The Gospel of Matthew
Currently Under Revision
B. THE LAWGIVER
|C. ABOUT THE GOSPEL|
|D. THE MESSIANIC KINGDOM|
|II. THE BIBLE STUDY and COMMENTARY, The Beatitudes, Matthew 5:1-12|
|A. 5:1-2, Matthew's Introduction to Jesus|
|B. 5:3-5, The transition to faith, in the Kingdom age|
|C. 5:6-12, The message to those who are members of God’s kingdom and know it|
|D. 5:13-16, "You are The Salt of the Earth, and The Light Of The World"|
Last things first: THE CLOSING PARABOLIC MESSAGE
In Chapters five through seven of Matthew we have the full report of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Mark and Luke give fragments of this discourse, but the complete discourse is found only in Matthew. The Sermon on the Mount is the proclamation of the King, Jesus the Christ, concerning His Kingdom.
Jesus, speaking to the multitudes and the disciples, is proclaiming what kind of spiritual character will find itself in The Kingdom of God. The nation is nearly ready to make its choice concerning this man Jesus by answering the question: “Is He the messiah?” A second question, much related to the first, would be, “Is His kingdom coming with Him?”
Many of those who follow this man Jesus are expectant that He indeed is the Christ and because of this He will soon reveal Himself as such and bring with Him “His kingdom.” During this period of time they would believe that what He was offering was the deliverance from their oppressor, the Romans. His audience would be concerned with the requirements of citizenship in this new kingdom. “What will be required of me?” they ask themselves.
While they are seeking a physical deliverer who will free them from the oppressive Roman Empire Jesus is offering them a spiritual freedom and an ushering in of the theocracy of God on Earth, with as its king, the Christ. Matthew 5:1-7:29 the “Sermon on the Mount” is Jesus’ answer.
In Matthew 7:24-27 Jesus closes His message with these words:
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts upon them, may be compared to a wise man, who built his house upon the rock. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded upon the rock. And everyone who hears these words of Mine, and does not act upon them, will be like a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand. And the rains descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and it fell, and great was its fall.”
This brief parabolic message comes at the end so that the audience does not forget the main point. He who hears and acts upon these words will have built his house upon the rock and not the sand. There would be no question about the spiritual message because the audience had assembled and followed him to the mount specifically to listen to this rabbi and his messianic message.
The Law is taken up by the King in this proclamation. He is the Lawgiver, the Law writer, the Law enforcer; He is the Court, the Judge, and the Jury, and therefore it is He who confirms, expands, and supplements the Law.
His audience would be looking for answers that were deeply rooted in the Law. The promised Messiah would be a Jew of Jews, and a Rabbi of Rabbis. What they have not considered is that the Law of the Jews had replaced the worship of God in their culture. With generations of Jews focusing upon the Law as a way to find atonement, the Jews became a nation who’s god became the Law.
Jesus came with the message of the Love and Grace of God that preceded Moses and the Law. He came to reveal the God of love and Grace. He came to re-reveal that the individual, not the nation, was the focus of God’s love. If the multitudes were looking for God’s true Law, then the words of Jesus would ring true for them. Those who did not seek God’s message would be offended by what they heard. As Jesus often said, “He who has ears, let him hear.”
The condemnation of the natural man is written here. The “better righteousness” needed to enter the Kingdom is not man's own righteousness. For the multitudes gathered on the mount it is a question of their personal and national righteousness as they worship God and attempt His righteousness. By application to us, now on the other side of the cross, it is not the covenanted righteous position of the person or the nation of
but the righteousness which is by faith in Jesus Christ. As He speaks with full authority He uncovers the heart of man and shows the depths of corruption, and the hopelessness that the natural man could ever attain to such a righteousness. The words of the King condemn the natural man and prove him lost. At the very same time they illustrate the desire of God to include men and women into His kingdom, and His desire to lead them there. Israel
The Lord Jesus manifested these righteous characteristics in His humiliation (His life on Earth and His death on the Cross). But specifically, the beatitudes (5:3-11) give the character of the heirs who would enter the Kingdom. They do not speak of what a person should be, or strive to be, but what they are. Only the Grace of God can produce such a character. The blessings are in the possession of those, who have believed on the Son of God.
ABOUT THE GOSPEL
This “Olivet discourse” (meaning from the
) does not expound the Gospel of Grace, the way of salvation, or the privileges and blessings of true Christianity. The teachers who say that the Sermon on the Mount is the Gospel are ignorant of what the Gospel is. Mt.of Olives
Some teach as if these words were the way to righteousness, which man by his own effort can attain. One is to be poor in spirit, one is to mourn, one is to be meek, etc. But instead, these words condemn this spurious Gospel of works.
Some teach that this discourse is exclusively Christian and applies it to the Church. It’s not until the Epistles of Paul, that the full revelation of the Church was given. Christian position is not revealed in the Sermon on the Mount. The Sermon on the Mount is not given as the standard of Christian experience and walk.
Some teach that this discourse is exclusively Jewish. Some Christians refuse to consider these chapters as having any message or instruction for them at all. This is another extreme and equally wrong. We repeat, the Sermon on the Mount is the proclamation of the King concerning His Kingdom. That Kingdom is not the church. Nor is the Kingdom a state of righteousness brought about through the agency of the Church. It is the Kingdom as it would have been set up by the King if it had not been rejected. It is the Kingdom as it will be set up by the King yet to come Kingdom age.
In the Old Testament we have the outward manifestations of that earthly Kingdom revealed, we have here in Matthew, from the lips of the King, the inner principles of that Kingdom. When the Lord Jesus Christ comes again the Old Testament predictions concerning the Kingdom will be literally fulfilled and the Kingdom itself will be a Kingdom of righteousness, here on this earth. However, this does not exclude application to us, the heirs of the Kingdom. For the principles that govern Kingdom life, Kingdom people, and Kingdom rule, are the very principles of the Character of God and in that the very principles of Christ and His Church.
THE MESSIANIC KINGDOM
What John the Baptist announced as “the Kingdom at hand,” (Matthew 3:2) and what our Lord offered directly (and through His apostles) was the long-promised Messianic kingdom, announced to David and covenanted in 2 Samuel 7 through Nathan, and affirmed through all the prophets, was one which is to be set up on earth; a literal, earthly kingdom.
The Sermon on the Mount is then the King's inaugural address or manifesto. It was stating to those anticipating this kingdom the principles upon which He will govern His kingdom. It describes the time it is to be set up on earth and the character of the citizens who will compose that kingdom. Thus, these principles were binding upon those who, in His earthly ministry, accepted His kingly claims in anticipation of the day He will reign on earth.
In Mt. 5:3-16, Jesus addresses both the multitudes and the disciples in a manner that would demonstrate to them the major characteristics of God and the love of God toward human-kind. His words point out a system of "religion" that, seemingly, is quite alien to the Judaism of His day. This new system puts strong emphasis upon the individual and the attitude of the heart.
Jesus' audience was one made up largely of first century Jews. These Jews were steeped in the "letter of the Law." Their religion was one that made innumerable demands upon the keeping of specific laws, and not upon the spirit of the intentions of the original mosaic laws. Their religion had evolved from one of "seeking to please one's god" to one of "seeking obedience to a multitude of human made laws". Or perhaps put more strongly, "seeking to bring glory to one's self through Idolatry (in this instance - using works)."
Many of these laws were instituted so that some could benefit from the "loopholes." Thou shalt not commit adultery, was understood in terms of Thou shalt do anything you please to another, (someone who was not your wife or husband), as long as it does not include sexual intercourse. Thus a man or woman could carry on a seemly affair with another and not have to worry about the "law" that forbad adultery.
The words of Jesus in these verses were alien to these Jews. Jesus was saying that it was the individual that was blessed, and not just the nation. His words said that an individual could be blessed by his attitudes rather than by his performance, or lack of performance, to the Law.
By the time Jesus gets to verse :16, His audience was astounded because Jesus seemed to be teaching that the Law was no longer the standard by which they were to be measured by God. He must have become aware of the voices of awe and the murmuring in his audience. For in verse :17 He must state: "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets."
Personal salvation is mentioned here, appropriately, as salvation has always been personal and not national. This concept of "Personal Salvation" is not new with the Church.
The Olivet Discourse (Matthew 5:3-7:27) "To those who are “listening and acting on these words”
The Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12)
5:3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of the heavens."
Being poor in spirit is the first inner characteristic. The unsaved sinner knows nothing of it. It is altogether the work of the Holy Spirit. It means to take the right place before God, which is in the dust in absolute helplessness. It is the continued attitude of a saved person in the earth, poverty in spirit and entire dependence upon the Lord.
What is poverty of the spirit? It is the opposite of that haughty, self-assertive, and self-sufficient disposition that the world so much admires and praises. It is the very reverse of that independent and defiant attitude that refuses to bow to God - like Pharaoh, who says, "Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice?" (Exodus 5:2). To be poor in spirit is to realize that I have nothing, am nothing, can do nothing, and have need of all things from my God. It is the experiential evidence of a Divine work of grace within the soul. The citizens of the Promised Kingdom will be "poor in spirit."
We must not forget that the Beatitudes are speaking concerning the believing remnant of Israel. "This remnant of Israel will pass through the great tribulation through which the Church (which of course can never be put into the first part of Matthew) will never pass. They will then be waiting in the midst of great tribulations, persecutions, and sufferings for the kingdom to come. When the kingdom at last comes, in the return of the King, the Son of man, they will enter in. This people will be poor in spirit. The remnant is described in Zephaniah 3:12, 'I will leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of Jehovah.'"our growth from "just saved," to Kingdom maturity.
 Gabelein, Arno, The Gospel of Matthew, Volume 1, Our Hope, NY NY, 1910, p. 116
5:4 "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."
I. The Characteristics of the Heirs of the Kingdom, 5:1-6
A. The Situation, Matthew 5:1-2
B. The Beatitudes, Matthew 5:3-12
5:4 "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."
Mourning should not be made to mean grieving on account of personal sin. It is rather over the results of sin, the present conditions of things in the earth. Thus our Lord grieved and mourned. The comfort is that coming redemption from the presence of sin and entrance into that heavenly inheritance which belongs to us in Christ Jesus.
Having taken the true place before God and knowing the evil and mourning on account of it, what is to be our path on earth?
It should be obvious that it is not every species of mourning that is referred to here. There is a "sorrow of the world that works death," (2 Corinthians 7:10). The mourning for which Christ promises comfort must be restricted to that which is spiritual. It is the realization of God's holiness and goodness that issues in a sense of the depravity of our natures and the enormous guilt of our conduct. The mourning for which Christ promises Divine comfort is two-fold. First there is the sorrowing over our sins with a Godly sorrow, and second, there is the sorrowing over those who know not Christ and His redemption, as we, like Him, stand outside Jerusalem and mourn over the lostness that possesses them. The citizens of the Promised Kingdom will be "mourners."
"In Isaiah 66:2, "To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit and that trembles at my Word." This elect remnant will mourn in the earth in the evil day (the Tribulation). Here is a prophetic description of the mourning of this remnant: "Woe is me! for I am as when they have gathered the summer fruits, as the grape gleanings of the vintage; there is no cluster to eat; my soul desires the first ripe fig. The godly man is perished out of the earth and there is none upright among men; they all lie in wait for blood, they hunt every man his brother with a net. Their hands are upon that which is evil to do it diligently ... The son dishonors the father, the daughter rises up against mother, the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, a man's enemies are the men of his own house (compare with Matthew 24:10 and 10:21-23). But as for me, I will look unto the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me" (Micah 7:1-7. They shall be comforted. Their comfort, however, will not be in the heavenlies, but they shall be comforted in Jerusalem, for He shall come and deliver them from all their enemies and restore the kingdom to Israel."
5:5 "Blessed are the humble, for they shall inherit the earth."
5:5 "Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth."
The newest version of the NASB uses the word "gentle," but other translations use "meek," or "humble."
The J.B. Phillips New Testament paraphrases it as "Happy are those who claim nothing, for the whole earth will belong to them!" This paraphrase seems to catch the meaning better than the rest. At stake is the inheritance of the earth as the "Promised Kingdom." Those who place no "claim" upon this world - but look forward to His kingdom are indeed those who are blessed in the sight of God.
"His words, literally understood, are, "they shall inherit the land," i.e., Canaan, "the land of promise." He speaks of the blessings of the new administration (the New Covenant) in the language of Old Testament prophecy. Israel according to the flesh (the external people of God under the former administration [the Old Covenant under Moses and the Law] were a picture of Israel that was to look forward to the time (Millennium) and place (Redeemed land of Canaan) of the earthly portion of the New Covenant. To "inherit the land" is to enjoy the peculiar blessings of the people of God under the New Covenant. It is to become heirs of the earth, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17). It is to enjoy that true peace and rest of which Israel's possession of Canaan was a figure.
There is also the sense that this "inheritance" includes the New Heaven and the New Earth (Revelation 21:1). That time in the future when this creation truly belongs to God and His righteous creation - a place where corruption, sin, and death no longer abide. The citizens of the Promised Kingdom will be those who, "claim nothing for themselves."
"Inheriting the earth is Israel's promise; ours is to rule and reign with Him in the heavenlies over the earth. Psalm 37 forms a perfect commentary to this beatitude "Blessed are the meek." There we find what meekness includes, both in ourselves as believers and the future believing remnant. 'Fret not thyself' -- 'Neither be thou envious' - 'Trust in the Lord' -- 'Delight thyself in the Lord' -- 'Commit they way unto the Lord' -- 'Rest in the Lord.' The meek waiting for the Lord are thus described. But it is of the believing remnant we read in that Psalm. Some day it shall be as it is written there: 'Evildoers shall be cut off. But those that wait upon the Lord they shall inherit the land. For yet a little while and the wicked shall not be, but the meek shall inherit the land, and delight themselves in the abundance of peace' (Psalm 37:9-11). They will also be hungering and thirsting for righteousness and shall be filled in the day of His manifestation.
5:6 "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied."
This is the last of the "Outer" characteristic. Here in the fourth Beatitude, the soul is turned away from self toward God. There is a longing after a righteousness that we urgently need but know that we do not possess.
The human hart is revealed to be "desperately wicked," (Jeremiah 17:9). The one who is "in Christ" must endure the demands of the "old man," and know that, even though proclaimed righteous, we toil over sin and evil. How very blessed by God are we who "hunger and thirst" after His righteousness that will be finally complete under His rule in the Promised Kingdom.
"I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness."
To restate the last sentence of the first paragraph, The ones who will find themselves in the Kingdom will have the characteristic of a longing after a personal righteousness that reflects the ultimate righteousness of God. That ultimate righteousness will forever be "just-out-of-reach," as we are the creature - and He is God. The Kingdom believer forever possesses the desire to be more like Him.
Outward Signs of the Christ Changed Life
Greed, Lust for corruption
The Inner Blessings
The first four outer blessings demonstrated a progression of spiritual character in the believer. First, was the knowledge that I am nothing compared to Almighty God. My frail spirit has nothing to offer His Spirit - for I am spiritually impoverished. Second, was the knowledge that the effects of sin and sins are clearly seen by the believer and there is great grief and mourning over it. The enormity of sin for which Jesus paid the penalty, is laid bare and the suffering and anguish that God felt, is the basis of the believer's mourning. Thirdly, those who place no "claim" upon this world - but look to His kingdom with desire are indeed those who are blessed in the sight of God. Those who see that there is nothing in this world which draws their lusts and desires - only the possession of the Kingdom of God. Meek, mild, lack of boasting in the ownership of this world and the things in it. Setting one's heart on what God alone provides. and fourthly, the Kingdom believer is the one who constantly has a thirst for attaining to the righteousness of God. It is like the one who climbs up the great mountain, always keeping the mountain top in sight, and always keeping it as the goal.
All of this is the quality of the Kingdom believer who keeps the perception of what is defective in himself and a yearning for what is desirable.
Here we begin looking at the four Inner Blessings that demonstrate the manifestation of a positive good in the believer, the fruits of a new creation and the blessings of a transformed character.
5:7 "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy."
"Mercy is a form of love determined by the state or condition of its objects. Their state is one of suffering and need, while they may be unworthy or ill-deserving. Mercy is at once the disposition of love respecting such, and the kindly ministry of love for their relief."
"I will have mercy, and not sacrifice," indicates that God is pleased with the exercise of mercy rather than with the offering of sacrifices, though sin has made the latter necessary (1 Samuel 15:22; Micah 6:6-8).
Apparently God desires His children to show mercy even in the most offensive situations. We all have found the Christmas 1914 story to be both heart warming and satisfying. Two nations at war with each other who establish a Christmas truce where both sides meet in the celebration of the Birth of Christ. How much more God loves the heart that can bestow mercy in the time of personal (or national) trouble. Blessed is the one who can release the vile offender and grant them mercy and forgiveness.
This will be especially true while the remnant of Israel traverses the Tribulation. When all of humanity will be in persecution of the Jew, blessed will be the believing Jew who can grant mercy to their adversary in expectation of the coming of Jesus the Messiah and King.
 Miley, Systematic Theology, i, 209-10
5:8 "Blessed are the ones whose heart is pruned, for they shall see God."
Older translations use the "pure in heart" terminology. Matthew, a Jew, relating Jesus' words (a Jew), would have in mind a more "kosher" approach to Jesus' meaning.
At Sinai God gave the Jew the sign of the Covenant - circumcision of the male members of the Hebrew people. This symbolic act was a many-times-a-day reminder to the Jewish male that he was a part of God's covenant and that God demanded obedience to righteousness. Therefore the one who practiced (a way of life) the righteousness of the Law were considered to be of a circumcised heart. After all the Law merely defined the very character of God. To act with the righteousness of God was the requirement. Sacrifice was available when a member of the Covenant was not able to live righteously.
"And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require from you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. And to keep the Lord's commandments and His statutes which I am commanding you today for your good? Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven and the highest heavens, the earth and all that is in it. Yet on your fathers did the Lord set His affection to love them, and He chose their descendants after them, even you above all peoples, as it is this day. Circumcise then your heart, and stiffen your neck no more."
In Deuteronomy we see the fuller meaning of the circumcised heart.
"Moreover, the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, in order that you may live."
Righteous living would obviously be the result of loving the Lord our God with all of our heart and with all of our soul. Without "the righteousness of God, by God's grace and through personal faith" true life (life as far as God was concerned, and eternal in nature) is not possible. With it comes true life.
God further makes some of His promised blessings conditional.
If they do ... then ...
If they don't ... then ...
"If they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their forefathers, in their unfaithfulness which they committed against Me, and also in their acting with hostility against Me — I also was acting with hostility against them, to bring them into the land of their enemies — or if their uncircumcised heart becomes humbled so that they then make amends for their iniquity, Then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and I will remember also My covenant with Isaac, and My covenant with Abraham as well, and I will remember the land."
The key elements to this verse would be #1. - their (and forefathers) iniquity; #2. - their hostility toward God. Even in the midst of great idolatry God promises them that He will remember the terms of the Covenant IF they confess their iniquity and humble their uncircumcised heart - and then love God with all their heart and soul.
David understood the desire of God's heart toward him. In the midst of David's greatest sins he turns to his heavenly Father and says,
"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Thy presence, and do not take Thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation, and sustain me with a willing spirit."
Paul then focuses upon Jesus Christ as the indicator of the righteousness granted to the believer. He is the fullness of Deity (God), and it is In-Him and through Him that we are circumcised of the heart and bear evidence of our righteousness through loving Him with all our heart and all our soul.
Colossians 2:8-9, 11-14
"See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Messiah.
For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form. And in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Messiah. Having been buried with Him in baptism (of the Spirit), in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And when you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions. Having cancelled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross."
Only those who have the righteousness of God may enter into the true Promised Kingdom. Following the Wrath of God (the Tribulation, the time of Jacob's Trouble), the Promised Earthly Kingdom age begins. Unbelievers will be born and be in that kingdom, however they will not turn to Him with belief they will never be known to God as "alive" or "living." At the end of the 1,000 years of the Promised Earthly Kingdom unbelief will be culled from that age, processed through the judgment of God, and released into the depths of the Lake of Fire for eternal punishment for forsaking and denying Almighty God. Then the Eternal Kingdom of God will be established for those who have loved God with all their hearts and souls will be entering into that kingdom.
5:9 "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God."
Peace is extraordinarily important to God. The large number of verses that speak of it show it's importance. In the ultimate sense "peace" is "reconciliation." Reconciliation between Himself and the human population of the world is His primary mission throughout the ages. However His intentions of peace and reconciliation have been met with abject refusal, denial, and outright rejection.
He speaks of the unbeliever, "the way of peace they have not known."
Romans 3:17 (Isaiah 59 from which this quote is taken speaks of the unbeliever's "Separation from God").
“There is none righteous, not even one;
11 There is none who understands,
There is none who seeks for God;
12 All have turned aside, together they have become useless;
There is none who does good,
There is not even one.”
13 “Their throat is an open grave,
With their tongues they keep deceiving,”
“The poison of asps is under their lips”;
14 “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness”;
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood,
16 Destruction and misery are in their paths,
17 And the path of peace they have not known.”
18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
There are two categories of people in this next verse: Those with God's wisdom and those without it.
For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil work will be there.
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
The desire of our hearts, in light of the journey of sanctification, requires the pursuit of peace. Not that peace can be achieved or kept, but pursued as a matter of your heart. Paul, in Romans, teaches us that the pursuit of peace and the building up of each other in Christ has an equality of purpose.
Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord
So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.
It is especially important for the believer to pursue and exhibit the "Fruit of the Spirit." This "Fruit" is the "produce" of the Holy Spirit - and His gifts - within the Body of Christ that should lead to Unity in that body.
19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
The Gospel of Peace, or the Gospel of Reconciliation, is the definition of God's "good news" in Christ Jesus. Here in this verse we can see the importance of bringing (and reporting) that message of His peace and that it results in God's approval, "How beautiful are the feet of them...."
Romans 10:15 [KJV]
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
Jesus is the author of reconciliation between God and man. He is also the vehicle in which that reconciliation is achieved and delivered.
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
Isaiah foretold of Jesus' ministry of reconciliation. He is the Prince of Peace.
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
Reconciliation (peace) between God and man (the individual), through Christ Jesus, has the unfathomable results in the proclamation of that individual to have, as a result, the Righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:18-21 (Reconciliation = Peace)
Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Our responsibility includes being at peace with all men (and women). This verse goes on to warn us of the importance of peace versus vengeance for wrongs committed against us. Our responsibilities demand the very opposite - "feed him, give him a drink, do not be overcome by evil (usurping God's role of judge). Instead overcome that desire with good (reconciliation).
If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. 19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Paul wraps up this discussion on peace and reconciliation. "For He Himself (Christ Jesus) is our peace.
For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near; 18 for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.
Inward Signs of the Christ Changed Life
Mercy (grace toward others)
Self-driven merit (usury)
Persecution (due to Godliness)
Persecutors (do to Godliness)
5:10-12 "Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. Rejoice, and rejoice for much is your reward in the heavens, for so they persecuted the prophets before you.
Persecution in the
? Many millions will be born during the Kingdom years. Unfortunately, many of those millions will have stiff necks, like their grand fathers before them, and refuse to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Many will get caught up in Satan's revolt against our Lord and many believers will be the object of often violent persecution. Kingdomof God
5:13-16 "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt be tainted, how will it be made salty again? It is strong no longer, except to be thrown out and trodden down by men.”
Blessed is the one during those hours, as well as now, who knows the value of evangelism. Those who know the trial of fire that others are ready to put you through to prevent the spread of the Gospel. Blessed are those who know that the evil one is so afraid of the truth that he will persecute and kill those who seek to evangelize the lost, the members of his kingdom. But yet, there is a warning here too, that those who loose the fire of evangelism or the works of a Godly life are like salt that has lost its taste. It says here that those who loose that flavor are of so little value to the Lord that they should be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.
It is the believing members of God’s kingdom, in any age, who are the Salt and the Light of the world. That is God’s evaluation of believers, they are the taste, the preservative, and the “Light” of the world.
Salt as an antiseptic and a preservative, a substance that prevents and retards decay. So too is the picture of the believer. We may not be aware of the impact we have upon others when we show forth Christ. As salt is most effective when rubbed into the meat and not just sprinkled on, so too the Christian is here encouraged by Christ Jesus to take an active part in the application of Salt. Our very presence often places a burden of righteousness upon those we have contact with and upon their systems of morality.
Salt as a catalyst of flavor: We often find ourselves, if Christ be our leader, providing zest, comfort and interest, in the lives of others. Often it is the Christian who visits, and changes the lives of the shut-in, the homeless, the sick, the imprisoned.
Salt as a natural element that life needs for sustenance. Science tells us that we have a large percentage of salt in us, as does most of life on this earth. It is the natural element of the blood. Animals the world over seek out "salt licks" for without salt, water is not retained by the body. And where water is not retained life comes to an end.
How far more wicked and unrestrained the world would be without the restraining example, life, works, and prayers of the saints.
But the salt that has lost its taste, by spoiling or by the intrusion of another bad influence, no longer has any use. It cannot be used for preserving as it's taste is strange and there is no one who would seek it. It cannot be used as a catalyst for again there is none who would seek this strange flavor, it has become offensive. And it is cannot be used as a source of life support for the body, if the body is unwilling to take it in because of its stench.
There is then no restoration of taste for that which has become contaminated or washed out. Nor is there any hope that the Lord will keep on knocking upon the door of the one who has lost his desire for saltiness, and has become hardened against the Holy Spirit.
The Jewish religious system may have been what Jesus had in mind in these verses. The Pharisees and Scribes, people who advocated a formal, legalistic religion in place of the true religion proclaimed by the ancient prophets in the name of the Lord. Thus, by and large, the salt had lost its flavor in the religious life of
. Many "sons of the kingdom" would be cast out and trampled upon for being salt that had lost its flavor. Israel
Once this salt has lost its flavor it cannot be made salty again. Those who resolutely set themselves against the exhortations of the Holy Spirit and become hardened in their opposition are not renewed unto repentance (Matthew and Hebrews 6:4-6). As Jesus teaches these lessons the entire nation of
, having lost its taste in the mouth of the Lord, is about to be abandoned and trampled under foot. And the message continues into the Church Age, the Tribulation, and the Kingdom. Israel
5:14-16 "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp, and put it under the bushel, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house. Thus let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in the heavens."
Light shines openly and it cannot be both effective and hid at the same time. Light is the power that sustains life, at least on this planet. Light is the power that makes life possible, it supplies heat, and chemical reaction through photosynthesis. Without light most life would cease to exist.
Light is often contrasted with darkness. When we speak of light it symbolizes all that is good. When we speak of darkness it symbolizes all that is not good. We use light to speak of the true knowledge of God, goodness, righteousness, truthfulness, joy and gladness, true happiness, love, and laughter. We use darkness to speak of the worst of things, dullness, depravity, and despair.
Those who are light possessors by necessity become light transmitters. When truth is given to us it must in turn radiate to others. It should not be hid under the bushel.
The Christian is not a light in themselves, but rather, Christ is the light in us that shines forth. So the Body of Christ is Christ's light and power on the face of the earth. The body is light. That body of light can only function effectively if the whole body is light and there are no spots of darkness in it. But where there are parts of the body that are not lighting up their corner of the world, there is obviously no power there as well. For where there is no power there is no light. The true purpose of light ... to be seen not hid. Light is only a blessing when it is truly light. It must be allowed to shine into the darkness, and not hid.
Both salt and light have their righteous effects upon the world. Though the world be wicked the effects of believers upon the world system keep it from being totally wicked. The righteousness which is wrought in governments and legal systems by believers serves to bring flavor and light to the world as a whole. How wicked the world would become without the righteous input of Christians.
Those who have the fire of evangelism are the light of the world. Those are the ones whom the world looks to for their salvation. Those are the ones who's calling cannot be hid, not because they are dynamic people, but because the dynamic of the Spirit of God so shines through them that other's can't help but see the Lord in them. It is the ones who seek after others that the world wants to persecute.
B. THE LAWGIVER