Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:19-20
Jesus continues expounding the meaning and application of the law here in this passage which is in the beginning of the sermon on the mount. He is driving home the point that there are no harmless sins. There is no such thing as a little sin that doesn’t matter. The law not only applies to your actions but applies to your thoughts. A little whining, a little discontent, a lustful thought may seem harmless in the moment, but it has eternal consequence. And the way you act and the way you think both will come across to those who are around you. You are teaching all the time, especially to your family.
But likewise here, Jesus promises real blessing and real reward for those who follow God’s commands all the way down into the minor details. All the way down into your toes.
This goes against what I would call country music Gospel or down-home nominal Christianity. The kind who believes in the good Lord up above, but doesn’t make it into church, that hasn’t been praying like he knows he should. That doesn’t know or work to know much past John 3:16
That is not Christianity. That is a false religion. For true religion, true conversion and true faith has real fruit. The tree is known by its fruit. Real Faith is obedient Faith, real faith is working faith.
But the instruction is not left off here. Yes, obeying God matters in the smallest command, to the very smallest detail. And yet Christianity is not legalism. Why? Well, because you following the rules cannot save you. You can’t be that Holy. The Pharisees strained the gnat, but we would need to strain the amoeba. But that still wouldn’t get us there. The only righteousness that saves is perfect righteousness. Which is only found in Christ.
And that righteousness has been placed upon us in our justification. This gift we have already received by grace. Our duty is to act like it.
Zach Browning – November 19, 2023