Only God can transform a sinful soul into a masterpiece of grace.
Taken from Our Daily Bread (odb.org) daily devotionals.
Matthew 5:48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
For years I thought of the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5–7) as a blueprint for human behavior, a standard no one could possibly meet. How could I have missed the true meaning? Jesus spoke these words not to frustrate us, but to tell us what God is like.
Why should we love our enemies? Because our merciful Father causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good. Why store up treasures in heaven? Because the Father lives there and will lavishly reward us. Why live without fear and worry? Because the same God who clothes the lilies and the grass of the field has promised to take care of us. Why pray? If an earthly father gives his son bread or fish, how much more will the Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask?
Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5–7) not only to explain God’s ideal toward which we should never stop striving but also to show that in this life none of us will ever reach that ideal.
Before God, we all stand on level ground: murderers and tantrum-throwers, adulterers and lusters, thieves and coveters. We are all desperate, and that is the only state appropriate to a human being who wants to know God. Having fallen from the absolute ideal, we have nowhere to land but in the safety net of absolute grace.
Dear Lord, I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I believe that You died on the cross to pay the penalty for my sin. You did what I could not do for myself, and in humility I accept Your gift of grace. Help me to live a life that is pleasing to You.
The final verse in today’s reading is often used as an encouragement to live morally pure lives: “Be perfect . . . as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Jesus’s words in this passage, however, are more than moral instruction. The word translated “perfect” in the original language means “mature,” “complete,” or “grown-up.” Perfection in this context includes loving and praying for those who seek to do us harm—just as Christ did on the cross. When we love our enemies, we mirror the perfection of heaven and the heart of the Father.
A child of God will set aside some time (daily) to find out what God is saying to him through His Word. These short Bible Studies are meant to help you focus and build your spiritual faith muscles in the Word of God.