Daily Success
Institute in Basic Life Principles

Command 11 : Be Perfect | Day 71

Be Perfect!

The command to be perfect sounds impossible! When we do something wrong, we often say, "Well, no one is perfect!" We even have Scripture to back up our conclusion: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (I John 1:8). So, what does Jesus mean when He commands us:

Command Eleven: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).

No doubt, our difficulty with this command is because of our understanding of the word perfect. The English word means "to be without any flaws or errors." For example, we say that a person earns a "perfect" score when he answers every question correctly.

The Greek word for perfect, which Jesus used in this command, has a different meaning. It is the word teleios. It means "complete" or "finished." It comes from the word telos, which includes the meanings of reaching the goal, fulfilling one purpose, and becoming a full-grown adult rather than remaining a spiritually immature infant or child.

Paul uses this same word when he explains to believers that God has set various leaders in the church “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect [teleios] man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12-13).

Growing in maturity happens when we are conformed to the "express image" of Christ through His commands.

The term "express image" is a translation of the Greek word charakter. (See Hebrews 1:3.) Jesus reveals His character and true nature to us through His commands. Therefore, He promises, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him [make myself known to him]” (John 14:21).

Every command of Christ has infinite wisdom and great power. When I began memorizing many of them from the Sermon on the Mount and applying them to my life, marvelous things began to happen. My school grades dramatically improved. God provided money in exact amounts in answer to prayer. I experienced a clear conscience and was able to forgive offenders.

As I shared these and other rewards with young people who were a part of Chicago street gangs and church youth groups, I began to see lasting results in their lives.

What commitments have you made to the Lord? Have you been able to keep these commitments? If not, you will be encouraged by what you read in tomorrow's e-mail.

“... Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:46-48).

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Contributing writer: Bill Gothard