Matthew 5:38-48: About Revenge – Part III
Today we hear Jesus’ words from his Sermon on the Mount. He asks us to live generously, he challenges us to love our enemies, and he reminds us that we are already members of his kingdom.
In a word, what I’m saying is, grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.
We linger with the thought that God lives toward us, not only giving us breath but also nurturing and sustaining us, moving into our every bone and tissue.
You must be perfect—just as your Father in heaven is perfect. (GNT)
We pause to reflect that God calls us to Christ’s presence in us, flourishing into the light of Christ, blooming into the healing presence of the Spirit.
Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (NRSV)
We react to God’s request that we grow up, that we mature in Christ, that we reconcile in the Spirit, and that we transform in the Creator. This is the perfection that God asks of us. Not that live a life free or error, but that we offer to God the flowering of the potential and trust placed in us at our conception.
The Apostle James tells us that when we persist in Christ, we begin to understand what God asks of us when he asks for our perfection.
Make sure that your endurance carries you all the way without failing, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:4 (GNT)
When we compare varying versions of Matthew 5:48, we begin to understand what it is that God asks of us, and how we might grow up, how we might be perfect in Christ.