"Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5:48)As Christians we are very comfortable talking about God's holiness and even how we have been made righteous in Christ, but when it comes to talking about our own holiness, righteousness, and perfection, we tend to be silent. We know God is holy and we know we are the righteousness of God in Christ, but we are not often sure about our own personal holiness. God wants us to be perfect, not only as accounted to us in Christ, but as an outward expression of the righteousness we are inside. God wants our outward behavior to express the inward righteousness we have been granted in Christ.
So how do we achieve or become perfect? One key is to identify in what ways God is perfect and then to imitate Him in His perfection.
"So that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." (Matthew 5:45)One of the ways that God shows His perfection is in how He loves people. God loves people not because they are good or deserving but rather because they are His; He loves them because they are created in His image. There is a common blessing and favor that God showers upon all mankind, the righteous and the unrighteous alike. God is not sectarian; He loves all. If we are to be perfect then we must emulate God's perfection in His love.
"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5:43-48)If we are to be perfect then we must love people, not because they are lovable or worth of love, but because they are God's. We must not see our world as "us against them" but that we are all one; we are all the same, we are all made in His image. This is not to say that there is not a difference between the family of faith and the family of disobedience, but rather our love and care for people should be without regard to whether or not the agree with us, believe like us, behave as we do, or are as worthy and deserving as we are; we should love people as people made in God's image. When we do this then we are, in part, showing forth the perfection of God. John said, "For God so loved the world, that He gave..." (John 3:16) Let this be said of us as well.
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