Jesus spoke these words to His disciples during His Sermon on the Mount. Have you ever tried to be perfect? How would you describe perfection anyway? Even if you could be perfect, there would be many people that would disagree. Perfection is not the same for everyone, so it becomes obvious that the Lord determines what perfection is. In the following verses, Jesus describes His perfection to us.
Matthew 5:43-44 You have heard that it has been said, Thou shalt love thy
neighbor, and hate thine enemy.
44 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…
You and I can’t do this. Jesus Christ could and did! For us to do the same thing, we must become as He is. We must receive His divine nature. And that, dear Christians, is what it means to be born again. We are not born again because we have been forgiven for our sins. That is just the first step toward a new birth in God. It is after you become a Christian that you have the right to progress toward being born of Him. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power (Greek: exousia = the right) to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on (Greek: eis = into) His name. John 1:12. To believe into His name means to believe into His nature. So, you see, being born again with His nature is a step-by-step process; it is not done in a skinny minute.
In our natural state, it is impossible to love our enemies. That ability is not within man, so what must we do? We must have our own cross experience. Our flesh nature must die so His divine nature can take its place.
Matthew 5:45 That you may be the children (Greek: huios = sons) of your Father which is in heaven: for He makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
That you may become sons of your Father is the correct translation from the Greek. The Greek language has different words for the various stages of growth: a baby, a young child, an adolescent or a full-grown son. For example, Jesus was thirty years old when God’s voice came from heaven saying, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (Matthew 3:17). A son is one who has become as his father. This is what the writer of Hebrews meant when he spoke of those who are of “full age.” So, one who has come to full age (that is, sonship) will be as his Father. He will love his enemies also. His sun will rise on the evil and on the good and he will send rain on the just and the unjust. In other words, he will love all men equally.
Matthew 5:46-47 For if you love them which love you, what reward have you? Do
not even the publicans the same?
47 And if you salute your brethren only, what do you more than others? Do not even the publicans so?
The publicans represent normalcy among mankind. There is no reward for being a normal human being. We must have a change of nature! Some Christians say that we only receive His nature after we get to heaven. If that was the case, how could we love our enemies, how could we bless them, and do good to those who hate us? To become as He is, is for now! That kind of change is not easy, but it is very necessary. It is a journey, a very difficult journey. It is difficult because it requires the putting off of our nature and the putting on of His nature (Ephesians 4:22-24). His life only comes in as our self-life goes out. And, as I have said, it is a step-by-step process. Are you ready for this journey?
Matthew 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
The Greek word for “perfect” is teleios, and it means to be complete. As mentioned earlier, our change of nature is like a journey, a step-by-step journey into His likeness. In Romans 1:17 Paul explained it as “from faith to faith.” Then in II Corinthians 3:18 he described it as a journey “from glory to glory.” The first chapter of Genesis is a great example of this. This chapter is usually thought of as the creation of the universe, but mystically it speaks of the creation of the many-membered Body of Christ coming into its perfection. Each day represents a step toward its completion. The first day, then, is typical of the first phase of relationship with the Lord. It has not reached its final completion, but for the first day it is right where it should be. Now, if it makes no more advancement toward its final place in the Lord’s Body, it is in trouble. Do you understand? To advance to the next day’s level, there must be an emptying out of some of your flesh nature and a receiving of some of the Lord’s nature. When you have appropriated what is available in your present-day period, then you can advance to the next day’s relationship. So, you move into the second day’s relationship and the process of emptying out some of self and the appropriating of new things of the Lord that are now available begins. This process continues each day until the sixth day. And on the sixth day it says, So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them. Genesis 1:27. Then on the seventh day God rested. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. Genesis 2:2.
At each day the Body of Christ was complete and perfect for where it should be. Also, we must understand that we do not make ourselves perfect. That is the work of God! So, when He says, Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect, He is telling us what He will do. Our responsibility is to believe!
Copyright © 2017 by Henry DuBose