Whenever someone messes up they’ll say “Well, nobody’s perfect!” It seems as though perfection is something all of us strive for and yet never obtain. Deep down within us we have this need to be perfect. I think it’s because we were originally made in the image of God, and we know he’s perfect. Come with me on a little excursion into the Bible to find out what it says about God, us and perfection.
The first thing I noticed when I did this little research project was there are several times in the scriptures that God either says someone is perfect or tells them to be perfect. I myself was shocked. I have always thought, and even said, “There was only one who was ever perfect, and that is Jesus Christ himself.”
Let’s start by defining the word perfect. The word perfect is used in the KJV Bible whereas blameless, upright, whole or mature may be appropriate in some instances. For the sake of continuity I am going to use the KJV here.
In Genesis we read “Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.” Jumping ahead to Job we find out God says to Satan, “Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?” Even after Job lost his children, livestock and barns the Bible says, “In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.” Wow! So we have Noah and Job described as perfect from none other than God himself!
Now let’s look at Abraham for a minute. When Abraham, or Abram at this time, was 90yrs old the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.” So here we read that God was commanding perfection from Abraham. Wow that’s a long way from “nobody’s perfect” isn’t it? Apparently God knew there was a way or possibility for him to be perfect or he wouldn’t have told him to be….would he?
That is all of the Old Testament saints I want to look at for now. Let’s move on into the New Testament. In the 4th chapter of Ephesians we read about how God gave the church what has become known as the fivefold ministry. He gave us Apostles, prophets, evangelists and pastors and teachers. Why would he give the church these? It is “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”
Even Jesus commanded us to be perfect. He said, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Whoa, how are we going to do that? Once again I don’t think Jesus would tell us to be perfect if he didn’t fully expect us to, do you? I mean wouldn’t it be cruel of God to dangle that carrot in front of us and taunt us with something we could never obtain and yet command it of us?
By now I bet you’re thinking how do we reach this perfection then? Well the obvious answer is it isn’t actually a place to reach. Perfection is a person and his name is Jesus. You see Jesus knew all along that we, in and of ourselves, have no ability to be perfect. He also knew that if we didn’t give perfection our very best try we would never come to that conclusion. That’s why he told us to do all sorts of impossible deeds like we find in the Sermon on the Mount. He said things like “You have heard it was said by them of old time, you shall not kill; but I say to you, that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause is in danger of the judgment.” “You have heard it said by them of old time, you shall not commit adultery: But I say to you, that whoever looks at a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.” These are only a few of the outrageous things Jesus told the listening crowd. He went on to say “if your hand offends you cut it off, and if your eye offends you pluck it out.” In other words it is going to be impossible on your own to obtain perfection, but if you want to give it a try here’s what is required.
The good news is we can come to the end of our trying and cry out to Christ saying, “I can’t do it, and if it is going happen you’ll have to do it!” Of course this is exactly what God has known all along. He presses us to be perfect so we might finally drop from exhaustion and let him in. The Law of God is really a description of perfection which is God himself. It’s as if God is revealing his character to us through words. If we think he wants, or is expecting, us to make ourselves like him then he’ll let us give it a good try. It isn’t until we come to the end of ourselves and invite Christ in that we will obtain the perfection God is looking for from us. What truly takes place is the Holy Spirit comes in and evicts that old spirit, of “you will be like God”, that has been lying to us since the Garden of Eden.
It is true nobody is perfect except Jesus and when God co-crucified us with him on the cross we, the old man, died too. When he was resurrected we were too, and now it is no longer I who live, but the perfect one himself who lives in me. “It was by one offering that he has perfected forever them that are sanctified.”
Written by Louie