September 3, 2013

Scripture and Commentary, Wednesday after the Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity


Morning – Psalm45, 2 Sam. 18:1-17, 2 Cor. 7:2
Evening – Psalm 62, 63, Mt. 5:27-37

Commentary, Matthew 5:27-37

It is critically important to understand that our Lord’s words, “But I say unto you,” do not negate or change the moral law.  Instead, they actually affirm the truth of the law as the standard of righteousness and the word and will of God.  At the same time, they show that a mere outward conformity to the law is the same as disregarding and breaking the commandments of God altogether.  As Bishop J. C. Ryle wrote in his Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, the Lord is explaining what He meant when He said, “I came not to destroy the law, but to fulfill.”  “He teaches us that His Gospel magnifies the law and exalts its authority.  He shows us that the law… was a far more spiritual and heart-searching rule than most of the Jews supposed.  And he proves this by selecting three commandments out of the ten as examples of what he means. 

The seventh commandment is addressed in verses 27-32.  According to Christ it requires much more than simply not committing the act of adultery.  It requires a lifestyle of chastity in thought and deed.  It requires thinking of, and treating people with respect rather than as toys and playgrounds for sexual pleasure.  Thus, any unchaste thought or look is a breach of the intent of the commandment and the will of God.

The ninth commandment is addressed in verses 33-37.  It, in part, reserves oaths and vows for the most important of events.  Especially it requires great caution in calling God as the witness of vows.  Quoting Bishop Ryle again:

“Many fancied that they kept this part of God’s law, so long as they did not swear falsely, and performed their oaths.  [But] the Lord forbids all vain and light swearing altogether.  All swearing by created things…, all calling upon God to witness, excepting on the most solemn occasions is great sin.”

This commandment also requires the strictest honesty and integrity in all our dealings.  It is not enough to keep our promises.  We must be true and honest people at all times.  Let our yeas mean yea, and our nays mean nay.