Loving Our Enemies

“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:48

I am delighted by the content I have found on the Biblical subject of “perfect.” I am equally amazed at what I am learning from this perspective with respect to freedom and love.

I have been careful in the past to avoid using commentaries by Adam Clarke because of controversy surrounding some of his teachings (which you can read briefly here). I am making an exception today because I find his insight impressive.

This controversy compelled me to do research into the background of this inspiring man. Not surprisingly, I found him to be respected by many in spite of his differences. Charles Spurgeon quoted the following, from Commenting and Commentaries:

Adam Clarke is the great annotator of our Wesleyan friends; and they have no reason to be ashamed of him, for he takes rank among the chief of expositors. His mind was evidently fascinated by the singularities of learning, and hence his commentary is rather too much of an old curiosity shop, but it is filled with valuable rarities, such as none but a great man could have collected… I do not wonder that Adam Clarke still stands, notwithstanding his peculiarities, a prince among commentators (emphasis mine).

I was considering removing his comments from my new blog site. However now that I have an awareness of his basic beliefs and his approach to the Scriptures, you may be seeing more of him from time to time.

The following quote is from Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible:

Be ye therefore perfect - as your Father - God Himself is the grand law, sole giver, and only pattern of the perfection which He recommends to his children.

The words are very emphatic, εσεσθε ουν υμεις τελειοι, Ye shall be therefore perfect - ye shall be filled with the spirit of that God whose name is Mercy, and whose nature is love.

God has many imitators of His power, independence, justice, etc., but few of His love, condescension, and kindness. He calls Himself Love, to teach us that in this consists that perfection, the attainment of which He has made both our duty and privilege: for these words of our Lord include both a command and a promise.

"Can we be fully saved from sin in this world?" is an important question, to which this text gives a satisfactory answer: "Ye shall be perfect, as your Father, who is in heaven, is perfect." - As in His infinite nature there is no sin, nothing but goodness and love, so in your finite nature there shall dwell no sin, “for the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus shall make you free from the law of sin and death,” Romans 8:2 (emphasis mine).

God shall live in, fill, and rule your hearts; and, in what He fills and influences, neither Satan nor sin can have any part. If men, slighting their own mercies, cry out, this is impossible! - Whom does this arguing reprove - God, who, on this ground, has given a command, the fulfillment of which is impossible.

"But who can bring a clean out of an unclean thing?" God Almighty - and, however inveterate the disease of sin may be, the grace of the Lord Jesus can fully cure it; and who will say, that He who laid down His life for our souls will not use His power completely to effect that salvation which He has died to procure.

"But where is the person thus saved?" Wherever he is found who loves God with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength, and his neighbor as himself; and, for the honor of Christianity and its Author, may we not hope there are many such in the Church of God, not known indeed by any profession of this kind which they make, but by a surer testimony, that of uniformly holy tempers, piety to God, and beneficence to man?