Tag Archives | Jesus

Does Matthew 5:48 Require Sinless Perfection?

Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48).

This is often interpreted as a call to sinless perfection, something that Christians cannot attain prior to glorification. As such it’s used as a hermeneutical key to understanding the Sermon on the Mount as a whole. In this view, Jesus is not laying out the way of life for his followers. Instead, he is setting the bar so far out of their reach that they must turn to him for mercy and find acceptance in his righteousness.

I fully embrace the theological conclusions of this position: Christians cannot live sinlessly in this life and can only be accepted by God on the basis of the imputed righteousness of Jesus. However, I don’t think this text teaches that.

There are three reasons for understanding this verse as something that every Christian should and can obey.

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The Nativity Story (2006)

The Nativity StoryI bought The Nativity Story for my parents for Christmas (along with Planet Earth and Blue Planet) and remembered that I had never posted about it here. Shanna and I watched it last spring when it first came out on DVD. It’s not fresh on my mind, so I can’t give a detailed review, but I do remember enough to know that I enjoyed it and would recommend it.

It was very faithful to the biblical accounts. While I wasn’t convinced that all of the ways they acted out the story were the best, those issues were minor and their interpretations were generally within the bounds of viable options. I was initially disappointed with how abruptly the movie came to an end, but then I remembered that it was a movie about Jesus’ birth, not His life. Though The Nativity Story isn’t my favorite biblical movie, it is one that I would recommend and will probably watch again.

Other Reviews:

  • Peter T. Chattaway’s review at ChristianityToday.com
  • Al Mohler’s review at AlbertMohler.com
  • David DiCerto’s review at CatholicNews.com
  • Dale Mason’s review at AnswersinGenesis.org
  • Steven Isaac’s review at PluggedinOnline.com