"Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." Matt. 5: 48.
Actually, in God's eyes, we as believers are already perfect. This is so because of what Jesus has accomplished. By virtue of receiving both His imputed and imparted righteousness, we are complete.
This is further reinforced by Jesus, in all His fullness, dwelling within us as our Sanctification. Objectively, this means that at every stage of growth, we are declared as perfect (Hebrews 10: 14).
So when Jesus tells us to be perfect as the Father is perfect, He is wanting us to subjectively experience growth into that which is already so. To do that requires understanding of God's perfection.
God's perfection is the result of His character; the result of who He is. He's the personification of love. Love is the standard. It is the gift that's to be desired above all other gifts (1 Cor. 13: 13).
So how do we become perfect like our Father? We become like Him by yielding to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Can we experientially be one-hundred percent like Him instantly? No. Not now. That surely will happen, though, at our glorification; the moment that our corruptible bodies become eternally incorruptible.
In the meantime, we become like Him as situations present themselves to us. For example, in the scripture immediately preceding Jesus bidding us to be perfect (Matt 5: 43-47), we learn that God causes the sun and rain to fall on both the evil and the righteous.
We see that God's love reaches out to friend and foe. In situations where there are those who come against us, let us too reach out and love them. If It can't be done physically, it can certainly be done by praying for them. In this we become like Him.
In other words, we become perfect as He is perfect by imitating Him (Eph. 5: 1), situation by situation. The imitation is initiated by seeing and hearing from God. This is where the Holy Spirit comes in. He will give us insight into God's mind and actions. This is what He did in Matt. 5: 43-47, which led to the "be perfect" command in verse 48.
No matter the situation, we can always find out how to handle it. Either there will be explicit scripture or a scripture of principle that directly pertains to the situation. From that, we gain God's thinking.
After receiving insight from the Holy Spirit, it is then up to us to imitate the revelation by surrendering to it. We are able to do this because with the insight comes God's grace that enables us to let the insight manifest itself. In this way, we imitate; not by our own strength, but by God's power.
This is how Jesus manifested perfection. He imitated. He did what He saw and heard from the Father (John 5: 19). Jesus encourages us to do the same. He speaks through the apostle Paul
"Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma." Eph. 5: 1, 2.
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