Years ago as a new believer, I slapped a popular bumper sticker on my Volkswagen: “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven.” Lots of comfort in those words for a mess like me.
But then I discovered this verse in the Bible: “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). Oh, no.
Doomed. I was doomed. How could an always-trying, never-succeeding perfectionist ever hope to be as perfect as God? I was defeated almost before I’d begun.
Then I learned the good news: the New Testament Greek word for perfect is teleios, which simply means “complete.” Finished. Done. Perfect.
When Jesus said on the cross, “It is finished” (John 19:30), He was using the same word. The payment for our sins was complete. His redemptive work on the cross was finished. His earthly assignment was done. His sacrifice was perfect—the very thing His Heavenly Father required and humankind desperately needed.
Here’s more good news: God’s perfection is enough. Because really, how could anything ever top perfect?
Moses told God’s people, “He is the Rock, his works are perfect” (Deuteronomy 32:4). We find a different word here in Old Testament Hebrew—tamim—yet with a very similar meaning: “complete, without defect or blemish, whole.”
That’s why this is a God we can trust, a God we can worship, serve, honor, and obey, since “his acts are perfection!” (CEB). He always gets it right. His way is “perfect” and His Word is “flawless” (Psalm 18:30).
In case you’re wondering, I did my best to scrape the bumper sticker off my VW before I sold it. Are we forgiven? You bet. Are we perfect? Yes (gulp), because His works are perfect. Is this a miracle? Absolutely.
Complete. Finished. Done. Perfect. Wow.
Lord Jesus, You alone are worthy of our praise. When we do something right, that’s Your power working through us. When we do something wrong, that’s Your mercy working in us. Because our first day and our last are ordained by You, Lord, You see us as perfectly complete, when all we can see is our unfinished mess. Thank you for showing us what perfection looks like: You, always You, Lord.
You’ll find a link below to Share Your Thoughts about His perfection. Your response will be a blessing to me and to all who take a moment to read it. Have a wonderful week!
Your grateful sister, Liz