Jesus Said, You Must Be PERFECT! Matthew 5:48 – Once

Jesus Said, You Must Be PERFECT! Matthew 5:48

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Jesus said in Matthew 5:48 that we are to be perfect, even as the Father is perfect. Did He really mean that we’re to be PERFECT? What does that even mean to be perfect? And exactly how does one become perfect? Today, we’re going to look at what Jesus meant by this and reveal four perfect transformations that all believers WILL experience to become perfect. Let’s look into it. 

While you may not feel, think, act or look perfect, God’s will is for you to be perfect, because He is perfect. Here’s the verse that says that:

Matthew 5:48

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:48

 Jesus said this as part of His teaching commonly called, “The Sermon on the Mount,” in Matthew chapters 5, 6 and 7. Did Jesus really mean that we are to be perfect? My answer is yes, and that goes against most of the teaching on this verse that’s out there. I’ve looked at a lot of videos and read a lot of commentaries on this verse and most of them start explaining the verse by saying something like this:

“Well, Jesus didn’t really mean that we are to be perfect because we all know that no one is perfect. What He really was saying is that we are to be complete and mature, not perfect.”

Then they go on from there to talk about spiritual maturity. 

To their credit, the Greek word translated as “perfect” is the word, “teleios,” which, in addition to meaning “perfect,” can also mean “complete, mature, fully grown.” And this same word is used elsewhere in the New Testament to describe spiritual maturity, such as this verse from James chapter 1, speaking of how we are to be mature in our patience:

“But let patience have her perfect G5046 work, that ye may be perfect G5046 and entire, wanting nothing.” James 1:4
So there is some merit to the argument that the New Testament teaches that we are to be perfect, meaning to be spiritually mature and complete in Christ. But is that what Jesus was saying here in Matthew chapter 5 in the Sermon on the Mount. I don’t think so. I think He meant “perfect,” not “complete” or “mature,” but “perfect” in every way. I believe this for several reasons.
First, the context of this verse shows that Jesus really meant “perfect,” and not “mature” or “complete.” If we look at the verses surrounding Matthew 5:48, where Jesus said Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect,” we see that Jesus was raising the bar and resetting the expectation of what it means to be good and acceptable in God’s sight. 
The Jews believed that they were accepted by God and would be saved because they were children of Abraham and because they had God’s Law, including the Ten Commandments. According to them, as long as they met the letter of the Law, they were good in God’s eyes. But Jesus raised the bar a lot higher on them, using the phrase:

“You have heard it said. . . but I say to you . . . “

For example, Jesus said:

Ye have heard that it was said…thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment…but whosoever shall say, thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” Matthew 5:21-22

Here, Jesus said that all it takes to be in danger of being sent to hell is to call someone a fool.

Or this:

Ye have heard that it was said…thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” Matthew 5:27-28

And immediately after saying this, He made this really scary statement:

“And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.” Matthew 5:29

Jesus said that one act of looking lustfully at someone is enough for God to send you to hell and that it would be better for you to rip your eye out. Was Jesus really telling people to rip their eyes out? No. He was making the point that God’s standard is not the Ten Commandments and the rest of the law. God’s standard is far higher. God’s standard is His own total perfection, with not even one small sin being allowed in His presence without being judged. God’s standard is to be perfect.

That’s why Jesus concluded with this:

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:48

Combine this with the verse from James chapter 2 where it says that having just one sin is enough to be condemned before God.

“For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” James 2:10

In other words, if you lived your life almost perfectly and stumbled just one time, that would be enough for God to send you to hell. That’s because God’s standard is His own total perfection. So in Matthew 5:48, Jesus wasn’t speaking of maturity or completeness. He meant what He said, which is that we are to be PERFECT.

Second, Matthew 5:48 shows that Jesus meant to use the word “perfect” because of the comparison to the Father. He said:

“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:48

How is the Father perfect? He is perfect in every way:

“As for God, His way is perfect;” 2 Samuel 22:31

“He is the Rock, His work is perfect:” Deuteronomy 32:4

“The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul:” Psalm 19:7

“…that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2

And speaking of Jesus, who is God:

“But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.” 1 Corinthians 13:10

“And being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him;” Hebrews 5:9

God is perfectly holy, which means perfect righteousness. We’re not just talking good here. We’re talking PERFECT! God’s perfection is far greater than any level of righteousness and perfect holiness that we can even imagine. 

The Bible ends with God and mankind living together. Think about that. How can imperfect mankind live with a totally perfect God where even one imperfection is unacceptable? Forgivable through Christ? Yes. But acceptable to God as something that can exist directly in His perfect presence forever? Absolutely not. The answer is that we must become perfect as He is perfect.

But what does it mean to be perfect?

Well, first I’ll tell you what it doesn’t mean. Being perfect does NOT mean ridding yourself of all sin, confessing sin, turning from sin and walking in perfect obedience. That’s not what Jesus was saying. In fact, He was saying exact opposite, that it is impossible for you to walk in obedience at the level God requires, where even one lustful glance is enough to send you to hell. People can fool themselves into believing that they are walking obediently. And perhaps they are doing much better at it than they were before. But our very best level of obedience is still woefully short of what our perfect God requires. That’s why the Bible says,

“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags;” Isaiah 64:6

As believers, the only righteousness we have is the righteousness of Christ. As for OUR righteousness, well, at our very, very best, our own righteousness is to God as filthy rags. I don’t mean to be indelicate here, but this phrase that was translated “filthy rags” was the phrase that was commonly used to refer to the rags that a woman in that day would use during her menstrual period. In God’s perfect eyes, our very best level of obedience is equal to that, which makes the grace of God, His willingness to forgive and save us, even more astounding.

But don’t hear me wrong on this. God does desire us to be obedient and to live obedient lives. So we SHOULD walk in obedience and sin is NEVER OK. But in this Sermon on the Mount, Jesus was not talking about walking in obedience when He said we are to be perfect. He was telling us that it’s impossible for a man or woman to measure up to God’s perfect standard. He was telling us that we all need to be saved, that we cannot save ourselves through our own efforts to be obedient, and that He is the only One who can save us. 

So then, what did Jesus mean when He then said we are to be perfect?

Simply this: for us to exist in God’s perfect presence for eternity, we must be totally perfect in every way as God Himself is perfect. 

But how is that possible?

To answer that, I want to present:

God’s Four Perfect Transformations

that every believer will experience to get us to that perfect state where we can co-exist with God. All of these transformations are the work of God, NOT something that we do ourselves. The only thing we have to do is believe in Jesus. So let’s look at these four transformations.

The first three transformations have to do with the three parts of every human being: the body, soul and spirit. 

God is a triune God made up of three Persons: the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In Genesis 1:26, God said:

“Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:” Genesis 1:26

So God made man a triune being, with three parts: Body, soul and spirit.

  1. Body – our physical bodies
  2. Soul – the immaterial essence of who we are as individuals. This includes:
    • Identity –  our personality, uniqueness, individuality and character
    • Mind – our ability to think, reason and acquire knowledge
    • Emotions – our feelings and desires, often called our “heart”
    • Senses – our ability to connect to our physical bodies and this world through hearing, seeing, touching, smelling and tasting
    • Conscience – our ability to understand right from wrong
    • Will – our ability to choose what we will say, do and think
    • All these things make up our “soul”
  3. Spirit – the immaterial essence that allows us to connect to, or not connect to, God and the supernatural world.  

We see these three parts in Scripture:

“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23

Notice how this verse describes believers being presented to God wholly sanctified and blameless. We will appear before God wholly perfected in spirit, soul and body. Those are the first three perfect transformations every believer will experience. I’ll show you how and when these transformation occur in a minute.

When Jesus said we are to be perfect as the Father is perfect, this is what He meant. All three parts of us will be perfected by God so that we are suitable to live with Him for eternity. The Lord will make us perfect in spirit, soul and body so that we can co-exist with our perfect Father.

But before we discuss when and how this is all going to happen, let’s first take a look at the “before” state, what these three parts look like today, as well as identify the fourth perfect transformation that will occur. After that, we’ll look at the “after” state, where I’ll show a timeline revealing when each of these four perfect transformations will occur in the life of every believer.


The Before State

From the moment we are born, we exist in a fallen state on account of sin. In Genesis 1, God created mankind in His own image and said in Genesis 1:28 that His creation was “very good.”

“And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.” Genesis 1:28

There was no death. No sin. No disease. No suffering. 

But God created man with free will. And in our freedom, we chose to rebel against God and we sinned. The word “sin” means to miss the mark of pleasing God. This includes doing something that is wrong or failing to do something right. The Bible says in Romans 3:23:

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Romans 3:23

 And then God declared the consequence of our sin:

“For the wages of sin is death;” Romans 6:23

“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” Romans 5:12

We learn throughout the Bible that, when it comes to God judging sin, the word “death” means more than just the physically death of our bodies. It includes spiritual or eternal death of our souls in a place of punishment called hell. Hell is extreme eternal punishment, so much so that Jesus said in Matthew 5:48 that it would be better to rip your eye out if it causes you to sin than to be cast into hell. So great is the punishment of hell.    

All of us have sinned. And the punishment for sin, or the wage we have earned on account of our sin, is death. That’s because God is perfect and cannot ignore sin. God’s standard for judging us is not to look at how good we are in relation to everyone else, but how perfect He is. God’s standard is His own absolute perfection.

So as a result of mankind’s sin, death came into this world. This affected all three parts of our being:

  1. Body – Death: Our bodies became subject to disease, suffering and dying
  2. Soul – Sin Nature: The nature of who we are, including our ability to think, reason and make decisions with our will became corrupted by sin. This has commonly been called our “sin nature,” meaning that it’s not just that we commit sins but that, in our fallen state, it’s our nature to sin. Being a sinner is our natural state. This is what Jeremiah meant when he said:

    “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9 

  3. Spirit – Dead: From the moment of birth, we are spiritually dead. That’s why Jesus said in John 3:3 that we must be born again. Being reborn means to become spiritually alive. We are born physically, but our spirit is dead until we place our trust in Jesus. Having a dead spirit means we have no ability to communicate and commune with God on our own.

    “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14

    Therefore, Jesus said: “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3

So all three parts of our being were affected by sin and, from the moment we are born, we live in a fallen state. This is the “before state” of mankind, about which Jesus declared:

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:48

So the first three things that must be perfected, the first three perfect transformations are: Body, Soul and Spirit.  

But there’s also a fourth perfect transformation that must occur: the rest of creation itself, the heavens and the earth.

Sin also affected our world, leaving it in a fallen state, literally, a “cursed” state:

“And unto Adam He said… cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” Genesis 3:17-19

Because of sin, even the earth is cursed and no longer resembles the perfect world that God created. Instead, it suffers decay, desolations, earthquakes and, instead of being fruitful, produces thorns and thistles. Anyone who’s attempted to plant a garden can tell you the misery of battling weeds. 

The heavens have been corrupted by sin as well. For it is in the heavens that Satan and a third of the angels rebelled against God. 

So the heavens, the earth and mankind today exist in a fallen state on account of sin. That is why this world is in such decay and why there is suffering, disease, death, wars and disasters.

To sum up, we have four perfect transformations that God will soon bring to completion: Mankind (body, soul and spirit) and the heavens and the earth.

The good news is that this command to be perfect, this imperative from Jesus, while being totally impossible for man to accomplish, is totally possible for God. God does this for us. He does it completely. And it is through Jesus that He does this. It’s all about Jesus.

So now let’s look at the “after state” and specifically, let’s draw a timeline that shows when and how these four perfect transformations will occur that will change everything.

God’s 4 Perfect Transformations 

Our timeline begins with the first coming of Christ and ends with the perfect state, when mankind will live with God in perfect harmony. It is between these end points that God’s four perfect transformations take place. We’ll start with:

Transformation #1: A Perfect Spirit

The first transformation begins the moment we place our faith in Christ, admitting to God that we are sinners, that we cannot save ourselves, and so we place our faith in Christ, God’s Son, as the only One who can save us, believing in our hearts that His death on the cross paid for all of our sins, and that His resurrection from the dead shows us the new eternal life that He has for those who trust on Him. The holiness of God demands that there be a payment for sin, and Jesus paid that price for us on the cross. When we trust in Christ, three amazing things happen:

First, all of our sins are forgiven, reconciling us to God. The Bible refers to this as being justified, or being declared just or righteous in God’s sight. 

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” Romans 5:8-10

Second, God adopts us into His family:

“That being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:7

But then, third, something even more amazing: God’s Holy Spirit comes to live inside of us permanently. Scripture says the Holy Spirit seals us unto the day of redemption, when we will be with God forever.

That we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory.” Ephesians 1:12-14 

Where we were once spiritually dead, God makes us alive by indwelling us with His Holy Spirit. He gives us a perfect Spirit, His Spirit, and we become spiritually born. This is the first perfect transformation.

God’s not waiting until the end of our lives to make some final decision about whether we will be saved. Salvation happens the moment we place our faith in Christ. At that very moment, we cross over from death to life and God gives us a perfect Spirit.

Very truly I tell you, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.” John 5:24

God’s Holy Spirit coming to live inside of us, that perfect Spirit now inside of every believer, is the first perfect transformation. We now have a perfect Spirit, enabling us to communicate and commune with God, and to understand spiritual truth.

Notice that God’s Word says,

“…ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession…” Ephesians 1:13-14

This perfect Spirit coming to live inside us is described as the “earnest of our inheritance.” An earnest is a partial payment that is given as a guarantee that the full payment will be given at some future date. For example, when you buy a house, you often give the seller an earnest money deposit, which is a small portion of the total payment, as a guarantee that the full payment will be given at a future time.

The Holy Spirit is God’s earnest deposit, guaranteeing that the full “redemption of the purchased possession” will be fulfilled at a future date. When is this redemption? It is when God completes the perfect work He started in us, making us perfect, not just in Spirit, but also in body and soul, so that we can live with Him forever.

This is the first transformation: A perfect Spirit.

Which brings us to:

Transformation #2: A Perfect Body

The next step in God’s 4 perfect transformations is our bodies. God will give us perfect eternal bodies that will never die, never suffer disease or infirmity, and never decay.

“flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.” 1 Corinthians 15:50

For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. Romans 8:22-23

With Transformation #1, we received what is called here, “the firstfruits of the Spirit,” which is the Holy Spirit coming to live within us as that “earnest deposit,” that partial payment God gave us, guaranteeing that the full redemption would occur in time. It says that all creation is waiting, even groaning, for that great event when God will give us our eternal bodies.  

Paul, comparing our present body to our eternal body: “It (our present mortal body) is sown in corruption; it (our eternal body) is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. 1 Corinthians 15:42-44

The redemption of our bodies will occur in a split second of time, the moment of the rapture. In an instant, God will call His beloved, those who have placed their faith in Christ, to be with Him and remove them instantly from the earth to meet Him in the air. He will call us and, in that moment, our bodies will be changed from corruptible mortal bodies to eternal glorified bodies.

Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” 1 Corinthians 15:51-55

Exactly what these eternal spiritual bodies will be like we are not told. But Scripture does make one point very clear: that our spiritual bodies will be like the resurrected, glorious body of Jesus:

“…we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body…” Philippians 3:20-21

“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.” 1 John 3:2

We will not be spirits floating around for eternity, but will have a new kind of flesh and bone body that can be touched, that can eat and enjoy life, and yet be totally indestructible. For Jesus said about His own resurrected body:

“Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.” Luke 24:39

There will be some amazing aspects to this new body, such as shining forth the light of God and being able to travel through physical objects. Our bodies will be material and yet spiritual.

“And (Jesus) was transfigured before them: and His face did shine as the sun, and His raiment was white as the light.” Matthew 17:2

Speaking of Jesus being able to enter the room even though the doors were shut: “And after eight days again His disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.” John 20:26

Whatever these new bodies will be like, one thing is certain: we will reflect the very glory of God.

“Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” Matthew 13:43

“When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” Colossians 3:4

Importantly, these bodies will be clothed in a way that reflects the glory of God. There are two aspects to how we will be clothed:

First, we will be clothed in white raiment that reflects the holiness and sinless purity of Christ.

“He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before His angels.” Revelation 3:5

I love this verse because it’s one of the strongest verses in the Bible that proves a believer can never lose their salvation. A lot of people who believe you can lose your salvation point to this verse and say the opposite, that it proves you CAN lose your salvation, because it says only those who overcome will be saved. And to them, overcoming means walking in obedience after you are saved and turning from all sin. Those who do not walk obediently are not overcomers and will lose their salvation. But these people do not interpret Scripture correctly, for the author John tells us what it means to be an overcomer:

“Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” 1 John 5:5

An overcomer is simply someone who believes in Jesus. We overcome the world not by our own obedience, but by placing our faith in Christ. And to ALL those who believe, Jesus promises He will NEVER blot their names out of the Book of Life. Salvation can never be lost because it’s not based on something we do, but on the promise of God.

But notice here is says our new perfect bodies will be clothed in white raiment. This speaks of how we will stand before God in righteousness. Speaking of the Church:

“…to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.” Revelation 19:8

The interesting thing about this is that, as saved believers, we have no righteousness of our own. This is not speaking of our righteousness that comes from us doing good deeds, obeying God’s laws or ridding ourselves of sin. This is speaking of the imputed righteousness that God gives us when we place our faith in Christ. Our righteousness is that we have Christ living inside us and so, for all eternity, we will stand in His righteousness. 

“For He (God) hath made Him (Jesus) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

Christ is our righteousness, our only righteousness. It’s all about Jesus. 

But there’s a second way our new perfect bodies will be clothed: We will be given crowns and rewards for the good works we have done on earth as we live out our faith. This event of receiving rewards is called the Judgment Seat of Christ and it happens immediately after the rapture. 

“For we must all appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” 2 Corinthians 5:10

The Judgment Seat of Christ is only for believers, those who have been saved by placing their trust in Jesus. No unbeliever will appear at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Unbelievers will be judged later at the Great White Thrown Judgment where all will be condemned to Hell for their sin.

But at the Judgment Seat of Christ, no one will be condemned. It is not something to be feared. It is not a place where Jesus will examine sin in our lives. For a believer in Christ, sin has already been dealt with, or judged, at the cross. That’s why the Bible says:

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Romans 8:1

The Judgment Seat of Christ is a place of rewards for faithful service. The Greek word for the phrase “Judgment Seat of Christ,” is the word “bēma.” In that day, a bēma was a raised platform where winners of the early Olympics would stand to receive their awards. The Judgment Seat of Christ is a place of celebration, of receiving eternal rewards.

“And when the Chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” 1 Peter 5:4

What we do in this life after we are saved matters. Those who serve faithfully within the Body of Christ will be given many crowns. Those who did less for Christ will receive fewer rewards.

While salvation is based on faith alone, the eternal rewards we well receive in heaven which we will wear with honor for eternity will be based on the good works that we did on earth because of our faith. And it is at the Judgment Seat of Christ that we will be examined as to how well we served Jesus on earth. This will determine our rewards:

Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. “ 1 Corinthians 3:13-15

Notice in this verse that no one loses their salvation at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Even those believers who wasted their lives and gifts and never served Jesus on this earth after believing in Him will still be saved. They will lose rewards that they could have had but, as it says here, “he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” 

And what will we do with these rewards, these crowns? We will cast them at our Savior’s feet in worship. The glory isn’t ours. It’s His.

The four and twenty elders fall down before Him that sat on the throne, and worship Him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” Revelation 4:10-11

So to sum up: Our present earthly bodies are not suitable to live with our perfect holy God. So God will fix this by transforming our lowly bodies into eternal bodies that are perfect in every way, that are clothed in the righteousness of Christ, and are made for spending eternity with God. This is the second transformation: A perfect body.

Transformation #3: A Perfect Soul

Having a perfect Spirit and a perfect body is not enough to live with God. After we receive our perfect bodies, each person’s soul needs to be transformed as well because it has been corrupted by sin and this earthly life. 

Again, our soul includes things like our:

  • Identity –  our personality, uniqueness, individuality and character
  • Mind – our ability to think, reason and acquire knowledge
  • Emotions – our feelings and desires, often called our “heart”
  • Senses – our ability to connect to our physical bodies and this world through hearing, seeing, touching, smelling and tasting
  • Conscience – our ability to understand right from wrong
  • Will – our ability to choose what we will say, do and think

Just like with the transformation of our bodies, Scripture does not list in detail all the ways in which God will perfect our souls. But God’s Word does reveal a few of these changes:

First, our minds will be expanded greatly. 

“For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12

When we appear with Christ, we shall know fully even as we are fully known. Our knowledge will increase greatly. All the confusions of this earthly life will be gone. Our knowledge of God will be increased.

“And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.” Hebrews 8:11

We will have extensive knowledge of history, even history of what took place before the earth was made. For God’s Word says:

“Do you not know that we shall judge angels?” 1 Corinthians 6:3

Think about what that means. Angels existed before the earth was made, for in Garden of Eden, Satan, who is a fallen angel, was already there in his fallen state. God’s war with angels started long before He formed mankind. For us to be able to judge angels means that we will have to be given understanding of what took place in the angelic realms eons ago. And we’re not talking just a superficial understanding but a very detailed understanding, for we are to judge each individual angel. Our minds and our understanding will be greatly transformed.

Second, we will no longer be subject to sin.

On earth, sin is a part of our nature. But in our resurrected bodies, that old nature will be completely eradicated. We will no longer be subject to sin. We will be sinless, allowing us to live in harmony with God. 

“the dead shall be raised incorruptible 1 Corinthians 15:52″

“Incorruptible” means “that which cannot be corrupted.” It will be impossible for us to sin. That doesn’t mean God will eradicate our free will. But with our increased capacity to understand God and with our intimate union with Christ for all eternity, we will simply not sin anymore.  

We also see that sin will be eradicated by this statement about the future state of our living with God:

“there shall be no more death” Revelation 21:4

For Paul tells us:

“the wages of sin is death;” Romans 6:23

If there’s no more death, then there cannot be any more sin. Sin will be gone from our lives for good.

In our present earthly life, our new perfect Spirit within us battles constantly with the flesh. But God declares that He will fix that problem:

“And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me. Jeremiah 32:40

God will give us a new heart and a new mind that allows us to live without sin so that we never depart from Him so as to sin again. The best part of about all this is that it will not be up to us to keep ourselves from sinning in heaven. God will enable us to live obediently unlike any obedience we could muster up ourselves:

“Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,” Jude 24

 Notice how it is God who keeps us from falling, not our own works of obedience. God will transform our very souls so that we can exist with Him in a sinless state. What a relief it will be to live in harmony with God with absolutely no sin to come between us.

Third, and this is the most important part of the transformation of our soul: We will be married to Christ and live in intimate union with Him.

In Genesis 2:18, God said:

“It is not good that the man should be alone;” Genesis 2:18

God did not create us to live in isolation, but in close intimacy. So He created woman and gave us marriage. In the New Testament, we learn that marriage is a picture of our future union with Christ. 

For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Ephesians 5:31-32

How interesting that God gave us marriage on earth so that we could understand something far greater that He has planned for us: our eternal marriage to Christ. 

In Revelation 19, before Jesus returns to earth as King of kings and Lord of lords, an incredible event happens in heaven: the Marriage of the Lamb.

Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him: for the Marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Revelation 19:7-9

One of the many reasons I believe in a pre-tribulational rapture is because of this verse, where we see the church in heaven being married to Christ. This marriage occurs immediately BEFORE the return of Christ to earth, which is described later in the chapter. Before Jesus comes back to earth, the church is already in heaven.

Whether you believe in a pre-trib rapture, post-trib rapture of no rapture at all, it doesn’t affect the outcome foretold in Scripture of our eternal marriage to Christ. Only the timing will vary based on which rapture scenario is the correct one. I believe in a pre-trib rapture, but regardless, the Bible says our souls will be united with Christ in marriage.

And let’s not be mistaken about who the bride is here. This verse refers to the bride as “saints.” This technically could refer to the church, or to tribulation saints who have been beheaded during the 7-year tribulation or to the Old Testament saints of Israel. But lest we be in error here, let’s let Scripture define who this is:

Paul, speaking to the church: “Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to Him who is raised from the dead…” Romans 7:4

“…I have espoused you to one Husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:2

For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Ephesians 5:25-32

Scripture is clear: the church is the bride of Christ.

God said back in Genesis 2:18:

“It is not good that the man should be alone;” Genesis 2:18

God didn’t just mean this for our time on earth. He meant this for all eternity. God made us, not to live in isolation, but to live in intimate relationship with Him forever. This very act, this Marriage of the Lamb, is the completion of our perfect souls. Never again will we feel abandoned, downcast, alone or lonely, isolated or unloved. Earthly marriage is a picture of the ultimate intimacy we will have one day with Christ. We will have such an intimate, personal and fulfilling relationship with Jesus that it will complete every desire, every need that we will ever have. I believe this intimacy is what will keep us, in our free will, from ever desiring to sin again. Our oneness with Christ is what will keep us sinless and pure and is, I believe, what Jesus was referring to when He prayed for “oneness” for all who believe in Him:

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: John 17:20-21

The “oneness” that is experienced between a husband and wife, and even our “oneness” with Christ on this earth as believers, will pale in comparison to the “oneness” we will experience for all eternity as the bride of Christ. 

The Marriage of the Lamb marks the completion of the third transformation: A perfect soul.

And from this point forward, Matthew 5:48 is fulfilled:

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:48

We will be transformed and made perfect in Spirit, body and soul to live with our perfect heavenly Father for all eternity. It is all the work of God, not something we do or strive to attain. And it’s all about Jesus, glorifying Him, and about the Father presenting His Son with a perfect bride.

But God’s not done yet. We have one more perfect transformation left:

Transformation #4: Perfect Heavens and Earth

The heavens and earth have been corrupted by sin and rebellion against God and are, therefore, unsuitable for perfect God and His now perfect bride to dwell in forever. So God declares that He will destroy the current heavens and earth with tremendous heat and will make a new heaven and a new earth:

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up… Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” 2 Peter 3:10, 13

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her Husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” Revelation 21:1-4

This new creation will happen after the seven-year tribulation, after the second coming of Christ to this earth, after the 1,000 year millennial reign of Christ on earth, and after God judges those who chose not to believe in Christ, a final judgment called, the Great White Throne Judgment. Only unbelievers will be judged here, those who have rejected Christ, and all of them will be cast into the lake of fire. 

This great judgment will mark the end of all rebellion against God. All sin and all sinners who never trusted Christ will be judged and dealt with, and will be purged from God’s presence forever. God is perfectly holy and He will judge everything that is not perfectly holy. No believer in Christ will be judged here, for our sins have already been judged at the cross. We will not be judged because we stand in perfect holiness, which is the holiness of Christ Himself. He alone is our righteousness. 

Do you know with certainty that you will not be at this Great White Throne judgment, that God will not cast you into that lake of fire? I hope that doesn’t happen to you, for your sake. But if you are not sure, in a moment, I’ll give you an opportunity to know with certainty that you will not be one of those who are judged. But let’s move on.

Following this great judgment, God will create a new heaven and earth for Him to live forever in with His perfect bride. We don’t know a lot about this new creation from Scripture, but some things we are told:

  • There will be no more sea.
  • The new Jerusalem will be sparkling, like a bride. It doesn’t say the new Jerusalem is the bride, just that it is “as” a bride, referring to the purity and holiness of this eternal dwelling God is creating.
  • The new Jerusalem is where God and His bride, the church, will live together for eternity.
  • There will be no death, sorrow, crying or pain
  • There will be no temple
  • No sun or moon
  • For the glory of God will be our light:

And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.” Revelation 21:22-23

The Bible begins with God creating the heavens and the earth and declaring that His creation was good. And it ends with God finally dealing with sin and recreating the heavens and earth so that perfect God, with His now perfect bride can live together in a perfect place. 

So with all this that we’ve been through, we see that when Jesus spoke in Matthew 5:48, saying:

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:48

He wasn’t speaking of spiritual maturity at all, but He was prophesying about the very end state of mankind, how we will live with God in perfection for all eternity. It is all the work of God. And to God be all the glory.

Before I end, lest I end this on just a theological note and not a practical note, I’m reminded of what Peter said:

“Seeing then that all these things (the present heavens and the earth) shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? “ 2 Peter 3:11

Time is running very short, people. Make sure you are saved. Get rid of sin in your life. Live for the King. Let’s us use the time we have on earth wisely, walking in obedience and holiness before God, not because we could lose our salvation if we don’t, because we can’t never lose our salvation, but obey out of reverence for God and love for Him Who promises to do all these things for us. 

“Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9

 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18


“Let your heart therefore be perfect with the Lord our God, to walk in His statutes, and to keep His commandments, as at this day.” 1 Kings 8:61


“when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.” 1 Corinthians 13:10 


Finally, I do this in all my videos, if you are not 100% sure that you are saved, that if you died today, God would welcome you into heaven, I urge you to make your commitment to Jesus secure right now. Here’s a prayer for salvation that you can pray. But keep in mind that a prayer does not save you. You are saved only when you place your trust in Jesus alone, believing in your heart that He died to pay your debt of sin to God and that He rose from the dead to show you the eternal life that He offers. This prayer, then, is just a way of formalizing that decision, putting a stake in the ground, saying that you are trusting in Him and never going back. If that’s what you would like to do, please pray with me:

“Lord, I have sinned and I need you to save me. I believe that Your Son Jesus died on the cross to pay for my sins and that He rose from the dead to show us the new eternal life You have for us. I believe solely in Jesus to save me, that He paid my debt of sin 100%. Please forgive my sins and save me now, Lord, according to your promises. In Jesus Name.”

If you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, know right now that you are eternally saved.

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