If our righteousness must surpass that of the Pharisee to enter the
kingdom, should we be perfect as our Father in heaven is? Are there any
exceptions according to Christ? It seems that the scriptures say you must
be perfect according to the Gospels, but Paul mentions grace. Yet Christ
never mentions the word grace.

I am going to guess that this question is coming from Matthew
5:48, where Jesus said to the people during the “Sermon on the Mount,” “Be
perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” It is important
in reading Matthew 5:48 to bear in mind the Greek word which is translated
as perfect. This is the word teleon, which can be translated as perfect,
complete or mature. The subject of Matthew chapter five is moving on from
the less mature and less complete law of Moses to the more mature and more
complete law of Christ. Jesus gives several examples in the sermon of a
law in the Old Testament, such as not committing adultery, which Jesus
extends to not even lusting after a woman. Matthew 5:48 is not a call to
human beings to be without sin, which is impossible. It is a call to
follow the more perfect, complete, mature law of Christ, which is found in
the New Testament.

Yes, Paul does talk about grace many times. Paul makes it
perfectly clear that salvation is not about being perfect, but is about
being made perfect through the blood of Jesus. 1 John chapter one makes
it clear that anyone who claims to be without sin is a liar. John also
makes it clear that anyone who seeks to come to God must, nevertheless,
make a conscious decision to leave their life of sin and come into the

You are correct in saying that Jesus in never recorded as saying
the word grace in the gospels. That certainly does not mean he never said
the word!!! Nevertheless, anyone who can read the words of Jesus and not
agree that Jesus taught the concept of grace had better read again. Jesus
told the parable of the lost son. Jesus talked about his Father’s house
with its many rooms which he has prepared for us. Jesus called himself
the good Shepherd and the resurrection and the life. Jesus said anyone
who would come to him would receive eternal life. Jesus is the author of
grace. He may call us to repent of our sons, to be mature and complete,
but he never said we must be without sin to come to God.

John Oakes

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