One of people’s favorite ways of shucking off responsibility for their weaknesses and misdeeds goes like this: “Hey, I’m not perfect, y’know.” That excuse is intended to allow just about anybody to skate away from actually having to repent. Only an uptight and unrealistic perfectionist would actually expect other people to be perfect.
Well, Jesus does. Part one of the Sermon on the Mount concludes, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). That was always one of God’s main messages to the human race: “Keep my decrees and laws, for the person who obeys them will live by them. I am the Lord” (Leviticus 18:5). God’s commandments are made of iron, not pasta. They are laws, not suggestions or helpful tips.
The very unattainable perfection they demand is the main reason we need a Savior. Our clouded minds and broken willpower guarantee that we fall short of the glory of God. Jesus achieved perfection in our place, and our faith in him credits his perfection to our account. What a miracle of grace!
God’s commandments, however, still remain. God’s believing children are forgiven of the burden of old guilt, indwelt by the powerful Spirit of the Lord, and illuminated by the Word of God. With joy we now study God’s Word and will and seek to bend our will and minds toward pleasing God all the way all the time.
We want to be the complete package. Nothing less will do for the King of kings.