… you must be perfect … or … we need to grow-up ..

.. in the course of conversation on the internet, especially when talking to people who claim to follow the teachings of the Bible, often times someone says, “Only Jesus was perfect.”  this comment usually follows an excuse for some admittedly questionable behavior that the self-proclaiming Bible follower is trying desperately to justify.  it’s the magic wand of phrases that some people think gives them permission to engage in behaviors that they know are wrong, but that somehow, only Jesus has the power to overcome the desire to slander, lie, rape, kill, steal, blaspheme – ONLY Jesus, because He was “perfect.

1per•fect \ˈpər-fikt\ adjective
[Middle English parfit, from Old French, from Latin perfectus, from past participle of perficere to carry out, perfect, from per- thoroughly + facere to make, do — more at DO]
(14th century)
1 a : being entirely without fault or defect : FLAWLESS 〈a perfect diamond〉
b : satisfying all requirements : ACCURATE
c : corresponding to an ideal standard or abstract concept 〈a perfect gentleman〉
d : faithfully reproducing the original; specifically : LETTER-PERFECT
e : legally valid
2 : EXPERT, PROFICIENT 〈practice makes perfect〉
3 a : PURE, TOTAL
b : lacking in no essential detail : COMPLETE
c obsolete : SANE
d : ABSOLUTE, UNEQUIVOCAL 〈enjoys perfect happiness〉
e : of an extreme kind : UNMITIGATED 〈a perfect brat〉 〈an act of perfect foolishness〉
4 obsolete : MATURE
5 : of, relating to, or constituting a verb form or verbal that expresses an action or state completed at the time of speaking or at a time spoken of
6 obsolete
a : CERTAIN, SURE
b : CONTENTED, SATISFIED
7 of a musical interval : belonging to the consonances unison, fourth, fifth, and octave which retain their character when inverted and when raised or lowered by a half step become augmented or diminished
8 a : sexually mature and fully differentiated 〈a perfect insect〉
b : having both stamens and pistils in the same flower 〈a perfect flower〉
— per•fect•ness \-fik(t)-nəs\ noun
synonymy PERFECT, WHOLE, ENTIRE, INTACT mean not lacking or faulty in any particular. PERFECT implies the soundness and the excellence of every part, element, or quality of a thing frequently as an unattainable or theoretical state 〈a perfect set of teeth〉. WHOLE suggests a completeness or perfection that can be sought, gained, or regained 〈felt like a whole person again after vacation〉. ENTIRE implies perfection deriving from integrity, soundness, or completeness of a thing 〈the entire Beethoven corpus〉. INTACT implies retention of perfection of a thing in its natural or original state 〈the boat survived the storm intact〉.
(Inc Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, 1996).)

… but then a bigger problem presents itself.  it is recorded that Jesus, the ONLY One Who was or is “perfect”, said;

“You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
– Jesus called Christ
(Matthew 5:48, ESV)

… so Jesus, the ‘perfect’ Son of God, told a huge crowd of people at His world famous “Sermon on the Mount”©, tells everyone there and by inference, everyone today that we all “must be perfect.”

… a quick search in a concordance will show you that the first time the word “perfect” is used in the Bible, is in a description about Noah.

These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.” (Genesis 6:9, AV)

… and then there is the law that Jesus is quoting in the passage from Matthew 5;

Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God.” (Deuteronomy 18:13, AV)

… if the Bible clearly says, in both the Law of Moses/Torah and in the words of Jesus that the LORD thy God expects His followers to be ‘perfect’, then how can we justify sin by claiming that ONLY Jesus was perfect?

… or, does it mean something else entirely?

τέλειος

… τέλειος [teleios /tel·i·os/] is the Greek word that is translated as “perfect” in all of the verses quoted above. this word is used 19 times in the Septuagint, the Greek Old Testament, and another 19 times in the New Testament.  in the New Testament, the word τέλειος is translated as “mature” in 7 of the 19 instances, “perfect” 11 times, and “full” once.

And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:4, ESV)

… “And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be “τέλειος” …”

“But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” (Hebrews 5:14, ESV)

… “But solid food is for “τέλειος” …”

“Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”” (Matthew 19:21, ESV)

.. “Jesus said to him, “If you would be “τέλειος” …”

“You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48, ESV)

… “You therefore must be “τέλειος”, as your heavenly Father is “τέλειος” …”

τέλειος, α, ον (Hom. [e.g. Il. 24, 34 of unblemished sacrificial animals] +) gener. ‘attaining an end or purpose, complete’.
① pert. to meeting the highest standard
ⓐ of things, perfect
α. as acme of goodness, as adj. (ἀρετή Did., Gen. 40, 19.—Of aeons, Iren. 1, 1, 1 [Harv. I 8, 2]; Hippol., Ref. 6, 31, 4) ἔργον Js 1:4a (s. ἔργον lb); cp. ISm 11:2. δώρημα Js 1:17 (s. δώρημα). νόμος vs. 25 (opp. the Mosaic law). ἀγάπη 1J 4:18. ἀνάλυσις 1 Cl 44:5 (Just., D. 41, 1). γνῶσις 1:2; B 1:5. πρόγνωσις 1 Cl 44:2. μνεία 56:1. ἐλπίς ISm 10:2 (v.l. πίστις); χάρις 11:1. νηστεία Hs 5, 3, 6. ναός B 4:11 (ἐκκλησία Did., Gen. 69, 14). τελειοτέρα σκηνή (s. σκηνή 2) Hb 9:11.—Subst. τὸ τέλειον what is perfect Ro 12:2; perh. 1 Cor 13:10 (opp. ἐκ μέρους. S. EHoffmann, ConNeot 3, ’38, 28–31). ἐνάρετον καὶ τέλειον (someth.) virtuous and perfect IPhld 1:2. W. gen. τὸ τέλειον τῆς γνώσεως ἡμῶν the full measure of our knowledge B 13:7. Pl. (Philo) τέλεια what is perfect ISm 11:3b (Tat. 13, 2 τὰ τέλεια).
β. as acme of badness (ApcSed 14:7 ἀπόγνωστοι τὴν τελείαν ἀπόγνωσιν), adj. ἁμαρτίαι B 8:1; Hv 1, 2, 1. σκάνδαλον B 4:3.—Subst. τὸ τέλειον τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν the full measure of the sins 5:11.
ⓑ of persons who are fully up to standard in a certain respect and not satisfied with half-way measures perfect, complete, expert (TAM II/1, 147, 4f ἰατρὸς τέλειος; ZPE 3, ’68, 86: Didymus Fgm. 281, 7 τέλειος γεώμετρος; Wsd 9:6; 1 Ch 25:8) τέλειος ἀθλητής IPol 1:3. Esther is τελεία κατὰ πίστιν 1 Cl 55:6. Jesus became τέλειος ἄνθρωπος perfect human ISm 4:2.
② pert. to being mature, full-grown, mature, adult (Aeschyl., Pla., X.+; oft. pap; Philo; Jos., Ant. 19, 362).
ⓐ adj. ἀνὴρ τέλειος Eph 4:13 (opp. νήπιοι, as Polyb. 5, 29, 2; Philo, Leg. All. 1, 94, Sobr. 9 νήπιον παιδίον πρὸς ἄνδρα τέλειον=an immature child compared to a mature man, Somn. 2, 10). In dazzling wordplay: μὴ παιδία γίνεσθε ταῖς φρεσίν, ἀλλὰ τῇ κακίᾳ νηπιάζετε, ταῖς δὲ φρεσὶν τέλειοι γίνεσθε do not think like children, yet do be infants as respects evil, while at the same time grown-up in your thinking 1 Cor 14:20.
ⓑ subst. (Dio Chrys. 34 [51], 8 οἱ τ.; Diogenes, Ep. 31, 3 οἱ τ. … οἱ παῖδες; Ath., R. 17 p. 68, 31) τελείων ἐστὶν ἡ στερεὰ τροφή solid food is (only) for adults Hb 5:14 (opp. νήπιος). οἱ τέλειοι 1 Cor 2:6 is contrasted with νήπιοι 3:1 by WBauer, Mündige u. Unmündige bei dem Ap. Paulus, diss. Marburg 1902 (also Aufsätze u. Kleine Schriften, ed. GStrecker, ’67, 124–30 et al.; s. also GDelling, TW VIII 76–78.) But this may also belong in the next classification
③ pert. to being a cult initiate, initiated. As a t.t. of the mystery religions, τέλειος refers to one initiated into mystic rites (τελετή; s. τελειόω 3; cp. Herm. Wr. 4, 4; Philod., Περὶ θεῶν 1, 24, 12 [ed. HDiels, ABA 1915 p. 41; 93]; Iambl., Myst. 3, 7 p. 114 Parthey; Philo, Somn. 2, 234; Gnostics [WBousset, Kyrios Christos2 1921 p. 197, 1].—Rtzst., Mysterienrel.3 133f; 338f; JWeiss, exc. after 1 Cor 3:3, also p. xviiif, Das Urchristentum 1917, 492; HKennedy, St. Paul and the Mystery Religions 1913, 130ff; Clemen2 314; in general, CZijerveld, Τελετή, Bijdrage tot de kennis der religieuze terminologie in het Grieksch ’34). Phil 3:15 and Col 1:28 prob. belong here (s. MDibelius, Hdb. on both passages. οἱ ὡς ἐν χριστιανισμῷ τ. Orig., C. Cels. 3, 19, 13).—CGuignebert, Quelques remarques sur la Perfection (τελείωσις) et ses voies dans le mystère paulinien: RHPR 8, 1928, 412–29; UWilckens, Weisheit u. Torheit, ’59, 53–60 supports Reitzenstein against Bauer.
④ pert. to being fully developed in a moral sense
of humans perfect, fully developed (Hippol., Ref. 1, 19, 16) in a moral sense τέλειος ἀνήρ Js 3:2 (s. RHöistad, ConNeot 9, ’44, p. 22f). τὸν τέλειον ἄνθρωπον GMary 463, 26f (restored). Mostly without a noun εἰ θέλεις τέλειος εἶναι Mt 19:21 (EYarnold, TU 102, ’68, 269–73). Cp. IEph 15:2; D 1:4; 6:2. Pl. Mt 5:48a; ISm 11:3a. W. ὁλόκληροι Js 1:4b. W. πεπληροφορημένοι Col 4:12.
of God perfect (Pind., Aeschyl. et al.; Theocr., Diod S, Plut. et al.; Tat.4, 2, 12; 4, 15, 2; Theoph. Ant. 2, 15 [p. 138, 12]) Mt 5:48b (i.e. God is a role model for unlimited display of beneficence; cp. on this verse Hierocles 18 p. 459: the goal is τὴν πρὸς θεὸν ὁμοίωσιν κτήσασθαι ‘attainment of likeness to God’ [oft. in Hierocles]; Marinus, Vi. Procli 18 ἵνα τὴν ὁμοίωσιν ἔχῃ πρὸς τὸν θεόν, ὅπερ τέλος ἐστὶ τὸ ἄριστον τῆς ψυχῆς; Betz, SM ad loc.). Restoration in a corrupt context AcPl Ha 1, 11 (ed. indicates τελέσαι or τελεῖν as alternatives).—RFlew, The Idea of Perfection ’34; FGrant, The Earliest Gospel, ’43; EFuchs, RBultmann Festschr., ’54 (Beih. ZNW 21), 130–36; PDuPlessis, Teleios. The Idea of Perfection in the NT ’59; KPrümm, Das NTliche Sprach-u. Begriffsproblem der Vollkommenheit, Biblica 44, ’63, 76–92; AWikgren, Patterns of Perfection in Hb, NTS 6, ’60, 159–67.—Schmidt, Syn. IV 503f. DELG s.v. τέλος. M-M. EDNT. TW. Sv.
(William Arndt et al., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000).)

Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.” (Philippians 3:15, ESV)

And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:4, ESV)

For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.” (James 3:2, ESV)

… isn’t it time we did what the LORD told us to do and grow up?

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.
When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.

(1 Corinthians 13:11, ESV)

 

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Author: orland

.. i was born into an average family in the mid-west of the United States of America. my parents were divorced when i was young. ... i have been fortunate to have experienced many things that only the rich get to see. i once stayed in the Presidential Suite of the Lai Lai Sheraton Hotel, in Taipei, Taiwan. this suite composed the top two floors of the Lai Lai, where my private room overlooked the city of Taipai. ... and i have spent time in the Federal Prison System of this country as well. ... i had a construction company on the road to 'success and prosperity' and fell pray to the lures of the American Christianity Syndrome. but thank the good LORD, He allowed it all to crash around me. ... now i am quite happy to be poor, relying only on Him ....

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