Some people will say that what Jesus means by “perfect,” is “complete.” Jesus did not say, “Be ye therefore complete as your Father which is in heaven is complete.”
This command was for us as well as the people in the time of Jesus – to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. If people say Jesus meant to say be “complete,” then please explain how we become compete? What does it take to be complete? How long would it take to be complete, what is involved in being complete? How would they explain what Jesus just told them?
Complete means to “having all necessary parts, elements.” Well, we certainly can’t become God! On the other hand, ‘perfect’ means, “being entirely without fault or defect, flawless.”
Many use Romans 7 to try and prove this is describing the life of a Christian rather than an unconverted sinner. We know this is not about the life of Paul or any other who follow and obey Christ, because they have been made “free from sin” (Rom. 6:18,22). The man in Romans 7 is not set free from sin.
To say that Romans 7 describes a believer’s life or Paul’s life, puts Paul in a position of contradiction, because Paul said as a converted man he lived with a good and pure conscience that was void of offense (Acts 23:1; Acts 24:16; 2 Tim. 1:3).
Paul (using first person), in Romans 7, is describing the life of a sinner deeply disturbed by his conscience (Rom. 7:16). He is showing what happens when a sinner’s mind encounters the law of God and he is convicted by it.
Paul says immediately in Romans 8, “There is now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (vs 1). However, the man in Romans 7 was under condemnation and therefore needed a Savior. (Rom. 7:24-25).
And Paul said that, “to be carnally minded is death” (Rom. 8:6). However, the man in Romans 7 said, “I am carnal, sold under sin” (Rom. 7:14). Therefore, the man in Romans 7 did not have eternal life. If Christians want to use Romans 7 as their life support because there are sins they don’t want to stop, or give excuses for, then they need a Savior.
Concerning the command to be perfect.
Looking at the context of the Sermon on the Mount, we know what Jesus means by “be perfect.” Jesus it talking about MORAL perfection, which IS possible to attain in this life.
A person can have a pure and perfect heart and thus be morally perfect as we are commanded to be in this life. There are people in the Scriptures who are described as being perfect in heart in this life and those who were not. (1 Kin. 8:61; 11:4; 15:3; 15:14; 20:3; 1 Chron. 12:38; 28:9; 29:9; 29:19; 15:17; 16:9; 19:9; 25:2; Job 1:1, 8; Ps. 102:1; Isa. 38:3).
It is possible to have a perfect heart. To have a perfect heart is to be *morally* perfect as our Father is perfect.
Now some may start quoting Romans 3:10 as though that is the only passage in Scripture, but if dug deeper, will find that there were righteous people described in the Scriptures. All one has to do is a word search. One verse (Rom. 3:10) does not nullify the righteous people found throughout the Bible.
Luk 5:32 I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.