Smack-Dab in the Center of God’s Will, Where You Belong
Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48).
Telos is a Greek word that has philosophical roots extending back to Plato and Aristotle. The word refers to an end or a purpose. Plato and Aristotle believed that there were ends or purposes to which all of life was leading. In other words, what happens in the world isn’t accidental. There is a propelling force moving the world to a stated end.
Telos also has biblical roots. Along with its cognates, it is used often in the New Testament and is significant in telling the gospel story.
The first time we see this word in the New Testament is in Matthew 5:48. It occurs in the middle of Jesus's Sermon on the Mount in an extremely troubling statement: “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” This statement is troubling because we equate with being flawless or not having any defects. We know we can’t be perfect by this standard. If you think otherwise, I encourage you to reread Jesus’s sermon. He made it perfectly clear that flawless perfection is beyond your reach.
Jesus isn’t concerned merely with the letter of the law. He opened the hood and showed us the spirit of the law. At that point, we miss the mark and miss it badly.
Perhaps Jesus had something else in mind. Maybe the point is that Jesus wants us to find completeness in Him. One of the definitions for “perfect”– teleios – is “wanting for nothing.” Perfection in this sense is a place of contentment. That is God’s ultimate aim for us – that we find contentment in Him.
You cannot achieve God’s purpose for your life through obedience to the law. It is impossible. The law will not take you to God’s intended goal for you. If you try to use it that way, you’ll find it to be weak and useless. The law does not have sufficient strength or power to make you perfect. It cannot break sin’s control in your life.
The law can’t deliver us to the goal. Only grace can do that. What the law was powerless to do, Christ did.
Look at what Christ accomplished for you. Hebrews 10:10 says that you have been made holy through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ once for all. Hebrews 10:14 says that by that one sacrifice He made you perfect forever. Jesus cleansed you, made you holy, and then delivered you smack-dab in the center of God’s will, right where you belong.
Paul put it this way:
Since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God (Romans 5:1-2).
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