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Matthew 5: 48

Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

How many sermons have you heard on this verse? Not many I’ll wager. No, we are too busy confessing that we are “just old sinners saved by grace.” Well, let’s get a new revelation and a new confession today. Jesus said we are to be perfect in the image of our heavenly Father.

I will tell you for a start that when some ministers come across a difficult bit of scripture like this they begin to get all theological and come up with amazing theories about what that scripture means. Perhaps I am just not as intellectual as they but I suggest that we start with taking the word at face value. Words mean what they mean. Jesus used he words he meant to use when he said be perfect and just because we are theologically challenged does not suggest that they do not mean what even a child could read and understand. I think sometimes we can be too smart for our own good. Jesus thought so too because he said we must become like children. In fact he said that if we would see the kingdom of heaven we must become like children (Matthew 19: 3). So, today’s verse really is quite simple. You are to be perfect. Let’s not confuse it with a lot of theoretical gibberish. 

Since Jesus told us to be perfect he must have known a way for us to accomplish it. I would suggest that THE WAY is Jesus (John 14: 6). Paul told us to shuck off our old selves and put on the new self which is Christ Jesus: “In reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” (Ephesians 4: 22 – 24). There you go. It really isn’t at all complicated. Put on Jesus as your robe of holiness, righteousness and truth. 

Now, I said it isn’t complicated but I did not say it was easy. We love to hang onto our old selves. We enshrine the “old man” on the throne of our hearts. We were taught, “It’s every man for himself” and “You’ve got to grab all you can get.” Those are heathen values; not Godly values. We are told to die to self and live through Jesus considering other people’s needs as more important than our own but what an internal revolution that takes. We must begin by choosing to lay down our lives for our Messiah. Once we do, then we can take up Christ. We put on the perfect like donning the majestic robes of the King. As long as we stay in the perfect, we are perfect. This is our mandate. This is the commandment. “Live in Me” (John 15: 4 God’s Word Translation). 

We weren’t commanded to TRY to be perfect. We are commanded to BE perfect. In the famous words of Yoda from Star Wars, “There is no try. There is only do.” So change your self-image if need be. Please change your confession if you are still calling yourself a sinner and then change your clothes. Put on the robes of the righteous one, the perfect one. Put on Jesus.


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