by Anniel 11/18/14
Be ye therefore perfect, as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:48; KJV) • What does it mean to be perfect? Is it as Brad somewhat provocatively ponders:
“For me, it is impossible to have a ‘relationship with God’ without at least some swearing. For me (and just for me, perhaps) the idea of God as every perfect trait one can think of (all-knowing, all-loving, omniscient, omnipotent, a 300 bowler, scratch golfer, lottery winner…every single time, and homecoming king) doesn’t do much for me.
“The hardships of reality itself seem to go against such a belief. And if God really could be put in this neat, tidy box of perfection, there doesn’t seem to be enough for there to be an actual person (personality), let alone three persons in a purported trinity. He turns out to be a mere algorithm, always predictable, and little more than a blind force of nature.
“God dicking around with Job to prove a point with the Devil makes more sense than the uber-perfect being who never even has a hair out of place.”
That kind of God would be impossible even for an ardent believer to follow for very long. Perfection can’t be based on looks or a lot of us are already sunk, nor on superficial human characteristics. Besides, Isaiah said Jesus would have no beauty that man should desire him. I’m totally with Brad on those musings. I long ago gave up on the white-bearded kindly Santa image.
Besides, even Thomas Jefferson said,
Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear.
I admit I have been puzzled by the idea of perfection, but Brad’s questions have been provocative enough to make me consider what I really believe. We do have to ask before we can receive, and, as near as I can tell, we have a right to expect an answer. No lukewarm half-measures will please God.
From the scripture in Matthew, it seems as though perfection is more than symbolic, but that it is a real possibility for believers to cling to and strive for. So what is the perfection God calls us to?
Pulling up the dictionary on perfect and perfection should be somewhat helpful:
HAVING ALL DESIRABLE QUALITIES. From man’s point of view, this begs the question of what one desires in a God. Not much help since God, if you agree He is actual, is His own person, and His desires are “perfect.”
FREE FROM FLAW OR DEFECT. Same problem, we can’t presume to know such a thing about a God.
PRECISELY ACCURATE, EXACT. Hmmm, we assume He is indeed accurate and exact in His creations and in His desires for those creations.
COULD NOT BE BETTER. This makes it seem like a round-robin, and we’re right back where we started from.
There is an “archaic” meaning that gives me some hope of understanding:
SOMETHING OR SOMEONE WHO IS COMPLETE OR FINISHED. In pondering this I can believe that my Father/Creator is complete, and wants me to become the complete and finished person I was meant to be. Who that person is is for me to discover, and we need to allow all men and women the same privilege. We can only grow in freedom.
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage [sin]. Galatians 5:1; KJV.
We talk a lot on this site about those who shout about “diversity” though they try to homogenize us all. About those who would stifle all individual growth and then demand conformity as a sign of growth. The battle for freedom began before this world was even created. It began for you and me on the first day of Creation, the day God said, Let there be
light. Jesus was the only sinless and perfect person to be born, and He shed His precious blood so we can be free from sin and walk in the light of Truth.
That was the true Light, that lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. John 1:9; KJV.
I stopped writing on this (again) for several days and read and thought about Jesus being sinless and perfect. Are those two different things? Did Jesus live a sinless life or a perfect life? Or did His sinless life lead Him to a perfect life?
We know so little of what Jesus’ early life was really like. We know of His birth in Bethlehem and escape to Egypt to be saved from the slaughter of the innocents. We sing carols about His nativity that extol Him as the perfect child. One line from Away in a Manger says: “The cattle are lowing, the poor baby wakes, but little Lord Jesus no crying he makes.” No wonder we grow up believing only bad babies cry. The baby Jesus was sinless because he never cried when He was hungry or needed a diaper changed? As He grew he never fell or cried over a scraped knee? He never went through the terrible twos or spilled a cup of milk? That’s a pretty tall order for any young child.
As told in the 2nd Chapter of Luke, the infant Jesus was recognized as the promised Messiah by a holy man named Simeon and the prophetess Anna who bore testimony of who He was. When did Jesus begin to understand sin and turn from it? He was reared by God-fearing parents in the Jewish faith. He knew the law, and He kept it, even though He had come to fulfill it.
The first real childhood story we have of Him is during the Passover celebration in Jerusalem when He was 12. He seemed lost and His frantic earthly parents hunted for Him. They found Him teaching in the temple and let Him know they had been frightened and were unhappy with Him. In Luke 2:49 Jesus asks them “. . . whist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” then, in verse 51, Luke says Jesus returned to Nazareth with Mary and Joseph and “. . . was subject to them.” He was still a child and learned by obedience to His parents.
Luke further tells us of the baptism and first public acts by Jesus when He reached the age of manhood. After His baptism, Luke says Jesus spent 40 days and nights sojourning and fasting in the wilderness where He was tempted by the devil in all earthly things. There He firmly turned His holy life over to the Father and never sinned against Him. Always He did only the Father’s will.
In the Garden of Gethsemane, in His agony Jesus prayed to the Father: Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless, not my will, but thine, be done. Luke 22:42
He was sinless because He always did only what the Father willed Him to do, to the very end of his earthly mission. He became perfect and finished when He completed the work of redemption and resurrection He was sent to do. His suffering and death on the cross echo for all eternity for all men if they will but turn to Him.
That is a perfection I can understand and revere. The shedding of His blood is the eternal price of our freedom. • (3489 views)