Contrary to what the world says, the Bible does speak of attainable perfection. Thus, most people will say, “No one is perfect” when excusing someone or themselves of a fault. But if one searches the Bible, there are many mentions of the perfect man and his qualities. If one does a search for “perfect” in the Bible, there are countless references to the “perfect man.”
Looking at verse 6 of this psalm and at all the mentions of “perfection” in the Bible, one can only think: Is holy perfection possible? As Christians we are made “perfect” because of Christ’s perfection, and we are commanded to be perfect as God is perfect. But again: Is such holy perfection possible? The traits of the perfect man as listed in this psalm are challenging indeed.
A few examples. Can one set no wicked things before one’s eyes or turn one’s eyes away evil suddenly pops up? Can one turn aside from looking at the work of those who turn aside? What exactly is the work of those who turn aside? How can one commit to not “knowing” a froward person without being judgmental or isolated from others? Have I privily slandered my neighbor? Have I worked deceit by being subtly ambiguous and spoken out of both sides of my mouth when faced with a controversial issue?
Clearly, this is a psalm that makes the reader uncomfortable. Yet the psalmist declares he will sing of mercy and judgment. Why? Because those who aim to behave wisely and perfectly truly understand God’s mercy toward their imperfection.
1I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O LORD, will I sing.
2I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.
3I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.
4A froward heart shall depart from me: I will not know a wicked person.
5Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer.
6Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: he that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me.
7He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight.
8I will early destroy all the wicked of the land; that I may cut off all wicked doers from the city of the LORD.