In His greatest recorded sermon, the Lord Jesus calls his people to be perfect. We are called to be perfect, as our Father in Heaven is perfect. (Matt 5:48) Is it possible for a Christian to be perfect? This is no new idea. In Genesis 6:9, we are told that Noah was both righteous and perfect. Though the more modern versions change that to blameless. However we translate it, it is clear that God expects something better from His people, and clearly, there have been those among us who have risen to that expectation.
Perhaps part of the difficulty comes from the way we load the word ‘perfect’. In our day and age, we have a very clinical definition. For us, we equate perfection with precision and exactness. That is not the perfection that God is seeking. Perfect in God’s eyes is that something fulfills its purpose. Think a moment on that definition. An umbrella may be bent and torn, yet if it keeps its owner dry, then it could be called ‘perfect’ because it fulfilled its purpose.
Many people have been torn and bent by the ravages of life. Yet, still gone on to fulfill their God-given purpose and are therefore perfect. They may not feel perfect. The mirror might scream anything but perfect. But in God’s eyes, they were perfect for their time and place.
The Sermon on the Mount not only calls us to perfection, but it also defines the perfect life we are called to live. It begins with 8 blessed attitudes. 4 focused on God and 4 towards others. It ends with the call to walk the narrow path, judge things by their fruit, and be founded upon the Word of God. In the midst of the message is the definition of Christian Perfection.
Christian Perfection leaves the observance of the Law behind and moves into the embodiment of Christian values. It takes us from a religion of practices into a life lived by faith. It does not dispose of the regulations of morality. No! It places a desire to honor God in such a way, that we would never dream of being a lawbreaker.
Religion is like a dairy cow. It has its routines and tasks. In the same way, as cows march themselves twice daily to a milking shed to go through the same ritual and be sucked dry of their value. Whereas Faith is like a spirited horse, delighting in a gallop, leaping over obstacles, crashing through the undergrowth, and undaunted by mountain trails. Faith delights in living for Jesus.
When Jesus preached, he called people from the stupor of religion, into the gallop of faith. A life that serves God is not a life that observes rules, but a life that is filled with the spirit of God and is set free to embody godliness.
The Law says do not kill people, perfection lights up the heart of a Christian, so that murder is the furthest thing in their mind. Instead, they have the love of God in their hearts bursting forth wanting, desiring, the best for all those around, including those who would do them harm.
We were created to walk with God. The constant call of Jesus was “Follow Me.” That is not a call to walk behind Him, Rather we walk with Him, where He takes us.
When we are in Jesus Christ, walking after the Spirit and not according to our desires, there is no condemnation! In Christ we are perfect. That is more than a spiritual condition, it is a fact of life. But to get there, we need to take our head knowledge of Jesus and place it firmly in our hearts. It has to go from Theory to being a Life-creed.
Jesus is calling, follow Him!