‘Be ye perfect as I am perfect’– Matt. 5.48
It is good for us from time to time to realize our nothingness, our incompleteness, and our deficiencies. We are apt to grow self-complacent, to thank God we are not as others are, but far better. This feeling arises from the low standards we set before us. We compare ourselves with one another, with those around us, and in doing so we are not wise. Now in Matt. 5.48 we have startling words. This is a startling command…. and it is a command which many of us simply pass over and ignore as impracticable and impossible.
Perfect, we say, perfect as God is perfect? Impossible! Imperfection marks everything and must mark everything here below. It is romantically idealistic to expect to attain that which is plainly out of our reach. And so without further deliberation we quietly ignore the words altogether and to the vast majority of Christians they are a dead letter….and yet spoken by our Lord. They must surely have some plain and implied meaning. They tell us plainly what our aim must be. It is that in this life we may never reach it. True to the very end that we shall fall far below it. But it will not do to have a lower standard than this. We must be ever striving to lift ourselves up to it more and more, and then more and more our life will be perfected here, until at last we come by his almighty power ‘unto a perfect man, unto to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ’. So we must always be striving for perfection, while knowing we cannot attain it in this life.