Is God perfect?
Question: "Is God perfect?"
Answer: Perfect means “without flaw.” God is perfect in every way. He is flawless. “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” (Deuteronomy 32:4).
Being perfect, God is the standard by which everything else will be measured. It would be impossible for God to be imperfect because that would mean that another standard has found a flaw in Him. But whose standard would that be? If there is another standard higher than God’s standard, then that means God is subject to judgment by something else, making that other thing god. Humanity often tries to elevate its own opinions above God’s decrees, thereby implying that He is flawed. Any time someone says, “If I were God, I would do such and such” or “If I were God, I would never do this or that,” he reveals his own haughty spirit, not the imperfection of God. When we judge God by our own standards, we are in effect placing ourselves on His throne.
Psalm 18:30 says that all God does and says is perfect: “As for God, his way is perfect: The LORD’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.” God’s perfection is seen in His character, His Word, and His actions.
1. His character. A person’s character is the sum total of all the qualities that make a person an individual. Character is displayed in words and actions but is not limited by words or actions. We call God’s character qualities His attributes. When the Bible describes the nature of God, it uses the word is. For example, 1 John 4:16 says that “God is love.” This means that God does not just possess loving feelings; He is all that love means (1 Corinthians 13:4–8). Love is His nature. God perfectly defines love.
God is also faithful. First Corinthians 1:9 says, “God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” That means that those whom God chose to redeem and justify He keeps. God will not lose anyone who desires to be saved. His faithfulness sustains us even when we are unfaithful to Him (2 Timothy 2:13). The perfect faithfulness of God means that He remains the same regardless of circumstances or human behavior. If He said it, He will do it (Isaiah 46:9–11). If He declares it to be so, then it is so.
God is just, and perfectly so (2 Thessalonians 1:6). We get our innate sense of justice from our Creator, who embodies justice. All hints of fairness or righteousness found in us have their completeness in a perfect God. Even His forgiveness is just because, for the believer, sin has already been punished in Christ (1 John 1:9). The perfection of God’s justice means God pronounces those who are in Christ “not guilty”—to do otherwise would be to punish the same offense twice, and that would be unjust.
2. His Word. Jesus prayed to the Father, “Sanctify them by the truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:17). We make the critical observation in this verse that Jesus did not merely say that God’s Word is true, an adjective that means “not false.” Rather, He used the noun truth. Jesus equated God’s written Word, the Bible, with absolute truth. Any idea that claims to be truth but is contrary to God’s Word is not truth. Since God is perfect, every word He speaks is also perfect.
3. His actions. God’s actions have sometimes puzzled people and created skepticism in those who wonder whether God is perfect. Some of His actions, particularly in the Old Testament, are difficult to understand and may even seem cruel to our understanding. Moses, “whom the LORD knew face to face” (Deuteronomy 34:10), wrote that God “does no wrong” (Numbers 20:12). This same Moses was barred from the Promised Land, but he still saw God’s perfection in all His actions. Moses knew that, if he did not like or understand something God did, it was he, not God, who needed to change.
When we evaluate some of God’s actions from our own perspective, we can unwittingly set ourselves in judgment over God. That is a dangerous position to hold because God is our judge; we are not His. We must relinquish our perceived right to adjudge and approve of God’s methods. When we begin our quest for understanding with the premise that God is right, we gain greater insight (Proverbs 3:5–6).
God is perfect; we are not. But when He saves us, the Holy Spirit moves in and begins to transform our imperfections (1 Corinthians 6:19–20). God’s goal is that we become “conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29). Although we know we will never attain absolute perfection in this fallen world, He wants us to pursue it (Hebrews 12:14; 1 Peter 1:14–16). The pursuit itself is of great value because we are working in harmony with what God desires for us. God is perfect. Jesus is perfect. We become perfected as we keep our eyes on Him and seek to imitate Him in every choice we make (Hebrews 12:2–3; Ephesians 5:1).
Recommended Resource: Knowing God by J.I. Packer
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