You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” Therefore, you shall be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. – Matthew 5:43,48
Before Jesus began His “sermon on the Mount,” He stated that He had not come to abolish the Law of God (a particular reference to the Law of Moses), but to fulfill it. The Jewish religious leaders had taken the Laws that God had given Moses on Mt. Sinai and (through the centuries) modified them in unacceptable ways. To highlight their error, Jesus repeated one particular phrase six times, “You have heard that it was said…,” pointing to six examples of their modifications. He then revealed the inadequacy of each change when compared to the true intent of God’s heart, purposes, and desires.
It is impossible to be perfect and holy. While “none of us is righteous, not even one,” most mentally healthy people want to be better versions of themselves. One way throughout history that this world’s inhabitants have tried to overcome their inadequacies is to lower the standard far enough to reach it. Yet, whenever anyone attempts to reduce God’s perfect standard of holiness to an achievable goal, he or she reveals his or her own aching need for grace. God’s perfect standard was not given so that a person could achieve it, but rather in order that a person might see his or her inadequacy and cry out for mercy.
You shall be perfect, but only in the Perfection that is God in Christ Jesus.
There is only one way by which I can get right with God, and that is through the death of Jesus Christ. I must get rid of the underlying idea that I can ever be right with God because of my obedience. Who of us could ever obey God to absolute perfection! – Oswald Chambers