Matthew 5:48 Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
Perfect: Teleioo Teleiotes Teleios
The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon Strong’s Number: 5048
Original Word teleioo from (5046) Definition: to make perfect, complete; to carry through completely, to accomplish, finish, bring to an end; to complete (perfect); add what is yet wanting in order to render a thing full; to be found perfect; to bring to the end (goal) proposed; to accomplish; bring to a close or fulfillment by event….
Bibliography Information: Thayer and Smith. “Greek Lexicon entry for Teleioo”. “The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon”. . 1999.
Greek lexicon based on Thayer’s and Smith’s Bible Dictionary plus others; this is keyed to the large Kittel and the “Theological Dictionary of the New Testament.” These files are public domain.
I grew up in a church that taught Christian perfection. Even as a young child I understood that it was impossible to be perfect – flawless – because I was surrounded by imperfect people whether Christian or nonChristian. My Grandpa was as near perfect as anyone I knew, but he had his flaws.
Perfection of humanity comes through keeping the law. And we had rules! I remember going to a beauty school to get the ends of my hair trimmed. The student was a beginner and I ended up with very short hair. When one of the ladies from my church saw me she was simply horrified – and I learned an important lesson. “Rules do not a Christian make.” Since then I can smell a traditional Christian a mile away!! Traditional Christians may sometimes actually know Jesus but they are primarily rule-keepers.
The admonition Jesus gave about being perfect was taken literally years ago. But these days we have access to Strong’s Greek and Hebrew Concordance and Dictionary either on-line or in print. As I’ve shown above, it’s easy to find the definition of the word “perfect”. Flawless is not a definition of perfect, but it is still a very high goal to aspire to – maturity.
Job as an example
Job in Obadiah 1:1 is said to be “perfect;” that is, not holy as God, or “sinless” – for fault was afterward found with him: Job 9:20; Job 42:6. Job was not merely a pious man in one instance, but uniformly. He was consistent in every situation. This is the meaning in Matthew 5:48. Be not religious merely in loving your friends and neighbors, but let your piety be shown in loving your enemies; imitate God; let your piety be “complete, proportionate, regular.” This every Christian may be; this every Christian must be.
What are some indications of maturity?
1. Marriage is a commitment for the life of the man and woman involved. The marriage relationship is used to illustrate our relationship to Jesus. Feelings are shallow, but a commitment is for as long as both parties shall live.
2. A mature person is secure in his identity. Unfortunately, few Christians are secure in knowing who they are in Jesus. That is, they quickly shrink in the face of criticism, and swell in the face of praise. Knowing Jesus loves me is my Rock. He will never fail me or let me down (Heb. 13:5-6 AMP)
3. A mature person thinks of him/herself less often than an insecure person does. The mature person is confident of his abilities and doesn’t feel the need to showcase himself. The mature individual begins to see the needs of others and reach out a helping hand.
4. A mature person has learned to grow his spirit to have dominion over his soul – to submit his spirit to God regardless of his soulish feelings. He has learned to develop his character, his values, and not to cave to superficial feelings. Maturity produces principled individuals.
5. A mature person says “thank you” often. Thanking Father God is the foundation for worship and adoration. Thankfulness to Father God spills over into one’s human relationships.
6. A mature person is teachable. Ecclesiastes 7:6 It is better to be corrected by a wise man, than to be deceived by the false praise of the foolish.
7. A person who knows his strengths and weaknesses doesn’t need to brag or compete because he is at peace with who he is. That self-acceptance is humility.
Below are some Scriptures that illustrate how the Greek word for perfection is used in the New Testament.
Luke 13:32 And He said to them, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I reach My goal.’
John 4:34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.
John 17:4 “I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do.
John 19:28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, said, “I am thirsty.”
Hebrews 5:9 And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation,
Hebrews 10:1 For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near.
Hebrews 10:14 For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.
Hebrews 11:40 because God had provided something better for us (added: Jesus’ sacrifice of Himself on the cross), so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.
Hebrews 12:23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,
1 John 2:5 but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him:
Such a simple statement but with profound meaning – “whoever keeps His word”.
1 John 4:12 No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.
Barnes’ Notes on the Bible https://biblehub.com/commentaries/matthew/5-48.htm