I love these “perfect” one-liners:
- “No one is perfect – that’s why pencils have erasers.”
- “I’m a nobody. Nobody is perfect. Therefore, I’m perfect.”
- “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change OFTEN!” – Winston Churchill
I was thinking about Matthew 5:48, which tells us to be “perfect.”
Is that ever possible in this world?
Pastor Daniel Harrell wrote about his efforts – along with 19 members of his congregation – to spend 30 days “living Levitically.” He describes, in How to Be Perfect, their experiment to understand some of the biblical commands in the book of Leviticus. How would Jesus have obeyed this book? How can we, like our Lord, live perfectly for the Father?
Their ultimate goal was holiness, but in the process, they discovered their “overwhelming need for God’s grace” in order to obey the book’s precepts.
Paul said, in Galatians 3:24, the law was meant to be a guardian, watching over us until the Messiah came. (Some scholars say the word is “school master” or “tutor,” but too many envision a tutor-taskmaster with a big stick, trying to keep someone in line! The clearer translation of the word paidagógos is guardian or trainer.) In the ancient world, a legally-appointed paidagógos took care of a wealthy family’s children (until the children matured), guiding them toward maturity and helping them make wise moral choices.
Paul was saying the law was given to protect us until the Messiah would come to justify us by faith. Another function of the law was to show sinners their dreadful condition without the Savior. No one can keep the law well enough to be right with God (Galatians 3:11; Romans 3:10-12).
But it’s important to remember: The law was meant to be a servant, not a cruel taskmaster.
So the scriptures teach us, the law was put in charge of us to lead us to Christ. The Holy Spirit used the law to convict sinners and illustrate the need for Redeemer and the mercy of God. But after faith in Jesus comes – when we receive Him as our Savior and Lord – we are no longer in need of this special “guardian” (Galatians 3:25-26).
Harrell wrote: “… The Levitical month ended up not being about our ability to obey enough, but about our ability to trust God enough to live the life He’s determined to be the best life to live.”
How do we live a life “set apart” to God so it shows up every day? What in our lives points people to the Lord?
It is Christ in His resurrection power living in us, not the power of the law, that makes the difference (Galatians 2:19-20).
The conclusion of Harold’s book?
“By His grace we are saved. By His grace we obey. It’s the only way to be perfect.”
Being perfect is all about God’s grace. It’s about his gracious work in us …
- giving us a Savior,
- changing our hearts,
- encouraging us to live righteous lives, and ultimately,
- making us like His Son in Heaven.
Are you resting in the wonderful grace of God today? It’s the only way to become “perfect.”