Be Ye Perfect…
Many people are bothered by these words. As C.S. Lewis says, many believe God expects us to be perfect, if not He will not help us.
A rather hopeless position.
Perhaps, as Lewis muses, He meant, “The only help I will give is help to become perfect. You may want less than that, but I will give you nothing less.”
Help to become perfect.
Pig Woman says
Certainly you don't want to disregard context. However, if you go to one of the free Biblical search sites and type in "perfect", there is actually a whole lot of interesting perfect talk going on in the Bible. The Old Testament actually talks quite a bit about having a "perfect heart". And having a perfect heart was apparently attainable by a number of persons. In fact, Asa had a perfect heart all his days. 2 Ch 16:19 tells us that the eyes of the Lord actually run to and fro throughout the whole earth to show himself strong on behalf of them whose heart is perfect towards him. How cool is that? When you put it that way, it seems a perfect heart is ….well…something you might want to shoot for. And then there is Job. He was described as perfect and upright three times. Three times. And what about Abram? Abram was ordered by God to walk before him and "be thou perfect." Gen 17:1 (Do you think this was an order for Abram to get his act together, or more in the nature of say a "Be healed" would be?) Deut 18:13 tells us "Thou shalt be perfect with the Lord thy God." I am not sure what to make of that, but the perfect talk goes on. Now not all of these "perfects" are from the same Hebrew word so the perfect referring to perfect hearts has a little different meaning than Job's perfection which is slightly different from Abram's command to be perfect. But all in all, the meanings still come down to….. well, pretty much perfect, just in a little different sense from each other. Now, interesting enough, the same Hebrew word used in Abram's command to be perfect is also used to describe attributes of God–such as God's way being perfect and His law being perfect. Hmmmm. What can we glean from that?
I haven't even gotten to the New Testament perfects, but it is a real interesting study. And think about it. If we are perfect in Christ, (and I just looked that up and that perfect comes from a Greek word that's used to describe not only full grown, finished, and wanting nothing necessary to completeness, but also consummate human integrity and virtue.)what abilities does that give us? We have been given the HS to guide us. So Dana, what if you get really, really, REALLY good at discerning and listening to and obeying the HS. Can you reach the point where you can make the right moral and ethical decision every time? To where you have consummate integrity and virtue? I mean Jesus was a man. He listened to God and was able to do it. I am starting to think that, at least in theory, if you are born in Christ, it is out there. I mean, what would happen if we renewed our minds to "we CAN be perfect in Christ" instead of "Oh well, no one is perfect"? I don't know. I am thinking we could get a whole lot closer to those perfect hearts.
In context, the verse is talking about loving your enemies; and to be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect. Seems like might not want to extrapolate perfect (in that context) to apply to every area of life.
Pig Woman says
Just think how ingrained the concept that "no one is perfect" is. Seems God is telling us something different. Hmmmmm. Looks to me like we need to raise the bar in our thinking.
Craig and Bethany says
And what a mystery that perfect is so out of place in our world. I think we are far more likely to call it strange than perfect. And strange is always an acquired taste.