Matthew 5 – The Scarlet Thread in the Sermon on the Mount?

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Perhaps you struggled with the statement in my last post from Genesis 8, that God declared that the universal spiritual condition of our human hearts is “evil from childhood” in all of its inclinations. There was certainly a time in my life where I thought that “I’m not so bad,” and that I’d get a passing grade assuming God graded on a curve.

Jesus settles the question with His teaching in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5. The standard is not just whether or not I commit murder, it’s whether or not the seeds of murder are in my heart, manifested in how I become angry with people. The standard is not just whether or not I commit sexual sin (adultery), but whether I fantasize about sexual sin in my heart.The standard is not just whether I forgo doing harm to my enemies, but whether I seek to actively love them, bless them, and pray for them. And lest I try to deceive myself thinking that God ‘grades on a curve,’ Jesus makes it abundantly clear that the standard is absolute perfection: “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (5:48). I absolutely fail. We all absolutely fail. We all absolutely need a Savior.

 

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