The Hebrew Old and New Testaments have several words which the King James Version translates "perfect," so for the sake of simplification, I will use the Greek τελειος (teleios), used in Matthew 5:48. There are several variations of the word, τελειος, which are translated "complete," "mature," "finished," fulfill," etc., but it is Matthew 5:48 which causes believers to see themselves as failures. It says, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." From this verse, it is clear we are to be like God, and everyone who believes in God knows He is perfect (Deut 32:4; 2 Sam. 22:31); otherwise, to worship Him would be foolish. As I said in Part One, Christians are not yet perfect (like God), but we will be. Think of Christians, who are still living, as "caterpillars." When we die, or should the Rapture occur before then, we shall see Jesus (2 Cor. 5:8), and become "butterflies" like Him (1 Jn. 3:2).
The most important question is, "How does one become a 'caterpillar'?" First, we must believe that God loves man (Jn. 3:16), and He wants everyone to be saved (2 Pet. 3:9). Unfortunately, man keeps trying to become His child by means of religion (earning merit by avoiding sin, and doing good works). The rich young ruler is a perfect example. In Matthew 19:16, he asked Jesus, "What good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?" "Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go [and] sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and... come [and] follow me" (v. 21). On another occasion when Jesus was asked the same question, He replied, "This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent" (Jn. 6:29). The Apostle Paul wrote that salvation is a gift (Eph. 2:8-9), that one is saved when they confess that Jesus is Lord and that God raised Him from the dead (Rom. 10:9-10).
Once a person has become a "caterpillar," he is on his way to becoming a "butterfly." When a biologist sees a caterpillar, he cannot help but think of the butterfly it will eventually become. When God looks at us, He sees the Christ-like one we are destined to be. And, like a caterpillar, there is work to be done before we our "metamorphosis." We need to "eat" the Word of God to grow strong. And, just as a caterpillar has within itself the knowledge of what it must do to prepare for its cocoon (death), we have the Holy Spirit within us guiding us in preparing for our change (Rom. 7:24; 1 Cor. 3:16; Phil. 1:6; 2:13). Paul also wrote, "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal [must] put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory" (1 Cor. 15:52-54). To God be the glory! Amen!