The relationship of a believer to the Lord Jesus and His Kingdom principles is special and unique because it is built upon authentic love, commitment and perfection. This is why God says:
Mt 5:48 “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
The word “perfect” here means … “perfect … of mind and character, one who has reached the proper height of virtue and integrity.” The picture is one of maturity … of adulthood in one’s relationships with others, loved ones and enemies! Remember, Gospel people need to display a higher righteousness … and adult … mature righteousness … and the only way we are able to do this is through growing in Jesus as we study the Bible with application. We pick up our Daily Note at verse 45b … but let’s read the passage
Mt 5:43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
1) Remember Kingdom and remember Gospel. We are in the Kingdom of God because of the Gospel of God. Others needs to hear the Gospel and enter the Kingdom. This means we need to live the Gospel and prove we are within the Kingdom.
2) Why does God cause the rain to fall and the sun to shine on all? He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
(1) It proves that God is! Contrary to the belief that some have, God is not distant, feeling-less and uninterested. He sees, hears and knows everything all the time. He is involved in His creation and He cares for His creation. He might look with special favor upon the saved but He equally cares for the unsaved. This is why He says … “love the enemy and pray for the persecutor.” He did that for you and me when we were rebels. He wants His feelings and emotions to be displayed within us His people. This is why His common grace in rain and sun shine benefits all the inhabitants of the planet … not just the saved!
(2) There are unsaved elect amongst the people of this planet. God cares so for His elect that the planet benefits through rain and sun shine as a benefit to those yet to be saved.
(3) Some of the unsaved elect’s parents that might not be elect and are amongst the lost number. The very fact that God requires His people love, care and provide for their parents demonstrates that God cares for our loved ones even if they are not elect. He sends rain and sunshine for their benefit as well.
(4) God demonstrates that although some might see Him as an angry, wrath-filled God … He is kind and generous through dispensing common grace displayed through rain and sun shine.
(5) The sun shine and rain demonstrates to people in general that although they don’t believe God for salvation, they will have no excuse on the Day of Judgment. No one will be able to point a finger at God and say He did not care because His common grace is evident for all to see and enjoy! Are you able to grasp what higher righteousness means? Hate turns into love and hurt turns into prayer because God shows that He grants common grace to all … to those who love Him and those who hate Him.
3) What is difference in loving friends and loving enemies? What is the difference in being kind and caring to fellow Jews? Jesus uses two examples …
(1) To love those who love you
Mt 5:46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?
This is so natural that in God’s economy it will not count towards Kingdom blessings. He goes further to say evil people are doing the very same … Are not even the tax collectors doing that?
(2) To greet brothers … that is to greet and be kind, neighborly and friendly to those within the Jewish Nation.
Mt 5:47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others?
In Gospel terms what does that mean … after all … Do not even pagans do that? One commentator wrote: “To return evil for evil is the devil’s way; to return good for good is man’s way; to return good for evil is God’s way.” Did God not do exactly this for us at Calvary? We were the ones who rejected Him and directed evil His way. We refused His love, insisted on doing evil and setting personal idols up to worship. Yet we read:
Rom 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
God requires that we, His people, treat lost souls, whoever they are, especially those who treat us badly, with true love. Why … because we were like those rebels and God displayed His love to us … with the purpose of leading us to the foot of the Cross in repentance and faith.
4) This brings us full circle to where we started above.
Mt 5:48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
(1) In Hebrew the word “perfect” means to be complete, wholehearted, sincere or true and is translated normally as “blameless”.
(2) In the Greek the word “perfect” carries the idea of being flawless. The concept here does not carry religious value as the Pharisees sought it. The idea being taught here by Jesus is knowing God and being right with God. Once you are right with God you automatically seek to dress yourself with the character and personality of Jesus. The more you conform to the likeness of Jesus the more “perfect” you are in you conduct and behavior towards others. You will start treating others … family, friend or foe with the love God bestows upon you. You will pray for them the way Jesus intercedes for you in heaven right now. You will seek to create a platform of love, respect and trust, enabling you to speak the Gospel message to them, showing them that God’s Gospel way is the only sensible option for life and eternity. This is not a religious practice. This is a reaction to the Gospel’s impact upon the heart and soul. Out of grateful thanksgiving, the saved soul seeks to emulate Jesus and obey Jesus because reality in life is heaven or hell. Being perfect is seeking every method of Gospelizing the lost with the intention of salvation.
Gracious Father, thank You for not discarding me … help me not to discard the enemy but through prayer seek their salvation for Jesus sake. Amen.