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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Does God Expect Perfection?

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This is a question I used to ask all the time, but then I read this verse in the bible and it got me wondering again.

Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Mathew 5:48

Jesus says this during his sermon on the mount. He just gave teachings like the beatitudes and covered topics such as adultery, murder, and prayer. Jesus concludes this by a verse saying "Be perfect."

If God expects perfection, we're all doomed. There is absolutely no way we can be perfect. And isn't that exactly what Jesus wanted to get across? In Exodus, the law was established to show Israel just how messed up they were. (Romans 3:20) We cannot uphold the law on our own. There's just no way that could happen. If the end of the story was that we need to be perfect, there would be no hope. Aren't you glad that this was just the beginning?

Jesus came to die, but before death, he had to live a perfect life. He came be perfect because he knew we couldn't. He fulfilled the law because God knew we never could.

If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you.
Psalm 130:3-4

Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins.
Ecclesiastes 7:20

These two verses say it. We can't stand before God on our own. We cannot be perfect.

You guys probably knew that already. I just wanted to make sure we were all on the same page. So now, let's get back on topic.

If God expected perfection from us, he never would have sent Jesus, his son.

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.
Luke 19:10

Jesus said this to Zacchaeus. He told Zachaeus that his sins were forgiven (Luke 19:9). He doesn't expect us to be perfect, God, the righteous judge, needs some atonement for sin and that would be Jesus.

Jesus wasn't lying, he wasn't just saying something. He said what he said in Mathew 5:48 to make a point, and I think that is this: There needs to be perfection for us to get to heaven. Be glad Jesus is willing to be that perfection for you.

The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. Otherwise, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins. It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
Hebrews 10:1-4

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