William C. Brownson

READ : Matthew 5:43-48

You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (v. 48)

Question: A religious teacher said it’s not possible for a man to be perfect. Why are we commanded to be holy, pure, and blameless if God knows that we can’t do it? (from Zambia)

Answer: Part of the difficulty here lies in our use of the word perfect. To us, perfection means “freedom from all flaws and deficiencies.” It is a life where no thought, word, or work has ever been wrong or less than it should be.

The Bible’s use of the word is different. It means to be “mature” or “wholehearted.” It doesn’t mean someone never sins or fails; it pictures rather the basic attitude of the heart in a person. When we today speak of people as godly, we don’t mean that they are absolutely like God, but that they live in fellowship with him and grow in his likeness.

In ourselves, apart from God’s grace in Christ, we remain sinful, self-centered people. But because we are joined to Christ by faith, his perfect righteousness is laid to our account as a sheer gift. The Holy Spirit works in us throughout our lives, so that we continually die to sin and walk in newness of life. In the end of the way, as John puts it, “We shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”

All those in Christ, therefore, are on the road to fullness of life, but the more mature they become in their Christian lives, the more they realize that they haven’t yet arrived, that they still have a long way to go.


Lord, make me into a more godly person.