Faith of Jesus Daily Devotional - Day 14
Previous Context: devotion:Matthew:5:13-16 Salt and Light
It is our current exercise to attempt to hold our devotion to one continuous thread of context throughout this sermon. Each new passage thereafter expands on the introduction. In the introduction, I proposed a set of qualifiers or benchmarks had been given for us not to forget as we attempt to understand better the meaning of this sermon to our lives.
- They are poor in spirit.
- They mourn.
- The are meek.
- They hunger and thirst for righteousness.
- They are merciful.
- They are pure in heart.
- They are peacemakers.
- They are persecuted for righteousness sake.
The absence or opposite of these things goes a long way in describing the corruption man finds himself under. The presence of these things likewise indicates the better direction towards recognizing and acknowledging our condition as saints in comparison to the incomparable holiness of God.
This initial context the was immediately then compounded picturing the individual as being part of a much larger collective body to be though of as salt or light or city. THe two concepts cannot be separated. The body is known by instilling these benchmark attributes upon itself and it's individual members (the yous); this instillation is the good works observed by others that affords God HIS praise.
Today we find this compound (individual/collective and benchmarks) at work in the lives of transformed believers in the form of an envisioned exceeding righteousness. The Church that teaches and creates an environment around it's members to thrive in this exceeding righteousness is the Church that truly begins to puts these benchmarks into action. An individual within the group that acts and/or teaches the abolishment of the law/prophets to others in any form is termed the least that might enter the future kingdom heaven.
What is God doing?
It is now declared that God (whom Jesus is obeying) has not sent HIS Promised One to destroy the Law in any fashion nor the Prophets. Now the Law is a very tricky thing to consider. If anybody is to be justified by the Law, we know from the wealth of other scripture that they must in fact keep all the Law, every jot and tittle. No man has ever done this. Some perhaps in a very relative human way, but none to the extent that would satisfy the holy and just demands of their Most Holy God. Else Jesus would not had to die for every man upon the cross.
The Law remains perfect however for what it was intended to do. In order for God to walk man through the process, HE needed a vehicle to show man his most urgent need, a need not he by his own determination or strength could not fulfill nor could the Law without Christ. Recall that God did not promise to Eve a Law that her seed could climb back up to get out of the cavernous death they two had fallen into, it was a promise for a living seed.
What I am saying is that the Law has a rightful duty or obligation to show us our failing, it brings about the knowledge that we are sinners in need of a redeeming Christ. Take away or diminish that Law and there is no longer that same knowledge and the need for Christ is less likely to become evident. Note that the Law was also given as the backbone of this chosen Israeli nation; it would certainly do no good for the nation to become lawless.
What is man doing?
Here is where our benchmarks come in. Here is why to a large extent we are failing at the Law. Here is why one may be acting and teaching as if the law/prophets are now done away with.
- We are not poor in spirit.
- We do not truly mourn.
- We are not are meek.
- We do not hunger and thirst for God's form of righteousness.
- We are not merciful.
- We are not pure in heart.
- We are not peacemakers.
- We shy away from being persecuted for righteousness sake.
What is mercy? Without the example of God's would any of us really know? Often what what we have called mercy was something that should have been punished that really wasn't in our hands to miter out anyway. That is not mercy, it is thinking that you are in the right and thinking that you are in the position of authority when you really are not.
As long as we are not any of these benchmarks, not to the extent or direction intended, we are not in any fashion pure of heart even though a great many would think that they are; if not in their actions at least in their intentions. To the some this impurity of heart means that everything/all things as they see it are defiled, especially those things/people that claim one thing in particular (like the Bible) to be pure. In their eye there is something wrong with everything/everyone else, there is no pure religion, no pure intent, no pure truth, there is something to be suspicious about in everything; truth is personal and relative. More and more this is what is meant by "an open mind"; a mind that rejects all things or is determined not to commit to any particular thing.
Rather most of us are stout compromisers; that is our attempt at peace. To each his own so it is said and to each it is. This does not bring about peace however, it brings about those who are uncompromising and aggressive enough in their own self righteousness to oppressively rule over us which brings about rebellion and angst. Man cannot be at peace with himself because he himself is not at peace with God and he cannot be at peace with others because neither are they.
Bring oneself and other to peace with God/themselves/others does not bring about peace with God's many enemies; it brings about persecution. No one seeks to be persecuted, typically though we do attempt to hide from it. We certainly applaud others who submit themselves to it, but just as certainly we would not do anything ourselves that would place us in similar jeopardy.
Therefore, because of these key things we do not keep the Law else we are very poor at it.
What does this passage tell us about the about the commands and faith of Jesus that saints are to keep/guard?
We come to the conclusion of this passage where it is stated "That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven". Note that there has been identified people who will be least and also people who will not even enter at all.
We New Testament saints attempt to keep the commandments and faith of Jesus Christ. In Revelations there we are at the judgment seat of God on the great and terrible Day of Judgment. What is to make us any different than the scribes and Pharisees of old before us? By the implication of this passage it is not that we avoided or did away with the Law, no it is because that in Christ (whom completely fulfilled the Law as no other could) we found (we brought into) the indwelling of HIS Holy Ghost whom wrote those Laws upon the tablets our hearts and made us to be capable of keeping the actual spirit contained within those Laws in Christ.
How did HE do that? HE made us to be poor of spirit/to mourn/to be meek/to hunger and thirst for righteousness/to be merciful in like kind/to be pure of heart/peacemakers/ and yes persecuted for HIS rigtheousness sake. In other words we were blessed! And happy are we (we's plural) in Him singularly being made "salt" and "light".
Next: devotion:Matthew:5:21-26 Murder