Showing posts from April, 2021

Mercy is NOT Optional

Mercy and love are the defining characteristics of his disciple and reflect the true nature of his Father  –  Matthew 5:43-48 .  Christians can be confused, even overwhelmed, by the exhortation found in the middle of Christ’s ‘ Sermon on the Mount ’ - “ Therefore be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect .” We assume that “ perfection ” means conforming to a standard of righteousness that is impossible for any human. How can anyone ever hope to emulate the perfect righteousness of God? - [ Photo by Matthew T Rader on Unsplash ]

His Absolute Authority

At the conclusion of his sermon delivered on the mount, Jesus vested his words with ABSOLUTE AUTHORITY  –  Matthew 7:21-28 .  The  Sermon on the Mount  is not a program for reforming civil society, implementing economic justice, or a utopian pipe dream for the perfect society. Instead, it provides clear instructions for how his disciples must live in the present age as faithful citizens of  HIS  kingdom. For his followers, his teachings are not optional, and at the sermon’s conclusion, Jesus vested his words with ultimate authority - [ Built on sand - Photo by Nadin Mario on Unsplash ].

Spirit and Covenant

From the start, the promise of the Spirit has been integral to redemption and the Covenant of God with His people .  In  Galatians , Paul links the “ promise of the Spirit ” to the “ blessing of Abraham ,” the covenant promise that God would bless the Gentiles in the Patriarch. He is referring to the Spirit that the Galatians received “ through a hearing of faith .” Thus, the gift of the Spirit is part of the covenant made with Abraham, and with “ his seed ” - [ Photo by  David Brooke Martin  on Unsplash ].

Spirit of Life

It is the Spirit of God that imparts life, especially the everlasting life in Jesus of which the gift of the Spirit is the foretaste and guarantee .  In the churches of Galatia, certain “ false brethren ” were preaching “ another gospel ,” one that required Gentile believers to be circumcised and conform to some of the other regulations required by the  Torah . Paul would have none of it and responded with a series of arguments, beginning with an appeal to the gift of the Spirit - [ Mountain Stream photo by  Delaney Van  on  Unsplash ].