Friday, March 17, 2006

"Be perfect, therefore, for your heavenly Father is perfect." Matt 5:48 (NIV)

It seems like I have a knack for getting myself into much debated passages or verses in the bible. It looks like I have landed myself into another one in my search for "perfection" (pun not intended!).

According to Friesen, "believers through the centuries have debated about what Jesus meant by this command for perfection. Devoted Christians have always recognised the need to be obedient to their Lord's commands. But there has been much disagreement on how to interpret these words. Some believers claim to have reached this required state of perfection while other, equally devout, Christians have declared that it is impossible."

As far as Matt 5:48 is concerned, the key to the verse would be the word, oủv, the Greek word for therefore. What comes before this are the beatitudes (v.1-12), being salt of the earth and light of the world (v.13-16), Jesus coming to fulfil the law (v.17-20), anger being equivalent to murder (v.21-22), reconciliation as a requirement before offering of gifts at the altar (v.23-26), a simple look at a woman and divorce being equivalent to commiting adultery (v.27-32), a commandment not to swear (v.33-37), to give more than is required (v.38-42) and loving your enemies (v.43-47).

We are called to practise all these and as a result to be perfect because our heavenly Father is perfect.

In relation to what is on my mind as far as perfection is concerned, I am reminded that the world's desire for perfection is really so different from the perfection commanded by our Lord Jesus Christ. While the world seek for beauty and satisfaction, even self-satisfaction, our God seeks for a heart that is pure and clean, one that is concerned about obeying him in our walk of life, in reconciliation, in word and deed that is honourable and even in loving our enemies.

Indeed, how far apart the perfection that the world chases after and the perfection that God seeks in us. May it be that we are after the right one.


Picture by Griszka Niewiadomski

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