Coming of the King: Week 8
We are about to see that the Law of the Kingdom is not about letter
or loopholes but about inward reality. But how is that possible?
Paul says, "Yet not I, but Christ who lives in me.
The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved
me and gave himself for me."
and Jesus says, "Why do you call me Lord, Lord and do not do what I say?"
So which is it? It is both. God accomplishes his work, and you must
obey, trusting that God knows what he is doing.
Let's look at some Scriptural analogies, beginning with Soldier and
Commander. The righteousness that Kingdom citizens hunger and thirst after is
a mission objective, but if you set out on your own to take out that
enemy stronghold - you will fail. The Commander knows you intimately,
equips you with just what you need for the tasks
he has prepared for
He will not test you beyond your strength.
If you do not follow the direct orders
of your commander - you will fail and will be disciplined.
If you have faith in your Commander, you will follow his orders to the best of
your ability, no matter how menial, trusting Him to accomplish the work,
who knows our weaknesses.
Failure to follow orders is a common reason why people fail
to advance in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Another analogy is Student and Teacher. To learn a lesson, you must
follow the instructions of the Teacher. Saying "I don't see how this
is going to help me learn" is circular reasoning at best. You must
trust the Teacher to know what you need to experience to learn the material.
- 5:21 "Do not murder" - hate is akin to murder, even if you don't
literally kill the object of your anger. "If you say Raca! (worthless one) or
Fool!" - much of political speech today is also hate speech.
- 5:23 "If your brother has something against you" - keep your accounts
- 5:25 "reconcile quickly with your adversary" - settle out of court.
This also applies to God: "Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon
him while he is near."
- 5:27 "Do not commit adultery" - don't even think about it.
"I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman."
- 5:29,30 "if your eye cause you to sin", "if your hand cause you to sin" -
Jesus uses this metaphor later to mean taking drastic measures to
avoid temptation. But in this context, it could also refer
to two modes of sexual temptation.
- 5:31 "do not divorce" - Marriage is a life long vow, and
divorce is a superstition. The idea that a piece of paper can
somehow undo a solemn vow is ridiculous except to those with a superstitious
awe of legal fictions.
- 5:34 "do not swear" - this is not, for instance, taking an oath
of office, but swearing in an attempt to mark the few of your statements
that are honest. It makes for political jokes:
Q: Aren't you breaking your oath to uphold the Constitution?
A: No, I didn't say "Hell yes!" first.
- 5:40 "give him your cloak as well". When someone takes something from
you by force, you are a victim. When you give something of your own
free will, you are a gift giver. "Every man is a friend to him that
While you are forced to carry a burden the first mile, you are an object.
While you carry it voluntarily the second mile, there is now
ground for a relationship. The righteous are gracious and giving.
The power of gifts can also be abused for evil.