What does God mean by being perfect as He is perfect? (Matthew 5: 48)
Jesus gave us two clear illustrations of what it means to be perfect like God.
2. YOU ARE PERFECT WHEN YOU ARE CONFORMED TO THE IMAGE OF CHRIST.
In Luke 6: 40, He said to His disciples: “A disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.” (Luke 6:40 KJV)
Based on this definition, you will be perfect when you are like Jesus when He was here on the earth. Confirming this, Ephesians 4:13 says: “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:13 KJV)
This means that you must become another Christ in whom the fullness of the Godhead (God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) dwells bodily. (Colossians 2:9-10) This is when you are, “complete in Him.” This image of Christ is what you need to fulfill God’s purpose and your destiny:
28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” (Romans 8:28-30)
This image refers to spiritual qualities. This is because God is a Spirit; and the Father of spirits. (John 4:24; Hebrews 12:9) As His child, you are a spirit who lives in a physical body. (John 3:6) The well-being of your body is rooted in the well-being of your spirit. (3John 2) The foundational spiritual quality that makes God perfect is His purity. It is what makes Him constant, not changing like shifting shadows. (James 1:17) It is what makes Him the same 2,000 years ago, yesterday, today, tomorrow, and forever. (Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8) All His other qualities which include among others, His holiness, faith, power, wisdom, love, and strength are rooted in His purity.
You will be perfect like Jesus when you are pure as He is pure: “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” (1John 3:3)
This brings us to Jesus’ second illustration with which He defined perfection.
2.YOU ARE PERFECT LIKE GOD, WHEN YOUR HEART IS PURE BECAUSE IT IS FREE FROM IMPURITIES OF IDOLS.
A rich young man came to Jesus with a spiritual problem: there is life in the commandments of God for everyone who obeys them. (Romans 7:10; Galatians 3:12; Leviticus 18:5) But this young man had an excellent track record of obedience to all the commandments of God, yet the life in them eluded him. (Matthew 19:16-20) Jesus, the Great Physician diagnosed his problem to be imperfection; and His prescription to cure it was for him to clear the idol of material possessions out of his heart for him to become perfect: “… if thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.”
Everyone that clings to idols shall be overwhelmed with sorrows. (Psalm 16:4a) Idols in the heart is at the root of unbelief, disobedience and sin that pollute it. To purify the heart for you to become pure and perfect like Jesus, they must be evacuated from the heart.
YOU ARE PERFECT LIKE GOD WHEN YOUR HEART IS PURE BECAUSE IT IS FREE FROM IMPURITIES OF IDOLS:
“Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false.” (Psalm 24: 3-4 NIV)
The pure heart that makes you perfect or holy is free from idols that are behind uncleanness and deceit. For you to be conformed to the image of Christ by being perfect as He is perfect, you must purify yourself of all impurities of idols to become pure as He is pure:
“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.” (1John 3:2-3 NIV)
Everyone that hopes or aspires to be transfigured at Rapture must purify himself to become pure and perfect as Christ was pure and perfect when He was here on the earth.
There is no double standard in the Kingdom of God, whether in heaven or here right now in the earth. As the will of God is done in heaven, so is it expected to be done here on the earth. (Matthew 6:10) Jesus became pure and perfect here on the earth. It was the same purity and perfection that He carried to heaven when He ascended to heaven. It shall be the same also with us. We will become pure and perfect like Him here on the earth; then we will ascend with Him to heaven at Rapture with our purity and perfection. (Hebrews 2:10, 5:8-9; 1John 4:17) This is why, as He is right now in heaven, is how we must also be right now on the earth – pure, perfect and holy. This is what gives us confidence of reigning with Him in His Kingdom rather than being condemned to eternal damnation:
“Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as he is, so are we in this world.” (1John 4:17 NKJV)