One of the idioms used today in “perfect.” I hear many times a day this response as a thank you to someone having the answer to a request, “perfect.” It sounds thoughtful and concise, however, I have been thinking about this word. You know, there is only One who is perfect and that is God: “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).
Man is not perfect in any way except by the blood of the Lamb who died for all. “For the law appoints as high priest men who have weaknesses, but the word of the oath which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever” (Hebrews 7:48). Mankind is flawed in every way, even if we have gifts of God that can be used for His glory. It started in the “garden of Eden” when pride took over and ruined paradise. We became full of fears and selfish emotions after the fall. But “God is love. And perfect love castes out fear” (1 John 4:18). Yes, God’s love is for us so nothing can be against us as Romans 8:31 tells us. Yet we are not yet perfected or holy, we are being made holy and perfect, as we trust in Him. Perfect will come when we see God face to face in heaven if we believe in the Son of God as Savior and Lord. But in this world we will have troubles Jesus tells us. He also said that we should take heart because He has overcome the world. So can we have peace in this world?
“He will keep in perfect peace, him whose mind is steadfast on Him, because he trust in Him” (Isaiah 26:3). God says to seek Him and pray continually. This is how we can find His peace. Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Yes for Christ’s sake, when I am weak then I am strong.” This is one of the paradoxes of faith; we must be weak to be strong. Said in another way, we must die to self to gain. “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). The flesh or our worldly ways must die to live as Christ would have us.
The perfect peace of God is the one we find when we are not anxious, but keep praying with thanksgiving as Philippians 4:6-7 admonishes us. We must continually think about and put into practice all things noble, right, pure excellent and praiseworthy. This is when the God of peace is with us. This is the perfecting power. “Every good and perfect gift comes from above from the Father of lights” (James 1:17). This perfecting power is from above. Paul knew about it and said, “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected, but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and pressing forward to those things which are ahead. I press forward to the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12-14). This is the upward call of God to perfection.
“Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me” (Matthew 19:21). The rich young ruler could not do it. God is saying to him and us today that we must put Him first and foremost above all others. “As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him” (2 Samuel 22:31). Throughout the Old Testament and Psalms we are told of God’s perfection and to take refuge in Him to be delivered and made whole. This is the quest of mankind to be more like Jesus; many just don’t know it and how to live.
“Be perfect as I am perfect.”