I’ve been thinking about three passages: “Be holy as I am holy,” (1 Peter 1:16) “Be perfect as your Father in Heaven is perfect,” (Matthew 5:48) and “Be compassionate as your Father in heaven is compassionate.” (Luke 6:36) And I’m wondering if maybe they’re not all saying the same thing. Some Bible commentators have even suggested that God’s holiness and perfection is completed in the compassion of Jesus.
If the most foundational thing about God is indeed the stunning love between Father, Son, and Spirit, and since the one way that Jesus suggested we would be known was by our love, (rather than by our moral perfection), and since the greatest commandment is to love God and love others, then I’m wondering if God’s holiness might be more expressed by loving inclusion and compassion than in spotless moral perfection. If that’s really the case, then I can say with all humility that I’m beginning to experience some personal growth in holiness. My heart is being enlarged towards others in ways that are fresh and exciting.
Had a spur-of-the-moment picnic on the mountain yesterday. As you can see from the photo, it’s beginning to cool off in Sarajevo. These friends are deeply loved by the Father. Some of them know it, and others haven’t realized it yet.
4 thoughts on “Being perfect”
If God is Love and Jesus came to establish God’s Kingdom, then it stands to reason that one of the corner stones of the Kingdom is Love. Of the three verses you cite, there is only one that can be accomplished on this earth. One cannot be holy or perfect in this life because we are in the process of being santified for the next. We can, however, be compassionate as the Father is compassionate. What then is more important for us to be concerned with while we dwell in these tents of flesh?
What is God’s greatest gift to us? Holiness? perfection? NO! It is the grace, mercy, compassion exhibited by our Savior, who loved us and gave himself for us. These then are the keys to the Kingdom. Love as He loved us.
Then consider the attributes of love in I Cor. 13. “Love is patient and kind, love does not envy or boast; it does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” These are attributes of inclusion, not exclusion; of reconciliation, not condemnation; of building up, not tearing apart; of construction, not destruction.
If therefore, the kingdom is about love, and love is about inclusion, it is natural for those who are already included endeavor to include others. You are right on Don? Thank you for reminding us afresh of our call. Not to save, for we cannot, but to love and include.
ON THE OTHER HAND…
Is it not also true that, If we love Jesus, that we would be loath to do anything that would offend him? For those of you who are married, do you remember the courtship phase of your relationship w/ your spouse? How you were unable to see anyone else in the same way that you did him/her? How anything that you did to upset him/her would engender an immediate repentace? Don, you know me well enough to know that I am NOT perfect (just ask my wife or kids!)
Shouldn’t our love for Jesus be the same? We are aiming to keep a clean heart before & please Jesus. Remember, “when I am weak, then HE is strong.” Then wouldn’t we be perfect as JESUS becomes more of our lives?? Certainly, what else would engender greater hoiness in us?
My point exactly, Mitch. But after years and years of focusing on ridding my life of sinful thoughts and actions, my relationship with Jesus has taken a turn towards focusing first on receiving His love, and then extending His love towards others. The beauty of this way is that it protects my ever wandering heart from becoming pharisaical. I’m always quick bait for falling into the trap of measuring my performance against others. But it’s not so easy to do that with love.
If love is the fulfillment of the law, then it follows that the greater our love, the greater our holiness.
For a second there I thought you said, “protects my ever wandering heart from becoming pharMACIST…” Whew! I probably need new glasses…
Wait a minute… is it OUR holiness or HIS through us? So could it be asked of the gifts: are they ours or are we HIS to use his gifts through?