Saturday, September 17
Matthew 5:27-37 TNIV
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
“It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.
“Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.’ But I tell you, do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. All you need to say is simply ‘Yes,’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”
There is a beyond-ness in the sermon on the Mount that startles and appalls the legalistic mind. It sees no limit to duty—the first mile does not suffice, he will go two; the coat is not enough, he will give the cloak also; to love friends is not enough, he will love enemies as well. Come to that with the legalistic mind and it is impossible and absurd; come to it with the mind of the lover and nothing else is possible. The lover’s attitude is not one of duty, but one of privilege. Here is the key to the Sermon on the Mount. We mistake it entirely if we look on it as the chart of the Christian’s duty, rather it is the charter of the Christian’s liberty—his liberty to go beyond, to do the thing that love impels and not merely the thing that duty compels. The fact is that this is not a law at all, but a lyre which we strike with the fingers of love in glad devotion.
E. Stanley Jones, The Christ of the Mount.