Meditating on the Judgements of God:
1.3 A Perfect God
Mt 5:48 “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect ”
We said previously, by way of laying a foundation to consider the judgments of God, that it is imperative that we consider first the character of God if we are to have any hope of understanding His judgments. We have noted that God is love and that God is good, and we have sought to put content to those two words.
But now we come to a third description of God and it was spoken by the Son himself: God is perfect. Because ‘perfection’ is a somewhat difficult concept to grab hold of, I am simply going to use the incredibly basic definition of “complete and faultless, cannot be improved upon”. The Greek (original) word for ‘perfect’ means whole or complete, lacking nothing. That is God! Complete!
Now we need to do the same as we did with love and goodness and now suggest that everything that God thinks, says or does is perfect and cannot be improved upon. Another way of putting it is that when God spoke or acted, what He said or did in those circumstances was the very best and could not have been improved upon. This is going to be really challenging because when we come across a judgment of God and there is death or destruction, the logic that we have been following through says that that has to be the best outcome and no other outcome would have been as good in the surrounding circumstances.
Now please note the words I have used – ‘surrounding circumstances’ – because God acts into time-space history as it is. When we come to specific judgements, as we hope to do shortly, we need to ask the Lord for wisdom and understanding to see these events as acts of love and goodness and be seen as acts that could not have been improved upon. That is the real challenge.
Now in the first meditation we identified the God who is revealed in the Bible as the Creator God who is all-powerful, all-wise and all-knowing, eternal and unchanging. Here are further points to ponder if God is perfect and complete:
- if God knows everything (to lack knowledge means He is not complete), then He will never be caught on the hop, never surprised by anything that happens and
- if His wisdom is perfect (because He lacks nothing – our definition above) then He will always know how to act or respond to whatever is happening, and
- if His power is unlimited (because He lacks nothing – our definition above, again) then He will be able to respond however He wants in accordance with that wisdom.
Do you start to see how significant this definition of ‘perfect’ is? He has no need to act with hostility towards us because we are not a threat to Him and He can never feel defensive. He is utterly capable of handling everything that ever happens.
In case you are note quite sure of the Scripture testimony we ought to pick up on one or two verses. “He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.” (Deut 32:4) Everything He does cannot be improved upon; there it is again!
“As for God, his way is perfect.” (2 Sam 22:31) The path that God walks, the way He operates, cannot be improved upon.
“Do you know how the clouds hang poised, those wonders of him who is perfect in knowledge?” (Job 37:16) He knows everything in nature! (Because He made it!)
“From Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth.” (Psa 50:2) We really cannot comprehend what perfect beauty means but that He is staggeringly wonderful as a Being.
What He does, the way He operates, what He knows and in His very being, He is perfect and even if we could (a foolish thought!) we could not possibly improve on Him. When, one day, we meet Him face to face we will realise these things as reality. This is why, when the prophets had heavenly visions (Isaiah, Ezekiel, John on Patmos), the prophets struggled to describe what they saw because it was beyond human comprehension and so they used the word ‘like’ again and again. He was ‘like’ this or that. He wasn’t this or that but that was the nearest their limited forms of expression could get to the wonder and the awe of His beauty, of His perfection.
Now, having set this framework in place, we need to hold on to them when we eventually start working our way through the Old Testament, examining each case where God brings His judgment to bear. Hold on to these three things (love, goodness, perfection) because they will appear as markers or signposts to guide us toward the truth about every situation, something that is usually in short supply when people speak on these matters. Let’s pray!