|Have you ever noticed that in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus doesn’t contrast evil and good, but good and good?
A few examples: Instead of contrasting light and darkness, he draws His listeners’ attention to placing a lamp under a bowl and placing it on a stand. In both cases there’s light, you see. Further, He says it isn’t enough not to murder or not to commit adultery; you must also not hate your brother nor harbour lustful thoughts. The twist on this is that the first group were obeying the 10 commandments. And so on with giving to the needy, praying and fasting while putting on a show. Nothing wrong with those spiritual disciplines, but Jesus says to do them in secret.
Recently, I was struck when I read, “Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt 5:19) Not that such a person won’t be in the kingdom. Boggles my mind.
All these thoughts are from Tim Keller’s sermon, The Inside Out Kingdom, in which he explains how Jesus contrasts gospel goodness and religious goodness. Religious people never do anything unless it’s about them. People with gospel goodness do the same things because God is their Father. As a result their goodness is brighter, deeper, sweeter and higher than that of the religious folk. May we learn to be self-forgetful!