Most of Jesus’ teachings crush before they encourage, and lead to despair before leading to delight. “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt. 5:48). Notice that Jesus doesn’t say, “Try to be perfect like God.” Being perfect is a must in God’s kingdom not an option. There is a standard that we must achieve, and that standard is God’s standard: pure and utter holiness. For everyone out there that says, “We’re all human!” You are correct, but that still doesn’t exempt us from the holiness we are called to. God is God; He makes the rules.
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Jesus doesn’t give teachings like these for us to try harder but rather to crush us by their impossible demands (You might re-read that sentence again). The law was designed to show us the weight of our sin, the natural state of our wicked hearts, and to show us our utter need of grace. Only in this place of humility will we be able to rejoice in Christ for His costly grace. “For our sake [God] made [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in [Jesus] we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
When you feel burdened and crushed by God’s Word, remember 2 Corinthians 5:21. Jesus was crushed so that we no longer have to be. So how are you and I going to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect? Only through the finished work of Jesus the Christ.
Rest and Rejoice!