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Showing posts from July, 2015

Where is your reward? Matthew 6:1-4

We come at the beginning of this chapter to a new emphasis in this Sermon on the Mount.Our Lord began with the Beatitudes, which describe the character of the disciple of Christ, and then goes on to show how this character works itself out in the life of such a person.It causes them to be light and salt in this world.It makes them holy, not in the superficial way illustrated by the scribes and Pharisees, but in a way that was truly consistent with the righteousness of God’s Law.Now in this chapter our Lord describes the religious life of such a person and picks three acts of worship – giving alms, prayer, and fasting – to illustrate the difference between a true disciple and the religious world.
You see, the Christian is not just made different from the irreligious.In some sense, that’s a no-brainer.But more than that, a Christian is someone who is made different even from the religious world.In our Lord’s day, pretty much every one in Judea was religious in some way.The Jews were divi…

Love Your Enemies: Matthew 5:43-48

In this text, our Lord quotes the standard wisdom of the day: “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy” (v. 43).Now as we’ve been noting, Jesus is not in this Sermon railing against the Law.He is correcting Pharisaic distortions of the Law.However, many have noted that there isn’t a command to hate your enemy in the Old Testament.In fact, only the first part of this quotation appears in the OT: “You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD” (Lev. 19:18).
And yet, such is the ingenuity of sin that we can take the Bible to get around the Bible.And this is what Jesus’ contemporaries had done.They reasoned that they were only commanded to love their neighbor, and they interpreted this as their fellow-Jew.In fact, the context seems to favor this interpretation, since in just the previous verse, neighbor seems to be interpreted as “brother” (Lev. 1…