The High Calling of Christians.
Matthew 5:48 - "be perfect" etc. Jesus knew that no believer could attain perfection in this life (see 6:14,15). It is rather the measure and goal towards which we work, not to earn salvation - but instead to become fully mature in exercising those principles that Christ outlines in the preceding verses concerning love (Matthew 5:43-58).
God, in all His ways, is perfect - in His creation, His provision for our salvation, His love for us. We are called upon as His born again children to seek to please Him with our lives. To be continually thankful and do those things that bring honor and glory to Him as our Heavenly Father, through the Gospel of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
A helpful comparison - a Christian life is like a foot race.
I Corinthians 9:24,25
24 ¶ Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.
25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
16 holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain.
1 Wherefore, seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
2 looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Read Hebrews 12:1-10 to also get the part about God's chastening His children. The end of verse 10 gives the motive - "he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness."
God helps us, guides, and empowers us to become more like Him, more like His Son, Jesus Christ.
This article was written by my father T.O.D. Johnston, who was licensed to preach the Gospel by Paran Baptist Church in Lake City, SC, on May 26, 1979. He has been a student of Scripture since 1972. Be sure to visit the author's full list of Bible Study Lessons by book for all of his free lessons.