A week ago I did a post on “Be holy as God is holy.” Then I did a post on being perfect. The comments I receive upon making these points are typically along the lines of, “God is more holy than we are, I can’t be holy.” Or “Jesus makes us perfect, that’s the only way, so that’s what it means.”
I don’t have much of an argument over that, however, it still says to be holy several times (Romans 6:19,22; 2 Corinthians 7:1; 1 Thessalonians 4:7; 1 Peter 1:15,16; Revelation 22:11). And as pointed out the other day, we are told by NT writers to be perfect as well. Then there’s Paul’s doozy in 2 Corinthians 7:1 that tells us to be “perfecting holiness.” Nice.
What’s interesting is that there is not nearly this level of complaint when we covered “be merciful as your Father in heaven is merciful.” Everyone is for that one. Apparently we think we got that one covered. This is intriguing.
So, if we conclude that we can’t be perfect or holy like God, so we don’t really have to do those, why is it we so readily take on “be merciful?” Perhaps it’s because we don’t think God is all that much more merciful than us? Perhaps being merciful does not sound as hard as being perfect or holy? Perhaps mercy is just more fun to talk about?
Here’s the beauty, check out the context of “be ye perfect” and the context of “be ye merciful.” Oh don’t ya just love the Bible?! It’s the same context! One disciple remembers Jesus saying “be perfect” and one remembers Him saying “be merciful.”
What’s the resolution? Luke had a senior moment? Being perfect requires being merciful and being merciful requires being perfect. You can’t do one without the other. It’s funny we apparently think we can.