Friday, May 27, 2016

Perfection and Marriage

When Jesus taught in Matthew 5:48 "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your father which is in heaven is perfect," I think that it's interesting that He didn't tell us to be perfect like Him. Why is that? After all, He was perfect, wasn't He? Maybe perfection requires more than just an absence of sin and a multitude of good works, though.

The definition of the word perfect has changed some over the ages. The original meaning was that of being finished, completed, or even whole. I think this sheds some light on why Jesus would tell us to be perfect like His father, rather than like Him.

First, Heavenly Father is the finished, complete, and whole of perfection. He is the Father, the great Elohim, the Eternal God. Jesus, while also a God, was still on the earth, still in the midst of His mortal ministry, and as such couldn't have been said to have been finished. He still had work to do.

Second, and this may be a stretch for some, is that Heavenly Father is married. He is complete and whole because He has an eternal marriage partner. When Jesus taught about marriage, he said that "For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh." (Matthew 19:5) God instituted marriage from the beginning, and meant for it to be a way for a man and a woman to complete each other. Marriage was to take two halves and make a whole, hence the ability for two to become only one. The only way for two to be one mathematically is if the two are halves. And half of a person can never be whole, or perfect. This could mean that Jesus' teaching to be "perfect" also had application as a sermon on marriage.

The more that I read about marriage and its importance to our selves, families, and society, the more that I am convinced that it is not a man-made contract of convenience. It is a divinely appointed institution whereby we can learn to become more like our Father in Heaven. Marriage is a class that teaches us things we literally cannot and will not learn in any other way.


Stephanie Turner said...

I think it is also because he had not yet been perfected. When we read a similar scripture in 3 Nephi 12:48, it states, "Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect." He does include himself in this admonition, and I believe it is because he HAD been resurrected. He had returned to the presence of the Father and been made whole, complete, no longer even half mortal.

Stephanie Turner said...

Also, while the scriptures never speak of Jesus being married, do we actually know that he wasn't? It seems to me that if that is another commandment, that we are to be sealed in the temple by the holy preisthood in order to obtain the highest degree of Celestial glory, that he would have HAD to be, just like he HAD to be baptized, even though he had never committed any sin.

I would love to have more in depth conversation about this.

Mama D said...

I love the idea that in Matthew it states we should be perfect, even as our Father is perfect because Jesus had not yet finished his work. He was not yet complete. I have always loved the addition in 3 Nephi because Jesus had completed His earthly work at that point.

Ray and I have long believed Jesus was married. As Stephanie pointed out, He fulfilled commandments such as baptism even though He hadn't committed sin. Why would Heavenly Father and Jesus command marriage but not fulfill that law, as well?