A Higher Standard
Scripture: Matt. 5:21-44, I Sam. 16:7
As we continue in our study, I will be emphasizing the fact that “Christianity is not a religion but a life.” Jesus Christ didn’t come to establish any religion. He brought a “new way” to God. He is life and He wants to live His life through us. In the Gospel of John alone the word “life” is written some 40 times. Eternal life is inward. John 20:31 says, “But these are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you might have life through His name.”
THINK ABOUT THIS:
Today let’s look at a portion of the Sermon on the Mount—Matt. 5, and compare what the Law says to what Jesus says:
V. 21 Law—Thou shalt not kill
V. 22 Jesus—Whoever is angry with his brother is in danger of hell fire
V.27 Law—Thou shalt not commit adultery
V. 28 Jesus—If anyone looks on another lusting after them has already committed adultery in his heart.
V.33 Law—Thou shalt not perjure yourself (intentional lying under oath)
V.34 Jesus—Swear not at all (be known for honesty, integrity)
V. 38 Law—An eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth
V.39 Jesus—Jesus—Turn the other cheek
V. 43 Law—Love your neighbor, hate your enemy
V. 44 Jesus—Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, pray for them
Why did God set such a high standard? Jesus is trying to show us that God requires a righteousness that is beyond anything external that we may “try” to do. It has to do with our heart. We CAN’T do it, BUT God CAN do it through us. It’s beyond man’s best efforts.
God is requiring a new heart standard and because of what Christ has done on the cross for us, He creates a new heart within us when we trust Him as our Savior; that is capable of meeting His high ideal as we submit to Him. Without this new heart condition, any and all conduct (LAW) is mere behaviorism and fails to meet God’s requirements.
“For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Matt. 5:20
“For the LORD sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” I Sam. 16:7
We can’t “DO” anything to earn our salvation—Jesus did it all for us.
We can’t “TRY” to live for Him—Jesus will live His life in us as we yield (abide in Him).