Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

Be Perfect

Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect . . . (1 Corinthians 2:6).
Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you (2 Corinthians 13:11).
That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works (2Timothy 3:17).

The Bible admonishes us to be perfect and seems to assume that a well-grounded Christian is perfect.  What was God thinking?  It is impossible for us to live without ever making an unkind remark when we are frustrated and impatient or without making even worse mistakes.

A little searching reveals that the original meaning of perfect, when speaking of things, is complete, or finished.  When speaking of people it means mature, adult, fully-grown.  But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil (Hebrews 5:14).  In the margin of the Cambridge Reference Bible “perfect” is given as an alternate reading for “of full age.”

I once spent a morning as an observer in a Montreal criminal court.  The first case involved a young couple, dressed hippy-style, who were charged with smashing a store window and stealing some items.  Their lawyer asked for a one week delay to give his clients time to make restitution, and then they would return and plead guilty.  I wish I could have observed what transpired the following week, but I suspect that if they followed through on those commitments they probably got off with a suspended sentence and a recommendation to “Go and sin no more”.

Next up was a young man charged with break and enter.  His lawyer portrayed his client as an innocent man who was led into this compromising situation by a friend.  The judge didn’t buy it.  The young man went to jail.

A perfect man is one who accepts responsibility for his own actions.  He makes mistakes, but does not try to blame them on others, on circumstances, on his upbringing, his temperament or psychological state of mind, or on any other excuse that may present itself as an escape route.

When we stand before the judge of all mankind, excuses and explanations will be of no value.  The perfect man is one who realizes this today and acts accordingly.

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