It is absurdly obvious that while God is infinite, all knowing and all loving that humans are limited and flawed creatures. And yet Jesus says “you must be perfect as your heavenly father is perfect” and John says (I John 2:5) “whoever keeps God’s commandments, in him the love of God is perfected”. What then is this Christian perfection?
In many places in the bible and in many ways God teaches us that it is possible to be perfect in His eyes. The first way is to become the righteousness of God in Christ. That is, to receive the imputed righteousness earned by Jesus through His death. Although we all start as perfect babies, we don’t all end up that way.
Consider comments like these: “if we walk in the light as He is in the light then we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus Christ cleans us from all sin” (I John 1:7). Well, what if we don’t walk in the light, are we clean? Not at all. If we look at the context we read (I John 1:6) “if we say we have fellowship with Him and walk in darkness we are liars and are not in the truth”. In the next chapter John goes on to say (2:3-5) “Hereby we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He that says, ‘I know Him’, and doesn’t keep His commandments is a liar and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps his commandments, in him the love of God is perfected”. It’s foolish to build your house on the sand.
If a human father is dealing with his 3 year old daughter does he think she is perfect? Well, certainly not in the sense that she has no faults or needs no training; but yes, if she continues to live in his house and submit to loving discipline she is perfect in his eyes. Spiritual children in God’s house are perfect as long as they are abiding with the Father. But if they won’t obey they will have to leave home.
Therefore some conditions must be met. We live in a kingdom where God says “If……then”. What are these conditions? They are things like confession of sin. Turning from sin. Admitting weakness and getting help in time of need. Abiding with Jesus. Walking in the Spirit. Setting affections on things above. Loving not the world. Making progress by continuing to respond to conviction, crucifying the flesh, resisting the devil. We can sum it up as Jesus did: “Love God with your whole heart and mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself”. “Do these things and you will be perfect”.
Really it comes down to this simple idea: become a child of God and remain walking with Him in full devotion. Is that really asking so much?