Commands of Christ

Be Perfect

Where is this command found?

“For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”

Matthew 5:46–48

Applying This Command

Have you ever thought of how love and maturity walk hand-in-hand? In Matthew 5:46–48, Jesus relates loving our enemies to being perfect as our Father who is in Heaven. The word perfect means complete, with the idea of being mature. This is exactly how God loves us.

A complete or mature love is not based upon what we can get from someone, but instead on what we can give them. God loved us so much that while we were His enemies, He sent His Son to die for us so that we might have new Life in Him. Jesus commands us to love our enemies with this type of love.

Fulfilling the command to Be Perfect is only possible one way: through the life and power of God. As we abide in God’s Word and receive His perfect love, we will be transformed into channels expressing this love to everyone around us, including our enemies. It is through this perfect love that our enemies can experience God’s kindness and care, exposing their need for a personal relationship with Him!

Bible Verses for Meditation

In addition to meditation on Matthew 5:46–48, meditating on the verses below will provide you with further insight and understanding of Christ’s command: Be Perfect.

II Chronicles 16:9

“For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.”

Colossians 1:28–29

“Whom we preach,warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.”

Romans 12:2

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

I John 3:3

“And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”

Philippians 3:15–16

“Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule … .”

Related Episodes

From the Podcast

Dive deeper into the command Be Perfect with these episodes from the Commands of Christ podcast!

Study Question

Q: Moses forsook all the treasures of Egypt to serve the Lord and free His people from bondage. God commissioned Moses and sent him to Pharaoh, but on the way, why did God meet him in an inn and seek to kill him?

A: God appeared to Moses in the backside of the desert and commissioned him to return to Egypt and deal with Pharaoh. While Moses was on the way, God told him exactly what to say to Pharaoh. “Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn: and I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn” (see Exodus 4:22–23). In the very next verse, we read, “It came to pass by the way in the inn, that the LORD met him, and sought to kill him.” What a startling statement! Why would God have such an intention? Based on what happened next, it becomes clear what caused God’s displeasure with Moses.

God called Abraham to leave his country and kindred to establish a new nation, through whom all the families of the earth would be blessed. God had given Abraham a sign of that covenant—circumcision. God gave very clear instructions that this sign was to be carried out by all of his descendants. It is obvious that Moses had failed to do this with his sons. This failure of Moses to fulfill the covenant of God through circumcision indicated an incomplete circumcision of his heart. If left unaddressed, this would have tainted his ability to represent the nation of Israel as “the firstborn” of God the Father or to speak forcefully to Pharaoh about his firstborn.

If we are to have perfect hearts, we must expose all secret desires and activities to the light of God’s truth and the washing of His Word.

For Further Study

You can learn more about the command Be Perfect in the book Commands of Christ: Series 2.

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