Sunday, February 17, 2008

Perfection Pending

We had the adult session of stake conference (a large meeting of local congregations) last night and one of the speakers spoke about the scripture in Matthew 5:48 that says "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."

I don't know about you, but the thought of being perfect is a little overwhelming...and frankly I think impossible to feel good about. We aren't perfect. No one on Earth today is perfect, and in fact only one perfect person EVER lived on this earth. So why does HE tell us to be perfect?

I have been studying this topic recently and was really impressed with a talk given by the Apostle Russell M. Nelson on what this verse really means. And...the speaker actually referred to that talk in his talk last night!

Elder Nelson says, "In Matt. 5:48, the term perfect was translated from the Greek teleios, which means “complete.” Teleios is an adjective derived from the noun telos, which means “end.” The infinitive form of the verb is teleiono, which means “to reach a distant end, to be fully developed, to consummate, or to finish.” Please note that the word does not imply “freedom from error”; it implies “achieving a distant objective.” In fact, when writers of the Greek New Testament wished to describe perfection of behavior—precision or excellence of human effort—they did not employ a form of teleios; instead, they chose different words."

He goes on to say, "The perfection that the Savior envisions for us is much more than errorless performance. It is the eternal expectation as expressed by the Lord in his great intercessory prayer to his Father—that we might be made perfect and be able to dwell with them in the eternities ahead."

So, we aren't SUPPOSED to be perfect in this life. We can't be.

BUT we are supposed to give our best effort and be the best people that we can be. I think that is pretty doable, in fact, it gives me a lot of hope.

My best is enough...and thank goodness for that.

That is the best part of having a Heavenly Father that loves us...He knows what we are capable of...and He never gives us more than we can bear...and I think often we really have MORE and are capable of more than we are even aware of!


Andrea said...

You would have loved Elder Nelson's talk today. Make sure that Troy tells you the eight things that husbands are supposed to do for their wives! Yesterdays conference was really good, though, wasn't it...

Hilary said...

I too really like that thought.
Complete seems better then perfect. :)

Robin said...

What was the title of that talk? We are so blessed to have modern day prophets to lead and guide us. It's also wonderful that they help us better understand the scriptures.

Thanks for sharing your insights. When looked at in that light perfection seems almost within reach.

Kirsten said...

The part I love about Matthew 5:48 is that it only mentions that we must be perfect like Heavenly Father. When you compare that with 3 Nephi 12:48 you read that we must be perfect like Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Jesus is added to the verse only after he completes his mission here on earth, returns home to Heavenly Father and then comes back to visit the Nephites. While his example on earth was perfect, I interpret those two scripture to mean that perfection is not achieved until we return home to our Heavenly Father, he makes us perfect. Our purpose here on earth is to make it back to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and since we have a Savior, perfection is not required, but striving for it is appreciated. Probably way to long an entry but just wanted to say how much I love those two verses.

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