Have you ever really read Matthew 5? I know I have before, and was really paying attention. But for some reason, this time it was like looking into Lake Tahoe- I felt like I could see the bottom, the waters were so crystal clear!
In the past, I have noticed the different themes Jesus is touching on: Anger, Divorce, Lust, Oaths, Retaliation, Loving your enemies. But when you read it without creating sections and themes, when you read it as Jesus spoke it to His disciples with the backdrop of the Pharisees, you see that Jesus is really just talking about one thing. STOP THE RELIGIOSITY. STOP THE OUTWARD MORALITY. GET REAL!
We think, or at least I do sometimes, that we’re doing pretty good. We don’t do this or that. And we DO this good thing and that great thing. However, if we will allow this text to lead us to repentance, we will see that Jesus ups the ante enough to condemn each one of us. And then he tops it of with a demand of perfection: “Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven,” and “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
With these raised standards, who can attain? Who can be that perfect? Not me. Obviously not even the scribes and Pharisees, to which he referred. So who? NO ONE. NO ONE is justified in His sight.
I do lust sometimes. I certainly get angry. And I seldom can justify it as being “righteous anger.” I haven’t ever been divorced, but I’ve certainly wanted to. Lusted after it, in moments. Woahhh, killed two birds with one stone, there. I have taken oaths and broken oaths. I have retaliated. And I don’t love my enemies. I have a hard enough time loving my family and friends.
So how can I come before God?
Go from Matthew 5 to Romans 5.
“Therefore, since we have been JUSTIFIED by faith, we have peace with God THROUGH our Lord JESUS Christ.”
The only way I can stand perfect before a perfect Father is Jesus.
And today, I sing,
‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
And to take Him at His word…
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
O for grace to trust Him more!”
He who justified us, who we trust to present us as perfect before a holy God, is trustworthy for all things. So get real with others and get real with Him today. Not real good, or real moral, or real religious or real presentable. Just get real with Jesus! He presents you before the Father BLAMELESS!