Reading Matthew chapters 5 thru 7, and still working with our thesis, we can find 9 of the 10 Essential Elements of The Real New Testament Message present. Only the 5th Element, that of the Death and Resurrection of the Savior, Jesus Christ, is absent. But, of course, anywhere that we see Him as the Savior, His salvific work, which was still future in Matthew’s account, was implied.
The Beatitudes of 5:3 thru 12, rightly understood, is relating the connection of #6, repentance in verses 3 thru 6, with #8, conversion or salvation, as it is found within verse 6, when it states one is filled with #1, righteousness. Immediately following, with verse 7, commences aspects of #9, the New Life. And, of course, the matter of #10, acceptance into the Kingdom, is based upon coming into possession of #1, righteousness. See that? This strong connection of #1, righteousness with #10, the Kingdom is most strongly pressed in 5:17-20. Jesus says, “No righteousness? No Kingdom!”
That said, what is to become of those not possessing righteousness and not entering the Kingdom? The threat of #3, severe judgment, being the very fire of hell was explicitly told us, previously in 3:7-12 by John the Baptist, and now here in the Sermon on the Mount by Jesus in 5:29+30. And, what is that due to, but #2, sin, as seen in 6:15, but specifically due to #6, not repenting, again in 5:29+30, as repentance is what is meant by gouging out an eye, or cutting off a hand.
Making the matter of #1, righteousness to be of the utmost importance, we should press 5:20 and 48 hard with people, to get them to acknowledge #2, their sin. Show them #3, their judgment from 3:7-12, and 5:29+30, that they might be willing to learn of #4, the Savior. One verse that makes #s 1 and 10 paramount is 6:33. Seek to enter the Kingdom, and the means of its entrance; that being righteousness. Nothing else really matters. If one never obtains the #1, essential righteousness, only the fearful fate of #3, the unquenchable fires of hell await them!
We’re told a good bit about #9, the New Life, particularly as it relates to matters like giving 6:1-4 and 19-21; prayer 6:5-13, 7:7-11; fasting 6:16-18; and #7, exercising faith 7:25-34; and discernment 7:1-6 and 15-20. It’s what the Book is all about!
Harold F Crowell