Read: Genesis 17:1-8
I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect (Genesis 17:1).
Be Thou Perfect
Here is high country! It is a breath-taking command, but it is God’s command. What does it mean when God asks a man to be perfect? The Hebrew word is tamin. It is translated “perfect,” “upright,” or “sincere.” The word is used elsewhere of God’s character as well as for man, suggesting the possibility of a man resembling his God.
God does not here or elsewhere in the Bible ask absolute perfection of any man — not under any circumstances, or in any state of grace. Only God is beyond error. What was asked of Abraham and what God requires of us is that we shall walk before Him and live the kind of life that He has planned for men. The Berkeley Version translates it, “live in my presence: and be upright”; the Revised Standard Version, “walk before me, and be blameless.” A perfect life in God’s sight is a life conformed wholly to His will and made possible by His presence. Can any man quarrel with that?
Adam Clarke comments: “Be just such as the holy God would have thee to be, as the almighty God can make thee, and live as the all-sufficient God shall support thee; for He alone who makes the soul holy can preserve it in holiness… And who can doubt the possibility of its attainment, who believes in the omnipotent love of God, the infinite merit of the blood of atonement, and the all-pervading and all-purifying energy of the Holy Ghost?”
Truth For Today
In only three things is the child of God expected to be perfect: obedience, faith, and love. –
— E. S. Dunham