Matthew 5:48

48 1You therefore must be 2perfect, 3as your heavenly Father is perfect.

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Matthew 5:48 Meaning and Commentary

Matthew 5:48

Be ye therefore perfect, as your Father
This perfection is to be restrained to the subject Christ is upon, love to men, and not to be referred to any, or every other thing; wherefore, in ( Luke 6:36 ) it is, "be ye merciful, as your Father also is merciful"; and regards not a perfection of degree in that, but objects and quality: that is to say, not that men may, or can, or ought to be as perfect in love, as to the degree of it, as God is; that is impossible: the "as" here, is not a note of equality, but of likeness: such, who profess God to be their Father, ought to imitate him, particularly in their love to men, which ought to be extended to the same objects, as the divine goodness is; that, as he shows regard in a providential way to all men, good and bad, just and unjust, and his tender mercies are over all his works; so ought they to love all men with a natural affection, and hate no man, no, not their enemies: for he that loves only his friends, and not his enemies, loves imperfectly; he does not take in the whole compass of objects his love is to extend unto; and as God loves sincerely, and without dissimulation, so should they. To be "perfect", is to be sincere and upright: in this sense is the word often used, and answers to the Hebrew word (Mymt) , which signifies the same: see ( Deuteronomy 18:13 ) which is the passage Christ seems to refer to here; and the sense is, be ye sincere and upright in your love to all men, as your heavenly Father is hearty and sincere in his affections to them.

Matthew 5:48 In-Context

46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Cross References 3

  • 1. [Luke 6:36]
  • 2. Matthew 19:21; 1 Corinthians 2:6(Gk.); Philippians 3:15(Gk.); Colossians 1:28; Colossians 4:12(Gk.); James 1:4; James 3:2; See Genesis 17:1
  • 3. [Leviticus 19:2; 1 Peter 1:15]
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.