Read 292.) Matthew 5 thru 7. These 3 chapters are known as The Sermon on the Mount. His disciples had become a great number. Chapter 5 touches upon some 9 matters; the first being the beatitudes, each one starting with blessed, or how happy. They’re exciting because the last words of verse 6 speak to salvation, and the New Birth. This is clear because the result is a filling with righteousness; the sole requirement to be accepted of God. And the means of that filling, seen in those things required, leading up to it in verses 3 thru 6, all describe repentance. Then, beginning with 7, we see the results of this repentance, which had resulted in salvation. These start living out that righteousness which they had received, which is the New Life! It closes with what then happens to those who repented, and were saved, with verses 10 thru 12. They become healthy and wealthy… Wrong! They suffer at the hands of others. See it? These are they who are to become salt and light, holding back from the wrong they used to do, and sharing with others how they, too, can be saved. Be salt, restraining evil, and be light, sharing the Good News! The third point goes to the need for a perfect and complete righteousness, that exceeds that ‘righteousness’ of the religious. It was to cause His hearers to wonder how that might be possible and ever attained unto. Jesus then used the demands of the 6th and 7th Commandments, to show something of how sinful each hearer truly was. All to bring conviction, so as to lead to repentance! We have the issue of divorce, and the acceptable cause for it. There’s the matter of oath-taking and the need for true character and integrity. Chapter 5 ends on the twin notes of mercy and grace, the giving to others that which they do not deserve, as well as the withholding of doing to another that which they do deserve. All of which is to be like God, Himself! But, note how the chapter ends on perfection. This is another word for righteousness, and we do not possess that. It must be granted, given, or bestowed by God. He credits to a repentant person His own righteousness! This is God’s own true salvation. Do you have it yet?
With chapter 6, we go from the means of salvation, in chapter 5, to 4 matters that pertain to living the New Life in Christ, all of which are said here to be performed outwardly, but their reality is secret, and truly matters of our inner self. See them? Giving. Praying. Forgiveness. Fasting. These 4 things have to do with laying up treasure in Heaven, for as the chapter closes, we are to seek, as the matter of first priority, the Kingdom, and not our own advancement. If we give ourselves completely to that cause, He will completely care for those who do! I have seen this in the life of some, who have abandoned themselves unto God, so as to bring the Good News to unreached peoples in other parts of the world.
Chapter 7, then takes us to the deeper things of the Christian life. Those who have abandoned themselves to God and His service, as 6:19-34 describe, have no time to be judging others, and already know that ‘they are truly no better.’ Instead, they implore Heaven, continually asking, seeking and knocking, so as to receive that which they believe God would have them to receive. They treat others as they themselves would want to be treated, though they are often persecuted and suffer. Beginning at verse 13, Jesus concludes His message. The gate here, is not, as many have thought, Himself. Though He does later say that He is the Gate. The context of this message, beginning right from 5:3, is repentance! Repentance results in a removal from the road to destruction, unto life. Only a few truly repent. All of which distinguishes the true believers and followers from the false. The fruit of the true is all that we have just seen up ’til now, but with one exclusive distinction. These are known by Jesus! Meaning, they are in relation to Him. He saved them, when they repented. These are the wise builders. They repented in the manner described as chapter 5 opened, were transformed into the manner detailed throughout, and, having received righteousness from God, entered into, and were genuinely related to Jesus Christ; and not merely religious. His hearers were amazed, because Jesus taught with divine authority. Did Matthew 5 thru 7 amaze you? Have you ever repented, and had God’s righteousness bestowed upon you? Are you rightly related to Jesus, that He knows you? It’s what the Book is all about!
Harold F Crowell