Matthew 5:48

Excerpted from the book: ManHusbandDad: Being Who We are Supposed to BE.

What does this mean?
Jesus is wrapping up the Sermon on the Mount in this last verse of the fifth chapter of Matthew (Mt. 5:48). He’s already told the crowd how to live and what happens if they live the Beatitudes and follow the commandments and abandon the laws of Moses, returning to the Law of God. Jesus has begun to establish the abrogation (repealing; doing away with) of Mosaic Law, which was instituted because of the hardness of the Israelites hearts (Mt. 19:8), fulfilling it with the Law of Love. Jesus is bringing the people back to the Covenant of The Lord, which the people are now prepared to embrace because the strict Mosaic Laws (no pork, not wearing linen and wool together, etc.), 603 Laws altogether, have trained them for the coming of the Messiah and acceptance of the New Covenant the Messiah brings. In the following, we explore what the passage, and “perfect,” mean, now that we know the context.

 

So why the Mosaic Laws to begin with?

In the movie “Forrest Gump,” Forrest and his friend Bubba are forced to clean the bathroom with a toothbrush.

We know this is not the most efficient way to clean a bathroom – that’s not logical. But the purpose is not to clean the bathroom. The purpose is to form an obedient soldier. Likewise, Mosaic Law, or the Motzvot, was not intended to make the chosen people selective omnivores or shanez-phobic (“Shanez” is the forbidden practice of wearing wool and linen together) – that is not logical either, as it cuts out a lot of possibilities in nutrition and clothing – when food and clothing are the first basic needs of human survival – in a land notoriously scarce of resources for daily living. These laws were meant to form the Chosen People of God – God’s Soldiers, to continue the Forrest Gump analogy – so they would be ready and disciplined (Discipled!) for the Messiah and the New Covenant, to do as he does and live as he lives, In Love. So they would be ready for Him to lead them to the ultimate Promised Land. Onward, Christian Soldiers, so-to-speak!

When Jesus came, the preparation for his arrival was complete and no longer needed, hence the abrogation of the Mosaic Laws that were not logical, leaving only the Natural Laws of God – the Ten Commandments, summed up in the 3 Laws Jesus re-affirmed as the greatest:

Jesus replied, “The first is this: ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Jesus is re-affirming here in Mark 12:29-31, as in Matthew 22:37-40, what He is quoting: Deuteronomy 6:4-5 and following. While Matthew omits the first part of Mark’s fuller quotation, probably because he considered its monotheistic emphasis needless for his church (cf: note), Mark produces in his telling of this event, “Hear, O Israel!” This is basically saying “I am God. Sit down and shut up! The following is all you have to do: Love.”

This passage contains the basic principle of the whole Mosaic Law, the keynote of the Book of Deuteronomy: since the Lord alone is God, we must love him with an undivided heart. Christ cited these words as “the greatest and the first commandment,” embracing in itself the whole Law of God, which is Natural Law with Natural Consequences. The 603 remaining Mitzvot were not natural (For instance, wearing wool and linen together; not eating pork; or “You may demand interest from a foreigner, but not from your countryman,” (Deut. 23:21) have no Natural Consequences.) or were clarifications of the [Natural Law] Ten Commandments.

So what does all of this have to do with being perfect like God? It seems to set the bar rather high…

BE Perfect, not DO Perfectly

It has everything to do with it. Notice Jesus says, “BE perfect,” not “DO perfectly.” This is paramount!

Perfect is a noun in the original Greek text of Matthew 5:48 (“So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”):

We do not have a definition for “perfect” as a noun in the English language, except when describing the perfect tense in grammar.

But we can understand perfection when we look at what Jesus is referring to when he says, “Be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect,” in Matthew 5:48.

Perfect, τελείος in Greek (pronounced tel’-i-os), means to hit the mark, to fulfill the purpose. At its very basic as Jesus tells us to be, it means to be who you are supposed to be.

This is the Mission of ManHusbandDad – to be who we are supposed to be.

In that sense, ManHusbandDad seeks to inform men that hat they are perfected if they embrace who God wants them to be and live as He the ManHusbandDad He calls them to be.

What this does NOT mean is that one must be perfect in the sense of being and doing everything according to some arbitrary or subjective, relativistic “that’s what a Man is” opinion, no matter how many people agree. It’s not defining a Man as an ideal Physical, Mental, Emotional, or Spiritual specimen that all must aspire to be. We all know men of great physique and athleticism (Physical), great intelligence (Mental), well-adjusted (Emotional), or saints (Spiritual;) whom we say “There’s a real man for you,” because they seem to reflect some unknown but understood idea of the perfect man in one or more of these aptitudes. We may even think we are being objective if it is a conclusion everyone agrees on – but perfection from a human perspective is subjective, and can only be objective from God’s perspective.

Perfection, as humans define it, is therefore a flaw – it is the flawed thinking that we must all be the same Adonis, Atlas, or Marlboro Man.

Perfection is a flaw, and since we are created by God, we have no flaws. By His objective perspective, we are made to be perfect, and therefore can be who He wants us to be. He is not going to set us up to fail – He does not deny that which He ordains.

In fact, to hold ourselves to some human-imposed standard of perfection is the embodiment of the sin of moral relativism – we set our own standards for perfection that we can all agree upon and think that it is true for us, even if it is not true for God, when in fact we should all be pursuing the perfection God has laid out for each of us, uniquely and never repeated in space or time, according to who He says we are supposed to be, and what we are supposed to do to support that being. Perfection by our own self-imposed standards denies God’s ordination of us as the person He created us to be. The sin of subjective perfection is so egregious that sin itself is defined as “missing the mark:”

Greek: ἁμαρτία (ham-ar-tee’-ah)
Hebrew: חָטָא (khaw-taw’)

We are called to be who we are supposed to be, to be Perfect as God created us to be, and we are flawed in achieving THAT, both in BEING and DOING because of our sin – but not because we are not eing or doing as others are being and doing. ManHusbandDad seeks to help Men achieve who they are supposed to be, and therefore be Perfect as God created us. That is why the intellectual giant and the mentally incompetent can both be Perfect, as God is Perfect, if they are both being who they are supposed to be.

God gives us specific direction on how to be whom he calls us each to be, individually, and ManHusbandDad shares those instructions and tools that we have had for thousands of years but have so recently forgotten or purposefully put away.

Finishing Perfectly

Jesus, in his time on earth, was who He was supposed to be. We know His mission in life – who he was supposed to be – was to be the Savior of the World. There was only one way to do that – the Perfect Way. The Way:

He was to die on the Cross to save us all.

Jesus fulfilled this Mission. He was who He was supposed to be right up to the very end and he did what he was supposed to do to fulfill who He is supposed to be.

Jesus’ last words on the Cross were “It is finished,” as we know from the written Greek testimonial of that event:

“When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, “It is finished.” And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.” (John 19:30)

In the Greek of the writer, inspired by the Holy Spirit, it looks like this:

τετελεσταί (pronounced teˈte-les-te) is the Greek word meaning “it is finished.” It is the verb form of the noun τελεισς which, as we see in the opening passage means, “Perfect.” This means Jesus’ Mission on earth was Perfected – done. He was who He was supposed to BE and did what He was supposed to DO. It is finished. Perfected. Period, paragraph, end of sentence.

So to “be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect” is to:

BE Who you are supposed to BE and DO what you are supposed to DO to fulfill Who you are supposed to BE.

That is what we attempt to do at ManHusbandDad: Help you or those you love BE who they are supposed to be: A ManHusbandDad. To extend the Forrest Gump anaogy, a ManHusbandDad is a Soldier of God, as are Men who are called to be single or consecrated in religious life. Once a soldier is enlisted and trained, then and only then does he specialize: DO what his God-given talents call him to DO in order to support who he is called to be: the Soldier of God. ManHusbandDads are the vast majriy of the Holy Army – we are the infantry, the boots on the ground.

The vast majority of boys are called to BE ManHusbandDads. We help them, and wayward men, husbands, and dads, become who they are supposed to be.

Once someone discerns that he is called to BE a ManHusbandDad, the WHAT he is supposed to DO to support that God-given Vocation will be revealed by God, because we know God does not deny that which He has ordained.

This is illustrated in the only other use of “perfect” in the Gospel, also in Matthew, in 19:21:

Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to (the) poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

This was specific instruction to the young man who, once he had accepted the vocation of Man, learned what he was to do to be who he was supposed to be – perfected. Again, the Greek word here is τελεισς (tel’-i-os). The young Man knew he was to be a Man, and what to do to support that vocation. Jesus then tells him that He will reveal his next Vocation after the young man becomes a Man, as He says, “then come, follow me.” To follow Jesus is to pick up the Cross, either in single or consecrated life, or as a Husband who does for his wife what Jesus does for the Church. This is the essence of what we do in forming ManHusbandDads – explaining these things so that honest, accurate discernment can occur.

We will help you see and be who you are supposed to BE. That’s what the ManHusbandDad idea is all about.

Enlisting

ManHusbandDads are the vast majority of Christian Soldiers.

WomanWifeMoms support the Soldiers just like any successful army needs support. Is it any wonder, then, as gender identification and roles have gotten so screwed up, distorted, panned, derided and eroded that the Truth which a ManHusbandDad fights for, has been losing ground to the secularism and immorality of the moral relativistic culture?

Failure is an option, but not a destination or a lifestyle

So do not seek to be perfect in the eyes of society and culture – that is a sin. Sin is a Greek word meaning “failure.” [ηαμαρτια | “hamartia”] It means missing the mark by being who you are not supposed to be, which is failing to be who you are supposed to be. If you fail (and you will!) then get back up and push on to perfection again. And again.

And again. Aim for the mark. Aim to be perfect.

Instead of bring perfect in the eyes of the world, be perfect as your heavenly Father is Perfect: He is who He is (Exodus 3:14: “God replied, “I am who am.”).

Be who you are supposed to be.

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