Angelic Conflict part 311: Attack on inward transformation – Mat 5:21-37; 1Co 6:1-7; Psa 51:1-4, 16-19.
length: 62:28 - taught on May, 7 2014
Christ also taught that the evil one would attempt to turn our worship of God in Christ into ethical system based on overt behavior only, making ostentatious oaths and pledges.
In contrast to all other ethical systems that focus on external behavior, the ethics of God’s law of the Spirit in Christ Jesus focuses on the inner disposition of people.
As a man thinks in his heart so is he. In religious systems the overt behavior is the sole focus, but in a direct departure from this Christ taught that is was what is within a man that is most important.
MAT 5:21 "You have heard that the ancients were told, 'You shall not commit murder' and 'Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.'
MAT 5:22"But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever shall say to his brother, 'Raca,' shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever shall say, 'You fool,' shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.
Our Lord is contrasting those who perverted the Law of Moses into a system consisting of only overt behavior only, while the true heart of the Law, which was to open the heart to the true source of sin and evil and the need for a Savior, which originates from the human soul, was ignored. To say that one who commits murder is guilty but the one who is angry and contentious is not guilty before God is to pervert the Law.
Some clarifications of the language here is necessary.
“Raca” - a Syriac word expressing great contempt. It denotes senseless, stupid, shallow-brained.
There were local courts and the supreme court, which was the Sanhedrin. Just as there were levels of courts there are overt sins and mental attitude sins as well as sins of the tongue, but all sin is sin to God.
Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
Hatred brought to its end, if were to be fully acted out, would end up in murder.
Since all sin has been paid for by Christ there must be an explanation as to why He says that all who say, “You fool,” shall be guilty into the fiery hell.
“hell” - Gehenna. It is made up of two Hebrew words which signify the Valley of Hinnom where the Jews sacrificed their children to Moloch. It later became Jerusalem’s place to dump the dead and the filth.
[I quote generally from Barns’ Notes, who I think does the best job at explaining this.] After the return of the Jews from captivity, this place was held in such abhorrence that it was made the place where to throw all the dead carcasses and filth of the city, and was not infrequently the place of public executions. It became, therefore, extremely offensive; the sight was terrific; the air was polluted and pestilential; and to preserve it in any manner pure, it was necessary to keep fires continually burning there. The extreme loathsomeness of the place; the filth and putrefaction; the corruption of the atmosphere, and the lurid fires blazing by day and night, made it one of the most appalling and terrific objects with which a Jew was acquainted. It was called the GEHENNA of fire, and was the image which our Savior often employed to denote the future punishment of the wicked.
In this verse it denotes a degree of suffering higher than the punishment inflicted by the "court of seventy," (supreme court NASB) or the Sanhedrin, and the whole verse may therefore mean, "He that hates his brother without a cause is guilty of a violation of the sixth commandment, and shall be punished with a severity similar to that inflicted by the court of judgment. He that shall suffer his passions to transport him still further, so that he shall make his brother an object of derision and contempt, shall be exposed to severer punishment, corresponding to that which the Sanhedrin (council) inflicts. But he who shall load his brother with odious appellations and abusive language shall incur the severest degree of punishment, represented by being burned alive in the horrid and awful valley of Hinnom."
The amount, then, of this difficult and important verse is this:
The Jews considered but one crime a violation of the sixth commandment, namely, actual murder, or willful, unlawful taking life. Jesus says that the commandment is much broader. It relates not only to the external act, but to the thoughts and words.
He specifies three forms of such violation:
1. Unjust anger.
2. Anger accompanied with an expression of contempt.
3. Anger, with an expression not only of contempt, but wickedness.
Therefore our Lord makes a plea to the inner man. God wants all of us, body, soul, and spirit. He is not interested in overt shows while within us there is putrefaction. We are transformed after salvation by the renewing of our minds and then we can present our bodies, as washed with pure water, as instruments of righteousness for the service of our Father.
MAT 5:23"If therefore you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you,
MAT 5:24leave your offering there before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.
The Pharisees were intent only on the external act in worship. They looked not at all to the internal state of the mind.
If a man conformed to the external rites of religion, however much envy, and malice, and secret hatred he might have, they thought he was doing well.
Our Savior taught a different doctrine. It was of more consequence to have the heart right than to perform the outward act. If, therefore, says he, a man has gone so far as to bring his gift to the very altar, and should remember that anyone had anything against him, it was his duty there to leave his offering and go and be reconciled. Whether his brother was willing to be reconciled to him was not the issue. The issue was the state of his own heart. With envy, hatred, or malice in his heart, the offering was just an overt act without meaning. The meaning of all offerings were based on the work of the Messiah in whom sin, envy, hatred, malice, etc. were all to be reconciled to God with the clear result that none of God’s creatures should lack forgiveness of his brother.
While a mental attitude sin existed, his offering could not be acceptable. He was not to wait until the offended brother should come to him; he was to go and seek him out, and be reconciled.
So now the worship of God will not be acceptable, however well performed externally, until we are at peace in our hearts concerning all.
A lack of peace in your heart concerning any person is a result of a mental attitude sin, whether it be jealousy, revenge, anger, bitterness, hatred, contempt, etc.
The demonic doctrines of the world system, found in the beliefs of religion and even in pagan circles, is that only the overt matters. In fact, it is often thought to be noble if one harbors hatred in his heart and doesn’t act upon it. This is magnified as restraint. If one hates his brother and still performs his overt worship in a religious system, this is exalted as piety. Our Lord makes clear that this is from the evil one. The inside of the cup must be cleaned before the outside is clean. No matter how many coats of whitewash one puts on a tomb, if the dead is inside the tomb is unclean.
MAT 5:25"Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, in order that your opponent may not deliver you to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison.
MAT 5:26"Truly I say to you, you shall not come out of there, until you have paid up the last cent.
This is again in reference to the sixth commandment, “You shall not murder,” since the Lord has made it clear that a mental attitude of murder in the form of hatred, malice, envy, and contempt are all violations.
This certainly does not concern legitimate litigation over a crime committed, but the Lord is referencing the inner man. Even if a crime is committed against us we are not to harbor mental attitude sins against the violator, but rather be reconciled in our hearts.
In fact, Paul convicted the Corinthians of bringing each other to court over things that could have been easily reconciled in the church.
The Father, the Judge, could have condemned all of us, but the iniquity of us all fell upon Christ. So we should have mercy and forgiveness towards one another.
1CO 6:1 Does any one of you, when he has a case against his neighbor, dare to go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints?
1CO 6:2Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts?
1CO 6:3Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, matters of this life?
1CO 6:4If then you have law courts dealing with matters of this life, do you appoint them as judges who are of no account in the church?
1CO 6:5I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not among you one wise man who will be able to decide between his brethren,
1CO 6:6but brother goes to law with brother, and that before unbelievers?
1CO 6:7Actually, then, it is already a defeat for you, that you have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded?
Living under the rule of God means having one’s heart, as well as one’s behavior, unconditionally submitted to the Lord, and always in grace.
Now He moves on to the seventh commandment. As with the sixth, the Pharisees believed that it only had to do with the overt behavior.
Virtue and honor demand that we believing men not violate the body of a woman, even with our minds or our eyes. They belong to God, Christ is their husband, and some other man has been designed for her by God so that she is to be loved as Christ loves the Church. This is only selfish gratification. Satan knows how to enflame this lust and has done so successfully, but this is not new just because of technology, it is just more easily accessed.
MAT 5:27 "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery';
MAT 5:28but I say to you, that everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.
And so with David:
Now when evening came David arose from his bed and walked around on the roof of the king's house, and from the roof he saw a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful in appearance.
In Psa 51, as well as others, David writes about his restoration and in this Psalm he makes a point about offering sacrifices for the sin without a heart that knows its need for restoration from God. Just offering the sacrifice alone, going through the ritual, God is not at all pleased with. This attitude of performing overt worship of God without a worship of Him in the heart is a demonic doctrine directly from satan. Ushers, prep-school teachers, computer operators, cleaners, food preppers, givers, conference contributors, etc. should all come from a heart devoted unto the will of God and the love of the brethren and not overt only.
PSA 51:1 Be gracious to me, O God, according to Thy lovingkindness; According to the greatness of Thy compassion blot out my transgressions.
PSA 51:2Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.
PSA 51:3For I know my transgressions,
And my sin is ever before me.
PSA 51:4Against Thee, Thee only, I have sinned,
And done what is evil in Thy sight,
So that Thou art justified when Thou dost speak,
And blameless when Thou dost judge.
PSA 51:16 For Thou dost not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; Thou art not pleased with burnt offering.
PSA 51:17The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
A broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.
PSA 51:18By Thy favor do good to Zion;
Build the walls of Jerusalem.
PSA 51:19Then Thou wilt delight in righteous sacrifices,
In burnt offering and whole burnt offering;
Then young bulls will be offered on Thine altar.
MAT 5:29"And if your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out, and throw it from you; for it is better for you that one of the parts of your body perish, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.
Christ is implying a certain indignant promptitude, heedless of whatever cost to desire the act may involve.
The literal eye is not in view. A person could pluck out both his eyes and still lust in his mind. Unfortunately fanatical ascetics have both advocated and practiced this which shows no real grasp of the spiritual aspect or the inner aspect of the Christian way of life. If we could become spiritually mature by destroying all five senses then the CWL would actually be easier than it is. It is the heart of a man that must change!
The eye is used as symbolic of desire. The Jews and many other cultures often used body parts as symbolic of what occurs in the inner man, like having the stomach for something or the heart for something or seeing eye to eye.
The eye of the heart is the desire and priority of a person's inner man.