What does it mean when the Bible says you should be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect?

The Bible contains many teachings that can be challenging to understand, and one of the most difficult is the instruction to "be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matthew 5:48). This verse can seem daunting and even impossible to achieve, but with a closer examination, we can explore what this means and how we can apply it to our lives.

Firstly, it's important to understand that the word "perfect" in this context doesn't mean flawless or without error. Instead, it means to be complete or whole. In other words, we are called to be fully formed as children of God, with all aspects of our lives reflecting his character and values.

The context of this verse is Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, where he is teaching his disciples about what it means to live a life that is pleasing to God. In this passage, Jesus is calling his followers to a higher standard of living, one that reflects God's character of love, mercy, and compassion.

To be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect means that we should strive to emulate his character in everything we do. This includes loving our enemies, caring for the poor and marginalized, and living lives of integrity and honesty. It means that we should seek to love others as God loves us, and to be faithful in our relationships with him and with others.

It's important to note that this verse doesn't mean that we will ever achieve perfection in this life. We will always fall short of God's ideal, but the point is to strive towards it, to continually grow and develop in our relationship with him, and to allow his grace and forgiveness to work in us and through us.

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Jamie Larson