Matthew 5:48 – Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Yeshua’s admonition to his disciples is to strive to be perfect, that is fully mature and needing nothing else to be complete, just as God is perfect.
The apostles Paul and James also taught and urged believers to be fully mature and complete in their faith.
Colossians 1:28 – We proclaim him, warning and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Messiah.
James 1:2-4 – Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.
If we are to be mature and complete, just as our heavenly Father is, then there may be some wisdom in learning his characteristics of this completeness so we can mimic these characteristics and strive to incorporate them in our lives, as well.
Psalm 145 carries many of these characteristics of God that can provide insight into his nature, and by extension, the types of things that we should be seeking to represent with all others.
Yahweh is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and great in faithful love.
Yahweh is good to everyone; his compassion rests on all he has made.
Yahweh is faithful in all his words and gracious in all his actions.
Yahweh helps all who fall; he raises up all who are oppressed.
All eyes look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time.
You open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.
Yahweh is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all his acts.
Yahweh is near all who call out to him, all who call out to him with integrity. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry for help and saves them.
Yahweh guards all those who love him,
but he destroys all the wicked.Psalm 145:8-9, 13-20
Reflecting on these characteristics of God, we can see that they revolve around compassion and mercy, helping those who are looking to him for help. He is always near to those who are sincerely seeking him, and he is a protector of the faithful. These are ideals that we can easily relate to, as they are centered around “doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
However, this psalm also mentions how God is steadfastly firm with those who are “wicked, guilty, and criminal.” The destruction of the wicked is spoken of as a future event, implying that, should they remain in their guilty, criminal state, they will be destroyed. This ultimate destruction is alone the right of God to perform (because he is fully perfect and completely just) while we are only striving for this completeness. We are not qualified for the actual destruction of anyone.
Romans 12:18-19 – If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.
Yet, as we grow in maturity and completeness, we have the duty to defend and stand up for what is right, and to destroy those ideals and concepts which are promoted by those who are wicked. This is also an act of compassion, as representing the truth to all provides a pathway for the rebellious to return to him.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 – For although we live in the flesh, we do not wage war according to the flesh, since the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments and every proud thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to obey Messiah.
To be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect, then, is to extend compassion to all men, and yet to remain firm on godly principles, even while loving those who could be considered enemies. This is the role of the believer in this world: representing the characteristics of our heavenly Father by being compassionate and extending love, and the fullness of his truth, to all.
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