Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Back to basics: A Bit of the Sermon on the Mount

We have a difficult task as Christians.  First, we need to submit to God: our lives, our thought life, and our hearts.

Second, we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves.  But being fallen, faulty people, with imperfect understanding and incomplete knowledge, how can we do this?

  • We are not to judge, but we need discernment.
  • We need wisdom, but not “idle philosophy.” (sophistries)
  • We need to be righteous, not self-righteous.
  • We need to read and embrace Scripture and not memorize a script.

There is only one Way, Truth and Life, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; and we will never convince the world of that fact until we lose our own incessant need to win this war of words.

Until we accept that we are not perfect, understand we don’t have all the information, and comport our lives and words with humility, we will never convince the world at large to listen to our voices.

This is part and parcel of membership in the kingdom of God, and a Gospel message, which in Craig Keener’s words “…transforms those who meekly embrace it, just as it crushes the arrogant, the religiously and socially satisfied.”[1]

Here are Jesus’ own world shaking and life changing words from various translations of the New Testament.

Blessed are the poor in spirit [those who are not spiritually arrogant[2]] for theirs in the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who morn [how happy are those who know what sorrow means[3]], for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the gentle [humble, meek, patient[4]], for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness [goodness[5], uprightness[6], justice[7], holiness[8],] for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful [compassionate[9]], for they shall receive mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart [clean in heart[10], utterly sincere[11]], for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers [those who make peace], for they shall be called sons of God.

Matthew 5:3-9

[1] Craig Keener, A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (1999, Grand Rapids, Eerdmans) P.162
[2] Footnote from the NASB
[3] Philips translation
[4] Knox translation
[5] Moffat Translation
[6] Goodspeed Translation
[7] Lamsa translation
[8] Knox
[9] Weymouth
[10]  New Testament in Basic English
[11] Philips (and last [bracket] is Philips as well)

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