Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. Matthew 5:48. Man and women are to be perfect in their sphere, even as God is perfect in His sphere. It is because God is always on our side and working for our good that our minds have been set right, and we are in unity with Jesus Christ. The required perfection is based on His perfection – who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption. 1 Corinthians 1:30. We recognize Jesus as the wisdom of God in human form. He is the source of our healing, righteousness, and re-creation into Godlikeness.
While we were yet unloving and unlovely in character, hateful, and hating one another – our heavenly Father had mercy on us. After that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us. Titus 3:3-5.
When the kindness and God’s love appeared to us?
At the time we were:
- consumed by the infection of selfishness
- fear-based and irrational thinkers
- rebellious, with minds filled with lies and distortions
- in bondage to our emotions, passions, and lusts
- living in constant threat and in conflict with others
- envious, hating, and being hated
God our Savior saved us because of His compassion. He heals us through the work of the Holy Spirit who cleanses our hearts and minds. Moreover, who takes what Christ achieved and generously reproducing it into us.
Who are the children of God?
The children of God are those who are partakers of His nature. You cannot but be like Him. If you are God’s children, begotten by His Spirit, you live by the life of God. In Christ dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. Colossians 2:9, and the life of Jesus is made manifest in our mortal flesh. 2 Corinthians 4:11.
That life in you will produce the same character and manifest the same works as it did in Christ. Thus you will be in harmony with every precept of the law of God. For the law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul. Psalm 19:7. Through love the righteousness of the law will be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Romans 8:4.
The law of God is a transcript of the character. Behold in your heavenly Father a perfect manifestation of the principles which are the foundation of His government. He tells us to be perfect as He is, in the same manner. We are to be centers of light and blessing to our little circle, even as He is to the universe. We have nothing of ourselves, but the light of God’s love shines upon us, and we are to reflect its brightness. “In His borrowed goodness good,” we may be perfect in our sphere, even as God is perfect in His.
God is love
God has loved us beyond measure. As we comprehend something of the length and breadth and depth and height of this love that passeth knowledge, our love awakens towards Him. Like rays of light from the sun, love, light, and joy flow out from Him to all His creatures. It is His nature to give. His very life is the outflow of unselfish love.
By the revelation of the attractive loveliness of Christ and the knowledge of His love expressed to us while we were yet sinners, the stubborn heart is melted and subdued. Thus the sinner is transformed and becomes a child of heaven. God does not employ compulsory measures. Love is the agent which He uses to expel sin from the heart. By it He changes pride into humility, and enmity and unbelief into love and faith.
Be perfect – How can such a standard be reached?
After we learned about the unfailing mercy and love of God, Jesus bids us – therefore be perfect. Because your heavenly Father is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil Luke 6:35. Moreover, Jesus has stooped to lift you up, that you may become like Him in character. Thus you may stand without fault in the presence of men and angels.
Christ gave the command requiring perfection. He is the One who was by birth a human being, though allied to divinity. He has passed over the road we are to tread, and He says – Without Me ye can do nothing. John 15:5. But with Him we can do everything. Thus a perfect character can be obtained. God never issues a command without furnishing the grace sufficient for its fulfillment. Ample provision has been made that the individual shall be a partaker of the divine nature. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9.
Conditions of eternal life
The conditions of eternal life, under grace, are just what they were in Eden – perfect righteousness, harmony with God, and perfect conformity to the principles of His law. The standard of character presented in the Old Testament is the same that is presented in the New Testament. This standard is not one to which we cannot attain. In every command that God gives there is a promise. It is the most positive, underlying the command. God has made provision that we may become like Him. He will accomplish this for all who do not interpose a perverse will and thus frustrate His grace.
“His glory is His children’s good;
His joy, His tender Fatherhood.”
The voice that spoke to Israel from Sinai is speaking in these last days to men and women, saying: Thou shalt have no other gods before Me. Exodus 20:3. The law of God was written with His own finger on tables of stone, thus showing that it could never be changed or abrogated. It is to be preserved through the eternal ages, immutable as the principles of His government.
It is the will of God that each professing Christian shall perfect a character after the divine similitude. By studying the character of Christ revealed in the Bible and practicing His virtues, the believer will be changed into the same likeness of goodness and mercy. Christ’s work of self-denial and sacrifice brought into the daily life will develop the faith that works by love and purifies the soul.
The Bible is the most perfect educational book
In studying the Scriptures we become acquainted with God. Furthermore, we are led to understand our relation to Christ, who is the sin-bearer, surety, and substitute for our fallen race. These truths concern our present and eternal interests. For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Romans 15:4
Bible study is valuable above the study of other literature in giving strength and expansion to the mind. Paul says: Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15
But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. 2 Timothy 3:14-17
There is no way by which you may be saved in sin. Every soul that gains eternal life must be like Christ – holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners. Hebrews 7:26. The followers of Christ must shine as lights in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. The command – Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect, Matthew 5:48, would never have been given if every provision had not been made whereby we could obey the requirement to be perfect in our sphere as God is in his.
Every God’s ambassador according to Paul, should be presented perfect in Christ Jesus. Those who embrace the heavenly truth should be refined, ennobled and sanctified through it. Perfection of character is a lifelong work, unattainable by those who are not willing to strive for it in God’s appointed way. We cannot afford to make any mistake in this matter. We want day by day to be growing up into Christ, our living Head.
Abiding in Christ
Church membership will not guarantee us heaven. We must abide in Christ and his love must abide in us. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. John 15:4. Our attainments will be just in accordance with the effort we make. Moreover, our character will be just what we choose to make it. For through the divine aid promised us, we can overcome. Jesus knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. Psalm 103:14. In pitying tenderness He will give us the help and strength we need. Let us diligently cultivate the pure principles of the gospel of Christ – the religion, not of self-esteem, but of love, meekness, and lowliness of heart.
Men and women are God’s by creation and by redemption, therefore those who receive Christ He invests with His strength. They are bound up with Him, and are fully capable of reaching the highest elevation of character. As servants of the great King, you should individually realize that you are under obligation to improve yourselves by observation, study, and by communion with God. The word of God is able to make you wise, to guide and make you perfect in Christ. The blessed Savior was a faultless pattern for all His followers to imitate.
- MB 76, 77; ST, July 26, 1899; GW92 363, 445; FE 393 – The Ellen G. White Estate
- King James Version (KJV) Bible – BibleGateway
- The Remedy – A New Testament expanded paraphrase
- Image courtesy – Pixabay
Last update: February 20, 2019
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