Perfectionism is not what Jesus was suggesting.
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.Matthew 5:48
The context He speaks in – is righteousness under the Law. The Law of Moses. The instruction is obedience to an impossible standard. It’s a challenge. ” Can you do this?” So, if you want to obsess over works and acts of righteousness, be perfect. Otherwise you’ll never be acquainted with God.
On the other hand, Jesus is exposing why He came. The Sermon on the mount is full of “You have heard it said, but I tell you(s)…”
Jesus came first “to fulfill the Law”, and then through the most absurdly generous act of mercy ever possible – pay the price for our clemency. He paid the debt I owe under the Law, so that I don’t have to.
Then, having fulfilled the Law, Jesus suspends the Law. The new covenant of Grace is established for those who will believe. The words of Jesus are:
“This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you”; “drink ye all of it”; “this do ye…in remembrance of me”; “and they all drank of it”Luke 22:20, Matt. 26:27, 1 Cor. 11:26, Mark 14:23
Grace means receiving something I could never obtain on my own.
I receive the body and blood of Christ as the atonement for my life lived wrongly. And I REMEMBER Him for doing this final, completing, perfect work. I submit to Him washing my feet, everyday. Because as I walk through life, I am defiled. I can’t wash myself. Only he can. Do I understand this about him. NOT in the least.
Forgiveness rests upon God’s Grace. His forgiveness depends on His perfect, unconditional love – in sending His Son to pay that price for my life. I’m redeemed, not because of any value I have. I’m saved from death in sin by the incomprehensible love of God.
“In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. “Acts 10:34
Mercy on the other hand, is not receiving what I so justly deserve. And that would be to experience eternal separation from God.
“If Life was fair, I’d be dead.”CRI Meeting members at ODOC SCCI.
An obsessive pursuit of unobtainable perfection. Sounds like a potential definition of “crazy.”
Conversely, surrender to the incomprehensible sufficiency of Christ seems the sanest notion possible.
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.2 Corinthians 12:9
Would I rather have the power of God resting over me in life or live life by the willpower resources I operate on my own? If I go it on my own, under the Law the standard I have to surmount is to “exceed the Righteousness of the Pharisees.” Only one does that. Jesus.
- Perfectionism: An obsession with the unobtainable
- Sufficiency: Surrender to the incomprehensible.