To Live by the Father’s Will is to be Perfect Like Your Father

Jesus said, “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt. 5:48). This command is all-encompassing. It includes all the examples of Jesus in Matt. 5:21-47. It is the conclusion of Jesus’ new teaching based on the Law.

Have you seen the perfect church? There is the perfect church building, standing tall and magnificent, with its white cross on its steeple. There are the perfect pews or benches, made of rare hardwood, which no termite’s teeth could possibly dent. There is the perfect floor, made of beautiful marble and wooden tiles. There is the perfect stage, where the most beautiful worship design displays radiantly for all to see. There is the perfect pulpit, made of hardwood, with a cross at the front.

But then you realize that there is no perfect church, because there are no perfect people in the church. There is only the perfect Savior, who was all human just as we are, yet without sin. Thus, we imperfect people must focus our eyes on our perfect Savior, so that we can grow into perfection.

The word, “perfect” (teleios), means, “completeness.” To be perfect is to be completely conformed to the character of God.[1] To be perfect is to reflect the character of God in our lifestyle. To be perfect is to live on a higher righteousness. That is our goal as Kingdom people.

Perfection is not attained by obeying the Law of Moses. Perfection is attained by obeying the Law of Christ. It begins with receiving a new heart, a new nature. You receive a new heart when you come to Christ trusting Christ. You receive a new nature when you are born again in Christ. Your starting point for perfection is Christ. You begin with Christ and end with Christ.

To be perfect is to copy the character of God the Father in your life. To be perfect is to live out the greater righteousness of God in your life. We draw our standards of living, not from what our family and friends are doing, or what this world is doing, but from God our Father. Hence, we stop getting angry with someone, for example, because that is the will of God our Father. We stop looking at a woman to lust because that is the standard of the kingdom of God. We speak the truth and give way to others. That is the way of the kingdom of God.

Thus, if you stop getting angry at others, if you stop looking at a woman to lust, if you are truthful, if you give grace, if you love your enemies, in short—if you obey God’s rule in your life, then you show yourself to be growing towards perfection. If you obey God’s rule in your life, you are growing in conformity to the character of God, becoming more like your Father in heaven.

That is our goal—to become more like our Father in heaven, completely conforming to the Father’s will.

[1] Larry Chouinard, Matthew (CPNC; Joplin: College, 1997), 120.

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