Faith of Jesus Daily Devotional - Day 16
Previous Context: devotion:Matthew:5:21-26 Murder/Anger
So here is another element of the law that is being held in front of us in order to examine the inner workings of the "salt" and "light" operating under Christ's influence exceeding in righteousness as a body and as individuals. This time the focus is on adultery/lust. Here are the benchmarks again in action. Here is the environment that the body is surrounding the individual believer in.
What is God doing?
We've described it as walking mankind step by step through a process leading to the comprehension of God's judgment, God's righteousness, God's mercy, God's extraordinary plan and design. All of this performed in the person of HIS Son from day one. It is not only an idea of HIS; fulfillment of it is HIS solemn promise.
Note that from the start of this section of His great sermon, Jesus has drawn attention to two of the most common symptoms of sin besetting mankind: Murder/Anger/Ought and Adultery/Lust/Impure Thoughts. Volumes could be written on either symptom, but Jesus is getting to a much deeper root cause: self/self image/self righteousness/self exaltation and the purposeful deliberate inbred distortion of God's image.
What is man doing?
Again, so a man has kept himself from committing adultery; what has he accomplished? something exemplary? the minimum requirement (kinda sorta)? Man has a tendency remember to minimize things, reduce them to a level that he is more willing to adopt. He compartmentalizes things to the point that any fault or leakage does not threaten his vast opinion of himself.
Again, it is not adultery just when it involves the physical act of intercourse with a person other than the legal spouse, it is adultery when it's in the imagination, when it is in the desires whether acted upon or not, it is not just because the the spouse might be offended if discovered, not just because a vow has been broken and there is guilt, but it is because the righteousness of Christ has not had it's due influence upon the heart and imagination.
The example later given by Christ of removing the offending body part illustrates the ridiculousness of the extremes that would have to be taken by a man or woman prone to this ill who by their power intend to avoid God's pending judgment minus Christ. Even at the point of being limbless and sightless, there would be no guaranty that the unruly desires of the heart would not be still ever present. It goes to show the depth and complexity, nay the impossibility of mankind resolving the issue on our own. In contrast, it also shows the exceeding nature of Christ's intended righteous influence upon each of us sinners; adulterous or not.
What does this passage tell us about the about the commands and faith of Jesus that saints are to keep/guard?
The process that we are being walked through has long included God's rightful placement of the biblical Law. The Law was never intended to be the full remedy for sin, no the Law has instead made the problem of sin to be so much more clearer. Man would much rather keep the Law himself than allow the much more profound influence of Christ over him. Just as he distorts the image of God and the image of himself and the image of the Devil and the image of a coworker or in-law, so too he distorts the image of the Law.
In the keeping of the commandments and faith of Jesus, the saints are to consider well what has long been attempted by human means (some methods most extreme), right and holy as the objective may be, but now in a highly influenced way that is Christ enabled/focused. The immediate battle may be against the lust of our flesh, but the battle later goes far beyond just that. Therefore, spiritual weapons must be adopted and trained to.
Next: devotion:Matthew:5:31-32 Divorce