You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
What does this mean? Are we able to reach perfection in this life? Or did Jesus give a command He knew we couldn’t fulfill? Was it simply to show us our need for a Savior?
Well, let’s take a look. In this section of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is speaking of loving one’s enemies. The common mindset of the crowd was, “love your neighbor, and hate your enemy“. But Jesus was calling them to love their enemies and pray for those who persecute them. Then He speaks of how God shows a level of love to everyone, giving sun and rain to all. Then, He shows that if they only love those who love them, they’re only as good as tax collectors. And if they only greet their brothers, they’re only as good as the Gentiles. It’s at this point that Jesus gives the command to be perfect as their Father is perfect.
What the Savior is saying here is that our standard of morality, specifically love in this case, is to be no less than what God has established. We’re not allowed to set our own standards. Our standard is God. Our standard is Christ. Our love should be perfect.
When you look at how you love others, Sheep, specifically those who don’t love you or even persecute you, are you using the world’s standard, or Christ’s? Are you writing people off because they have written you off, or would you say with the Savior, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing”?
God’s love is our standard for our love. We love because He first loved us. At the same time, this does indeed show our need for a Savior. There is no one who has perfectly lived up to the minimum standard of perfection. No one, that is, except Christ. And now, through trust in Him, we are made perfect before the eyes of God and spared the wrath that we deserve. And in this new life, we can now obey this law of having a love that is according to God’s perfection. So, be perfect as our Father and our Savior are perfect.