“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” ~ Matthew 5:48
“… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God ….” ~ Romans 3:23
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” ~ 2 Peter 3:9
“… Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” ~ Matthew 7:22-23
There is no point in mistaking the ideal for the reality (or vice-versa) in scripture. The Lord has expectations of us, but they are not unreasonable. He was a perfect example; God decided that we needed and deserved that, and that only a perfect Sacrifice would prove worthy. But there is no indication in scripture that perfection is expected of us.
Instead, the perfection of Christ covers our imperfections.
The Ideal and the Reality:
“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” ~ Isaiah 53:5
“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” ~ 1 John 2:1-2
If God had expected perfection from us, expected nothing else, foresaw nothing else … there would have been no need for “… the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.” ~ Revelation 13:8.
Perfection should be our goal; we should aim no lower. We should yearn to be like Christ; to learn obedience as He did (Hebrews 5:8-9). He should be our Ideal.
But we should also have a sense of reality. We will not be perfect. We will need His perfection between ourselves and God, the vindication of His good and righteous will for us.
It is not what we do that saves us, but what He has done.
That is how the world will judge us: by what we say and by what we do. That is how the world will judge Him through us.
And that is how the world will be judged by Him.