The teaching of Jesus in the sermon on the mount is beyond challenging. He is literally turning an upside-down world right-side-up. After the “Beatitudes”, the series of sayings that begin with “Blessed are…”, Jesus tackles our concept of our own goodness, our own sin, and our adequacy to meet God’s standards. Jesus raises the bar so high that it becomes obvious we can never earn our way to heaven. Of course, because of Jesus, we don’t have to. Amazing grace!
One statement Jesus makes that is really potent is Matthew 5:48 –
You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Think on this with me. You and I are made in God’s image. God is “perfect” – meaning complete and lacking nothing. But, because of the Fall, I am not perfect, so I know I could not “be perfect” as Jesus says. Except, when we are in Christ, we are being transformed into His likeness (2 Corinthians 3:18). Before Christ came into my life, I was imperfect and condemned for it. But now I am in Christ. I may not be perfect, but in Jesus, I am headed there! The impossible command (“be perfect”) has become not only possible, but certain. Wow!
Text: Matthew 5-7; Psalm 61