Home   e-Library       中文 
e-Library Home |  Browse By Category |  Study the Bible    
Lesson 7
TOC | Previous | Next

Lesson 7

I.       Observation

A.     Outline

The Law’s Fulfillment (5:17-20)

The Old and the New (5:21-48)

Personal offense and reconciliation (21-26)

Adultery and purity (27-30)

Divorce and remarriage (31-32)

Oaths and truthfulness (33-37)

Personal injury and self-sacrifice (38-42)

Hatred and love (43-48)

B.     Key Words/Phrases

Law, fulfill, accomplished, righteousness, but I tell you, be perfect.

II.    General Analysis

1. Each topic begins with quotation of the old law, “you have heard that it was said” or the like, and is followed by the new principle: “But I tell you….” In all topics except one, the Lord Jesus also gave further instructions and applications.

2. Higher moral standard that rises above the common expectation of people.

  Emphasis on the spirit of loving God and men from the heart rather than a superficial observance.

III. Segment Analysis

1. The Scriptures (see 7:12; 11:13; 22:40; Lk 16:16; Jn 1:45; Acts 13:15; Rom 3:21).

2. Jesus Christ came to fulfill the requirements of the law perfectly, so that the requirements can also be met in those who obey and trust him (Rom 8:3,4). The Law and the Prophets all point to the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom 3:21; Gal 3:24). Therefore, the true spirit of the Law and the Prophets can only be understood in light of Christ and His teachings.

3a. The righteousness of the Pharisees refers to the careful keeping of God’s law, right down to the letters. But such practice has often been turned into a mere outward observance.

3b. The Pharisees’ careful observance of the Scriptures was good, but not good enough. The Lord demands something more. He wants us to also keep the spirit of God’s commands from the heart.

4. Our heavenly Father will not forgive us if we do not forgive our brothers from our heart (6:14,15; 18:35). Our offering will also be unacceptable to God.

5a. Literally gouging out our eyes and cutting off our hands would not guarantee a sinless life.

5b. The Lord teaches us to be radical in dealing with sin. Only the “violent” may lay hold of God’s kingdom (Mt 11:12). Paul uses similar language when he exhorts us to put to death the deeds of the body (Rom 8:13; Gal 5:24). We need to turn away from sin, even if it involves drastic changes in our thoughts and lifestyle, and even if it means denying our desires in order to deal with our weak spots.

6a. Be truthful.

6b. While an oath was meant to be a solemn declaration and sign of trustworthiness, it was often misused as a means to make up for the lack of personal integrity. So the Lord teaches us to be truthful in our words instead of relying on oaths to make us credible.

7. The command of our Lord is to be truthful and not call upon heaven, earth, or our heads to boost our credibility. The Lord Jesus himself testified under oath (26:63,64); Paul also claimed that God was his witness (Rom 1:9; 2Cor 1:23; 1Thess 2:5,10; Phil 1:8). As long as we are not using the oath to cover up any untruthfulness, we do not need to refuse to testify under oath.

8a. Instead of retribution, we should repay evil with good (Prov 25:21,22).

8b. Concession is not a sign of weakness but leaving room for God to carry out His justice (Rom 12:19-21). Furthermore, loving those who have wronged us is the way to overcome evil and win over our enemies.

9. The command does not say “be as perfect as the heavenly Father,” since no one can ever be as perfect as God (Mk 10:18). But the imperative “be perfect” sets a direction and goal for us to aim for (The word “perfect” is from telos, meaning “end, goal, limit”). Just as we are to be holy as God is holy (Lev 11:44,45; 19:2; 20:7; 1Pet 1:16), we are to be perfect as God is perfect. We ought to imitate our heavenly Father in every way rather than just settling for mere compliance to the regulations of the law. As a conclusion to the subject of loving our enemies, the Lord requires us to be perfect in our love just as God is perfect in His love.

PDF Download