Read Matthew 5.
Who is responsible:
- to obey God’s word? (vv. 17-20)?
- to release anger toward others (vv. 21-22)?
- to go try to fix a relationship with someone who is angry with you (vv. 23-24)?
- to settle out of court (vv. 25-26)?
- to have a pure heart toward people of the opposite (and same) sex (vv. 27-30)?
- to keep a troubled marriage together as long as your spouse hasn’t crossed the line with another person (vv. 31-32)?
- to be honest–so honest that you keep your word and don’t even need to “swear to God” (vv. 33-37)?
- to be taken advantage of by others and even love others who treat you poorly (vv. 38-47)?
The answer to this quiz is the same for every question–you are.
Why? Because God created you. He’s perfect so you should be perfect like he is (v. 48).
That’s an impossible standard, I know. Jesus knew it, too. That’s why he began by telling us that happiness and prosperity come from being “poor in spirit” (v. 30), hungry and thirsty for righteousness (v. 6) and so on. We need the grace of God to save us from our many failures to obey the commands in that list above.
And, in Christ, we have that grace. He died to atone for every failure we’ve ever had in living up to God’s perfection.
But, having been saved by Christ’s death for us, we have a new power and a new resolve to do all the hard things on that list. We want to shift the blame to people who sin against us to justify our anger but Jesus commands us to deal with our anger in a Christ like way. The same is true for fixing broken relationships, settling with those who want to sue us, being sexually pure in our thoughts and actions, being committed to our marriages, being honest, and loving our enemies.
Nobody else can walk with God for you and you can’t make anyone else do the right thing. You are responsible before God to do what is right and, because of righteousness and power of Christ, you can do it if you trust him and obey what his word commands.
Is there anything on that list that you need to change your mind (repent) about? What is one action you need to do today based on what Christ taught and commanded in this chapter?