In both the New Testament and Book of Mormon, Christ commanded his followers to be perfect. This commandment can sometimes feel impossible to achieve because it seems to imply a picture perfect life. However, when we look at both the translations and context of these verses, we find that the commandment is surprisingly attainable. In many Old Testament scriptures, the word for perfect is connected to covenant keeping. In fact, the Greek word translated as perfect can also mean finished or completed.
This means that Christ may have been commanding us to be made whole through covenants. In fact, the context of the Book of Mormon seems to support this view. Before commanding us to be perfect, Christ spoke about new and old laws suggesting a covenant connection in the Book of Mormon. Christ commanded us to enter into the covenant of baptism so that we might be sanctified and spotless at the last day. Therefore, the way in which we are to be perfect is by committing to follow Christ through covenants made in baptism or in the temple.
As we strive to keep our covenants, Christ’s atonement will continuously cleanse us unto perfection. And now you know why.