September 4, 2013
Morning – Psalm 56, 2 Sam. 18:19, 2 Cor. 8:1-15
Evening – Psalm 66, Matthew 5:38
Commentary, Matthew 5:38-48
Our Lord, still in the Sermon on the Mount, continues to teach about the full meaning of the Law of God. His point is that an outward conformity is not enough. God requires a clean heart and a right spirit (Ps. 51:10), not mere mechanical avoidance of wicked deeds. In other words, God requires holiness, and Jesus is showing that the point of the Commandments of God is holiness.
He turns to the words of Exodus 21:24, which requires punishment for men who injure a pregnant woman. The words occur again in Deuteronomy 19:21, where they address those who intentionally cause financial or physical injury, or attempt to use the power of the government and courts to cause financial or physical injury to innocent people. The meaning in these verses is that the same injury a person caused or intended to cause, is to be inflicted upon him by the court. “[L]
ife shall go for life, eye for eye, tooth for
tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.” That is the court’s job. That is the government’s job. It is God’s servant, ordained by Him to
protect the rights and property of innocent people by punishing those who would
injure them. But the individual person
is not bound to do as the government and courts are. The individual person is free to have mercy,
to pardon, even to love his enemies. The
intent of God’s law, as it applies to interpersonal relationships, requires mercy, pardon, and love, even
No person, then, has met the requirements of the law by just not causing more hurt to an offender than the law requires. The full “spirit of the law” requires him to cultivate generous, forgiving, and loving actions and attitudes, even toward those who do him evil. Christ illustrates this with real life examples. Turn the other cheek, “let him have thy cloke also.” Go the second mile. “Love your enemies.” This is the real meaning of the law.