God's Perfect Standard

 

 

 

 

 

 

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God's Perfect Standard

By Larry R. Lasiter

© 2014

    "Matthew 5:48, Jesus said, "Therefore, you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

God does everything perfectly and perfectly on time. And as our Father, He has called us to holiness and to perfection. To be perfect is to be complete.

As a father myself, I have never asked one of my children to do something imperfectly. Iíve never said to my son Michael, "mow the lawn, but do not complete the task" or "mow the lawn, but try not to do it perfectly." Iíve never taught any of my children to be "82% truthful" or to be "89% honest." I always wanted my children to strive for perfection even though I knew that they could never achieve it.

Jesus calls us to be perfect-Peter wrote that we must be holy-and Paul instructed husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the Church, even laying down His life for her. It takes a perfect commitment to love your wife with so great a love. But consider that when we make our vows during the Marriage Covenant Ceremony, we agree to forsake all others and cherish one another in sickness and in health until death do we part.

Those are lofty standards indeed, but they are in fact, Godís perfect standards. Now consider the alternative-would you want a husband or wife who would make only a partial commitment? A partner who would only make a vow to be 90% faithful? The saints are called to be the bride of Christ. If God needs to set a standard for the bride of His Son, how could it be anything less than a perfect one?

If weíre honest we understand that try as we might we cannot look back at the end of each day and say that we practiced perfection. I used to grade myself everyday regarding my commitment and faithfulness to God. I was never able to give myself a perfect score and often felt depressed at realizing how poorly I had done.

So, how do we reconcile this? How do we live as those called to perfection while knowing we cannot practice perfection for a single day? There is only one answer-it is only by Godís grace. We can only acquire perfection in Christ. When we are born in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit we become a new creation and are no longer recognized according to who we were in the flesh, -"Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh;. . .Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old things passed away; behold new things have come." 2 Corinthians 5:16-17

When we were lost in our sins our only hope was in Godís perfect commitment to save us from the judgment of death. It would take a perfect offering to pay for our sins. Silver or gold would not suffice, nor would the blood sacrifice of all the animals in the world, -"For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, MAKE PERFECT those who draw near. . .Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says, ĎSacrifice and offering You have not desired, but a Body You have prepared for Me; . . ."By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the Body of Jesus Christ once for all." Hebrews 10:1,5,10

No other sacrificial offering had the power to make a person perfect in the sight of God-only Jesus, the Body which the Father Himself prepared and offered. All sacrifices before were prepared by people - Israelites, Levitical Priests, Sons of Aaron, Prophets and Kings. But the Father Himself prepared and gave the Body of His own Son in order to redeem and save us, and to make us perfect in Christ through His death and resurrection.

In declaring that Godís standard is perfection, Jesus was revealing that all men were in need of a Perfecter. Many of the Jewish Religious leaders thought of themselves as having a righteousness derived from obeying Godís Law, but were in fact deceived and were only self-righteous.

Romans 2 says it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God but it is the doers of the Law. Paul was not suggesting that the Law could justify, but was reminding the Roman converts that Israel had merely received and heard Godís Law but had never succeeded in keeping the Law, -"Like all the deeds which they have done since the day I brought them up from Egypt even to this day, in that they have forsaken Me and served other gods." 1 Samuel 8:8 And "Take this book of the Law and place it beside the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord Your God, that it may remain there as a witness against you. For I know your rebellion and your stubbornness." Deuteronomy 31:26-27

This is a familiar theme throughout the Old Testament. Sadly, to this day there are those who believe that they are doers when in reality they are only hearers who delude themselves. Of course Christians are obligated to keep Godís Commandments, but we can never boast in this since by our own works we fall short. If our record of Commandment keeping and breaking were the assurance we would fail miserably indeed. Let us always give thanks to God for Jesus and the saving grace found in Him as we walk obediently as best we are able.

A Gentile convert to Christianity could be tempted into judging the Jews because having received the Law they rebelled against it. This is why Paul reminded them that Gentiles had never directly rebelled against the Law given to Israel, but they had rebelled against the law written in their hearts. Therefore the Apostle declares, "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." This is simply saying that no one has lived up to Godís standard of perfection-which is why in Jesus the Father prepared a Body which had the power to make all who would receive it, perfect.

Those in Christ have been crucified with Him and also risen in Him. Adam and his sin nature had to die in order to release us from the power of sin -"knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin (who we were in Adam) might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin." Romans 6:6-7 This chapter also shows that those who have been crucified with Christ through baptism have also been raised in Him to a new life with a new, divine nature. That is who we really are once we are saved.

In chapter 7 Paul wrote that with his mind he agreed with Godís Law but found the members of his body practicing the very things he hated. He understood that his old body of death was present with him at all times, but that it was no longer recognized as being him since he was now a new creature in Christ. In Christ, we are justified, which means that we have been examined and no record of sin has been found in our life. Our sins, past, present and future are covered and cast into the sea of forgetfulness. "Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, and whose sins have been covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account." Romans 4:7-8

We have been made complete, perfect in Christ, notice -"For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form (the saints are His Body), and in Him you have been MADE COMPLETE, and He is the head over all rule and authority." Colossians 2:9-10

And those who are in Christ have become the righteousness of God, -"He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." 2 Corinthians 5:21

In Christ we have become perfect, holy and blameless. Therefore, let us remain unstained by the world, and let us walk worthy of our high calling with a thankful heart in unspeakable joy.


 

Points of Truth Ministries