perfected by the things we suffer when trying to obey the Father.  At the beginning of this teaching we read in James where the trying of our faith works patience and the work of patience is perfection.

Peter writing in his first epistle states in chapter 5, verse 10:

But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

Read verses 8 and 9 and you can see that the suffering come from resisting the devil.  The effect however, is being established, strengthened and settled in resurrection power of the Lord Jesus.

We are made perfect through the Gospel

Continuing on in Hebrews, chapter 13:

Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, (v20)

Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (v21)

Here it is stated what we will do when we are perfected.  We will do the will of the Father and only when we do His will, will we be doing good works.  Paul writing to Timothy, states in 2nd  Timothy, chapter 3:

...thou hast know the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  (v15)

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (v16)

That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.  (v17)

Perfecting the body of Christ

God has set ministers in his church to bring us to perfection.  Paul is speaking about the Father when he states in Ephesians chapter 4:

But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.  (v7)

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; (v11)

For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:  (v12)

Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:  (v13)

That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; (v14)

But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: (v15)

So again, when we are perfected, we are steadfast in the gospel, doing the will of the Father and are not moved by deceitful men in the pulpits.

No fear when we are perfected

So, according to the word of God, we can be perfect.  And not only can be, but should be.  And we will not be tormented by fear.  In 1 John chapter 4, John states in versus 10-19:

Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  (v10)

Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.  (v11)

No man hath seen God at any time.  If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.  (v12)

Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.   (v13)

And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.   (v14)

Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.  (v15)

And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us.  God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.  (v16)

Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment:  because as he is, so are we in this world.  (v17)

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear:  because fear hath torment.   He that feareth is not made perfect in love.  (v18)

We love him, because he first loved us.  (v19)

It is the love of God that his Son dwells in us so that we are complete in Him and we can obey, "Be ye therefore perfect." 

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