The Word perfect in Greek is “teleios,” which literally means, “one who has reached the goal.” In Greek literature teleioi is used of full-grown or mature adult human beings. Paul speaks of “them that are perfect” (1 Cor. 2:6) and of “as many as be perfect” (Phil. 3:15). At the same time he realizes that there are new heights to gain and that he himself has not reached the ultimate perfection.
In Matthew 5:48, Jesus does not here deal with absolute sinlessness at conversion for “Sanctification” is a progressive process in the Christian growth. But at each stage, as the Christian submits fully to God in obedience to all what the Lord reveals to him, he will be found perfect in God’s sight.
The Bible says that Job was perfect (Job 1:1). This word does not necessarily imply absolute sinlessness. But it signifies, rather, completeness, integrity, sincerity, but in a relative sense. The man who is “perfect” in the sight of God is the man who has reached the degree of development that Heaven expects of him at any given time.
The Jews were toiling wearily to become righteous by their own efforts, to earn salvation by works. But in their legalism they paid so much attention to the minute details of the letter of the law that they lost sight completely of its spirit of love (Matthew 23:23).
In the Sermon on the Mount, Christ sought to turn their attention from the husks to the wheat. They had made the law an end in itself, something to be kept for its own sake, and had forgotten that its purpose was to lift their gaze to the high ideals of supreme love toward God and self-sacrificing love toward one’s fellow men (Matthew 22:34–40). The rabbis taught that righteousness consists in having an excess of good deeds over evil deeds credited to one’s account in heaven.
What the Lord wants from us is ‘perfect’ love. If we love Him so much that we would rather die than deliberately disobey like Daniel (Daniel 6), that kind of trust and love is Christian perfection. Abraham loved the Lord over any other human relationships and this was shown when the Lord asked him to offer his son Isac (Genesis 22:12). This strong connection to the Lord or walking in the Spirit like Enoch walked with God (Genesis 5:22) is Christian perfection.
With God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). God supplies the believers with all the grace needed to have perfect love at every stage in their Christian walk. “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).
In His service,
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