Faith of Jesus Daily Devotional - Day 15
Previous Context: devotion:Matthew:5:17-20
We have come from a place in this sermon of considering where a righteousness based upon the work of Christ (received by the poor of spirit/meek/hungering and thirsty/pure of heart/willing to be persecuted for His name's sake/etc..) (the collection of followers that He makes to be salt and reflection of His light) greatly exceeds the works based righteousness (minus Christ) of say the Pharisees. This exceeding is grounded upon a promise going all the way back to kjv@Genesis:3 of God not man providing a covering for man's sin and bringing to utter destruction the serpent's rule by one Messianic seed.
What is God doing?
Now we come to the first example of how for the follower of Jesus that this exceeding righteousness might look. Remember that the follower is poor of spirit, he knows and accepts that nothing that he is able to say or do is going to be sufficient to satisfy God's mark for man, it is rather what Christ's work has done for us. Remember also that he or she is also hungry and thirsty for righteousness, not his or hers righteousness, but the righteousness of Christ brought over them. Christ fulfills the Law and also the promise.
God therefore is doing one thing/the same thing HE has been doing all along, laying out the case for man's desperate need of a savior and establishing that savior to be everything that righteousness demands in order for said savior to fully accomplish all that God the Father has promised.
What is man doing?
Man is replacing the Christ factor in this equation with the self factor, it remains what man is able to do for himself for God instead of what God for HIMSELF has done for man. Take the concept of murder. Man is approaching it that if he does this (not kill) for God that he has done well, he has earned himself points with God. It is not that he has done extra, it is that he has done what is minimally expected. But has he done even that?
In our shortsightedness we consistently fail to see that it is not just murder when someone dies physically because of it, it is murder also because someone is as good as dead to you in your mind, it is murder because you go to the alter as if nothing has happened and the other person's (or knowing congregation's) image of God and Church are damaged because of it, it is murder because you were not meek enough nor pure enough in heart to rectify the situation while there was time left to do something about it, it is murder because the covering of Christ is not being used and the act/attitude remains in full judgment and penalty.
So a man keeps himself from killing another, what then has been accomplished? Something exceptional and exceeding? Or the minimum requirement (kinda sorta)? Let's score it another way, how much has the righteousness of Jesus Christ had an influence upon the man that nothing else humanly generated could have? Has it affected him in his anger? in his is spirit of reconciliation? in his humility and sincerity and truthfulness? in his avoidance of hypocrisy, disrepute and accusation and further judgment? It is a much different score sheet indeed. There should be no earthly comparison between the man cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ lead of the Holy spirit and the Christ-less legalistic religious fanatic nor anyone else for that matter.
What does this passage tell us about the about the commands and faith of Jesus that saints are to keep/guard?
The Law or commandment is never fulfilled completely by anyone other than Christ alone; ever. Righteousness requires that this completely be fulfilled before we can have true fellowship with our just and Holy God. Thus it is our faith in Him depending solely upon His fulfillment and God's resulting mercy that covers us, that effects upon us. If it is the commandment to love God with our entire heart/soul/mind/strength, then it is only possible then because of Christ's fulfilling work upon us. If it is to love thy neighbor, it is because of precisely the same. If it is to love our enemy, it is not because of anything less.
I will end with a question to ponder over the rest of today: Just a few verses ago we learned to think of this sermon as being addressed by Jesus to the "yous" plural on the mountain side, the collective body of Christ, the salt of the earth and the light lighting the entire room. Does this passage differ? Could it be said "yous" shall not kill? If a brother have ought with "yous"? While "yous" are at the alter? Whom are "yous" angry at without cause? In so doing are we not murdering the image of Christ publicly?
Next: devotion:Matthew:5:27-30 Adultery