You Shall Be Perfect (Christian Perfection)

You Shall Be Perfect
Robert Wurtz II

But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:44–48 NKJV)

Our passage is a powerful revelation that the basis upon which God expresses love for all people is His own nature–not the behavior of the recipient. Verse 44 clearly shows that God loves (expressively) people who curse Him, hate Him, and spitefully use Him. The Greek word translated “spitefully use” can be translated revile, or falsely accuse. These are the type of things that God tolerates and yet continues to express love by providing the necessary elements for human life. On this basic level of expressing love God does not discriminate between people who are friendly with Him and others who hate Him. He provides sun and rain on the just and the unjust. This “perfect love” is an active and verifiable concern for all people everywhere, regardless of their relationship to Him.

Jesus then adds, And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? The word for greet literally signifies “to draw to oneself;” hence, “to greet, salute, welcome,” as the ordinary meaning.(Vines) It could be translated embrace. In street language we would say that God is not snooty. He doesn’t look down a long nose with contempt for people that are beneath Him. He is compassionate and desires to reconcile with all people. 

Born of God

Jesus stated plainly, Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. This is a simple statement of fact. It is not necessarily a command. At the time it was a future reality. When the cross event was complete and the New Covenant instituted, people who believe, repent, and receive the Holy Spirit shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. If a person does not come into this “perfect love” then they are not born of God. This is the plain teaching of John in his first epistle. It sounds scathing to our sensitive ears, but he wrote plainly:

“If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” (1 John 4:20 KJV)

On the contrary, if we are born of God we have the nature of God. We will imitate God and demonstrate that we are His children (v. 45) by our actions. We will display a family likeness to God by our behavior. This is more than dead religion, it is a transformation of the person from a child of the Devil to a child of God. In the beginning God said, “let us make man in our image and likeness.” This purpose has not changed; it is God’s design: to bring many sons unto glory and to perfect them in such a way that Jesus would not be ashamed to call them brethren. (Hebrews 2:10-11) Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. “The Greek work teleios (“perfect”) means “having attained the end/purpose.” Since human beings were made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26), they are “perfect” when they demonstrate in their lives those characteristics that reflect the nature of God.” (Robert H. Mounce, NIBC on Matthew 5:44-48) This is not done by trial and error; but by new birth.

Excuses and Imperfection

Our passage is one of a long list that labels standard fallen behaviors for what they are—characteristics of the wrong father. Jesus called the religious leaders “hypocrites” because he wanted them to know what they were. We have to come to reality and face it for what it is. He told the people that they were of their father the devil and the desires of their father they do. (John 8:44) This is the natural progression of life; things behave and exhibit characteristics after their own kind. 

Sometimes people will excuse their rude, unloving, uncompassionate behavior on their ethnicity (I’m Irish, I’m  German, Native American Indian, et al.), but this does not fly with God. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? Jesus used tax-collectors as a reference because they were in reputation for being the lowest of the low—traitors of the Jewish People. They took hard-earned money from the Jews, kept some back, and gave the rest to the Romans. (Luke 3:12-13) Many Jews (especially the Zealots) would rather kill one as look at them. Nevertheless, even a tax-collector knows how to love people they want to love; but what good is that? If that’s all we are doing we can rest assured that from God’s perspective we are no better than the “lowest of the low” in our culture and society. 

The solution is for the “Irish, German, Native American Indian, and every other ethnicity and cultural heritage on earth” to be born from above. In other words, no matter where on earth we are from we are born “of our father the Devil” and doing his hateful and uncompassionate deeds. That will not change in one trillion years until a person is born again of the Holy Spirit. God’s will is that we all may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. This is the prime litmus test. Is a person born again? How do they love? Like a tax-collector or like Jesus? If we are the real deal, Jesus words mark the answer: you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. It will be our nature. 

Liars Are Not Lovers

Liars are Not Lovers
Robert Wurtz II

For many bare false witness against him, but their witness agreed not together. (Mark 14:56)

Our passage is insightful, as it gives us revelation into the motivation behind the actions of those that would lie on Jesus. Simply put, they did not love Him. We know this from an examination of Romans 13:9, 10 that tells us, For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law. When a person bears false witness against their neighbor it is sure evidence that they are not walking in love. This is what they did to Jesus. Because they found no fault in Him they had to resort to fabricating stories. The problem was, but their witness agreed not together.

The Instruction of Silence

You would think that Jesus would call them all liars and breathe out threatenings against them for their flagrant breach of the 9th commandment. He did not. What did He do? But He kept silent and answered nothing (Mark 14:61). It was of no use for Jesus to plead for them for truth, because they were not interested in truth. This is an important consideration. Their lies were merely a means to an end. They wanted Him destroyed, but they had no truth volatile enough to move the crowd. To shoot down the lies would have only angered the leaders more by obstructing their deadly ambition. Jesus just sat back and watched silently. Before it was over they had thoroughly exposed themselves as children of the Devil (John 8:44).

Lying and Humbug 

The act of ‘bearing false witness’ is the Greek verb ψευδομαρτυρήσεις pseudomartyreō and it means to utter falsehoods when giving testimony. This is our same word from Romans 13:9 that answers to the 9th commandment. The reason why the false witnesses could not succeed in destroying Jesus is because there were rules as to how testimony was to be received in the Old Testament. We read in Deuteronomy 19:15; One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established. Their testimonies did not agree, a clear evidence that they were lying- even if a total stranger was listening in. Another word I’m interested in more common to modern times is the word humbug. Sometimes this word is employed to make a distinction between all-out lying and simply speaking deceptively. In both cases of lying and humbug the state of mind of the person speaking is front and center. If a person utters words that are either lies or misrepresentations with an intent to deceive they are committing sin. Again, the design is to make an impression upon the hearers so that they believe what is said and react accordingly. This is what Satan did in the Garden of Eden. He moved people with lies and half-truths. He, not being interested in truth, cares only about achieving his aim. He will say what ever works to gain the result. 

Moving a Crowd

Notice how that while lying the liars appealed to hot-button issues the people cared about, like the Temple. We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands. (Mark 14:58) The false-witnesses knew that the people cared about the building. They used that as a means of inciting anger against Jesus. This is the worst kind of malice. I find it worth considering just how deeply painful being lied against in this way would be. Long before the whip tore through His flesh and the nails tore through His hands, lies tore through His soul. Is there any wonder it was listed among idolatry, adultery, theft and murder in the 10 Commandments? What a shameful thing to do to a person. 

Christian Liars?

Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, (Colossians 3:9 NKJV)

Ancient Adam, the one that took on the nature of the father of lies (Satan), is our Old Man. Those that are in Adam, our old man, lie to one another. Paul warns the Colossians, Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds. It would seem like common sense that Christians should not lie to each other, but it appears we sometimes need reminded. Returning to an earlier point it is evidence that you do not love the person. In a phrase, liars are not lovers. Jesus sought to do what was right and they lied on Him. What did He say? “God will bless you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are following me.” (Matthew 5:11 paraphrased) That is a tremendous promise! No need to seek revenge. As the Rev. D.L. Burch has said many times, “We can live so far above reproach that when folks hear lies they wont believe them anyhow.” This is good wisdom. What else should we do? But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you (Matthew 5:44) 

The Consequences?

In modern time it’s as if people don’t even bat-an-eye to lie about something or someone. With the election drawing near in the USA we are bound to be inundated with malicious lies. Liars figure, the best defense is a good offense. The problem is a day of reckoning is coming. Revelation 21:8 tells us that all liars will have their part in the lake of fire that burns with brimstone. All Liars (pseudes). Seudos is a noun found in nine contexts, meaning “lie” or “lying.” Lying is a natural expression of Satan’s character (John 8:44), the embodiment of the evil one in 2 Thess. 2:911.Rom. 1:25 and refers to the fundamental attitude underlying the sin of idolatry — exchanging the truth of God for a lie. Rev. 21:2722:15 refer to those who utter lies as having no part whatever with the people living in the heavenly city. (Renn-Bible Words Steven D. Renn)  

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