Mike Novotny - Can We Really Be Perfect?
Matthew 5:48 says, "Be perfect". How is it possible for us to be? Why would God say that when Jesus died for our sins, thereby proving our imperfection. It's kind of a famous verse. Jesus is preaching about loving people. In the context of Matthew 5, he says, you know, don't just be nice to the people who are nice to you. He says, doesn't everyone do that? It doesn't matter what you believe. You could be a tax collector and you're nice to your tax collecting buddies.
So he says be like God. A perfect God sends rain on believers and unbelievers, those who love him and those who don't. And he concludes that little section by saying, "Therefore, be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect" How is possible for us to be? It is not. And the point is that instead of relying on ourselves, thinking, "Well, I'm good enough to make it to heaven on this ladder that I'm going to climb," we would just be driven to our knees and the law of God would just expose us like a mirror until we just cry out like, "Jesus, if I'm going to be perfect, if I'm going to make it, you've got to do this for me and you've got to do all of it 'cause I can't".
And so these are the two great teachings called the law and the gospel. Romans 3:20 says, "No one will be righteous in God's sight by observing the law. Rather through the law, we become conscious of sin". Right? So passages like that make us think like, "Oh my... I can't do this". Exactly. That instead of looking to yourself, you look up to Jesus on the cross where you're absolutely correct. He takes care of our imperfection, he makes us perfect in this great exchange.
Have you rejoiced in that this week, by the way? I had a chance to teach in the Jesus lesson for Bible 101 that when God looks at one of his people, he sees perfection. You ever think about that? Like, if you trust in Jesus right now, when God looks at you, he says, "Dang! You're patient and you're super kind. You were the perfect husband. How did you pull that off? You never miss church.
Every time you went to church, you were just zoned in on every word that Pastor Mike was preaching. And every time you prayed, you never got distracted by the squirrels or the moving people. You just always thought about God"! You know, God would say that and we'd be like, "Uh..." like, I don't know if he got the files kind of mixed up there in heaven's accounting system? But that's the great news of Christianity, right? It's not that God just takes away your sins. All the perfect things that Jesus did go onto our account so that when God looks at us, he sees perfection and he opens his arm wide to invite us into a perfect place like heaven.