To be perfect is something Jesus expects His disciples to be: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). How can that be, you ask, when it is simply not possible even though you try as hard as you can. In fact if Jesus meant to be perfect like Himself; that is, having not sinned (II Corinthians 5:21) then He contradicts His own scriptures which state, “If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (I John 1:10). So, is the meaning of perfect as used by Christ to be sinless? Yes and no. Yes, in the sense that one can only be such by being “perfect in Christ” (Colossians 1:28); that is “perfect and complete in all the will of God” (Colossians 4:12) and no, for try as we might “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
A simple analysis of the word “perfect” comes up with the answer as to its meaning. According to Strong’s Greek Dictionary the word as used by Jesus is “tel’-i-os
From G5056; complete (in various applications of labor, growth, mental and moral character, etc.); neuter (as noun, with G3588) completeness: – of full age, man, perfect.” In other words the word means to complete a task; be mature; reach the end.
Jesus wants those who decide to follow Him to reach a point whereby they are not only in Christ but are striving to reach the goal of maturity. This was something the Hebrew converts were lacking in according to Hebrews 5:12-14 “when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 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.” He is saying they were still feeding like infant babes from the elementary “principles of the doctrine of Christ” instead of being mature and eating the protein of doctrinal “perfection” (Hebrews 6:1).
So this is Jesus plea in Matthew 5:48 that you be perfect so that you may know what is right and what is wrong when it comes to the will of God.
Are you perfect and complete in all the will of God? Are you in Christ having been baptised for the remission of sins? If not, then I strongly urge you to seek out a member of God’s church to find out exactly how to become perfect in His will before you die because “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27) and you sure don’t want to face this frightening prospect: “Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:30-31).