Angelic Conflict part 312: Attack on inward transformation – Mat 5:29-37; 13:24-43; 1Ti 4:1-3.

Class Outline:

Title: Angelic Conflict part 312: Attack on inward transformation - MAT 5:29-37; 13:24-43; 1TI 4:1-3.



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.


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. You could not overcome the lusts of the flesh by destroying all five senses. 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.


MAT 6:22 "The lamp of the body is the eye; if therefore your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light.


MAT 6:23 "But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.


Using the phrase "tear it out" reveals the urgency with which our Lord instructs us to change our desires from the flesh to the spiritual life.


We deal with sin immediately through confession to the Father and an immediate change of mind. As for the mention of hell again, if a desire is causing a person to neglect or reject the gospel the tragedy is that that desire, even if fulfilled to excess cannot touch the glories of heaven. No amount of power, wealth, fame, or personal prowess is worth the punishment of the lake of fire. It is better to get nothing on earth and receive heaven than to be given the kingdoms of the earth and receive hell.


And the same principle is true in practicality for the believer. Hell is removed from the believer just as is death. But the fulfillment of the desire of the flesh is a walking death. No matter how much the stimulation may satisfy the flesh's desire in the end it is death and the believer must quickly cut himself off from it through acknowledgment and repentance, even from the occasions that stimulate the desire.


Christ uses sharp words in order to convey the urgency of the matter and the NT continues to carry this theme.


COL 3:5

Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.


ROM 13:14

But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.         


He continues in the same manner with the hand.


The hand is used as the instrument of action which the eye excites. Sinful thinking incites sinful action and both cause great pain.


MAT 5:30"And if your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off, 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 go into hell.


MAT 5:31"And it was said, 'Whoever sends his wife away, let him give her a certificate of divorce';


MAT 5:32but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the cause of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.


DEU 24:1

"When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce


Indecency referred to conjugal infidelity, which was clear to most every conservative Jew under the Mosaic Law, and which our Lord makes abundantly clear here. Marriage is an extremely important part of the family and the society. God placed very strict rules on what constituted a legitimate divorce, but in the more liberal schools of thought, the matter of indecency became any frivolous thing that the woman did and divorces became easy and commonplace. At our founding our nation had very strict laws on what would constitute a divorce and today the laws are very lackadaisical. This is the work of satan and the KOD. I should mention quickly, though it is a matter of spiritual common sense, that if you have divorced and it may have been for the wrong reason, just like any other violation of God's laws for us, we cannot go back and change it. We can only acknowledge wrongdoing and move on in grace without guilt or condemnation. Whatever discipline, if any, accrues from God it is out of love and for correction and instruction and never a matter of judgment or condemnation.


In the context of this passage we could conclude with confidence that marriage is not just overt. A marriage is not to be only about good looks, attraction, wealth, a better station in life, or sex. Marriage is to be of a love, partnership, and devotion that can only be developed in the inner man and woman. Between believers marriage is to be a picture of the relationship between Christ and the Church and should therefore be more fruitful than even the first marriage of our perfect parents in the perfect environment of the Garden of Eden.


MAT 5:33 "Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, 'You shall not make false vows, but shall fulfill your vows to the Lord.'


MAT 5:34 "But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God,


MAT 5:35 or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.


MAT 5:36 "Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black.


MAT 5:37 "But let your statement be, 'Yes, yes' or 'No, no'; and anything beyond these is of evil.


As our Lord here is dealing with the ten commandments we can surmise that the next commandment He is dealing with is...


EXO 20:7

"You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.


LEV 19:12

 'And you shall not swear falsely by My name, so as to profane the name of your God; I am the Lord.


This again is an overt show.


GEN 22:16

By Myself I have sworn,


God has sworn by Himself, but man is not like God and with man it is generally just an overt showing of some oath that he may or may not perform.


MAT 5:33 "Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, 'You shall not make false vows, but shall fulfill your vows to the Lord.'


If I make an oath by God, so help me God, I am in essence stating that God has the right to administer the proper discipline if I do not fulfill the vow.


So Israel, not unlike any other nation, found a way around this by vowing by heaven, earth, or their own head. In this way they could make their overt proclamation and not worry about the consequences of not fulfilling it.


MAT 5:34 "But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God,


This not meant to condemn all swearing as one would do in a court as some ultra-moralists would allege, but it refers to the arrogant boasting of the more frivolous swearing amongst others.


"make no oath" - Do not swear in any of the common and profane ways customary at the time.


MAT 5:35 or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.


MAT 5:36 "Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black.


It appears from this passage, as well as from the ancient writings of the Jewish rabbis, that while the Jews professedly adhered to the law, they had introduced a number of oaths in common conversation, and oaths which they by no means considered to be binding. For example, they would swear by the temple, by the head, by heaven, by the earth. So long as they kept from swearing by the name Jehovah, and so long as they observed the oaths publicly taken, they seemed to consider all others as allowable, and allowedly broken. This is the abuse which Christ wished to correct.


It was the practice of swearing in common conversation, and especially swearing by created things. To do this, he said that they were mistaken in their views of the sacredness of such oaths. They were very closely connected with God; and to trifle with them was the same as trifling with God. Heaven is his throne; the earth his footstool; Jerusalem his special abode; the head was made by him, and was so much under his control that we could not make one hair white or black. To swear by these things, therefore, was to treat irreverently objects created by God, and could not be without guilt.


It is remarkable that the sin here condemned by the Savior still prevailed in Palestine in the same form and manner referred to here. Dr. Thomson (The Land and the Book, vol. ii. p. 284) says, "The people now use the very same sort of oaths that are mentioned and condemned by our Lord. They swear by the head, by their life, by heaven, and by the temple, or what is in its place, the church. The forms of cursing and swearing, however, are almost infinite, and fall on the pained ear all day long."


MAT 5:37 "But let your statement be, 'Yes, yes' or 'No, no'; and anything beyond these is of evil.


Christ instructed to skip all oaths and to be a man of your word. Your yes is a yes and your no is a no. Anything beyond this is of evil and falls into the same category of the overt minus the inner transformation.


Simply put in the Law of Moses:


DEU 23:23

You shall be careful to perform what goes out from your lips, just as you have voluntarily vowed to the Lord your God, what you have promised.


Our character should be true enough that we don't need gimmicks to get people to believe us.


As we look at the passage as a whole, MAT 5:21-37, we are not to define righteousness overtly and not inwardly. A lack of inward transformation derives its acceptance from satan.


Satan is behind the temptation to buttress up our character with oaths.


Paul teaches that doctrinal systems that focus on legislating legitimate external behavior derive from demons, 1TI 4:1-3.


1TI 4:1 But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,


1TI 4:2 by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron,


1TI 4:3 men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods, which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth.


Next we look at the parable of the wheat and the tares, which Christ explains to the disciples.


The point is that Christ fully taught that there was an Angelic Conflict or Invisible War and that this war would consist of the righteous and unrighteous and it would come to an end only at the end of human history.


MAT 13:24 He presented another parable to them, saying, "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field.


MAT 13:25 "But while men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares also among the wheat, and went away.


MAT 13:26 "But when the wheat sprang up and bore grain, then the tares became evident also.


MAT 13:27 "And the slaves of the landowner came and said to him, 'Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?'


MAT 13:28 "And he said to them, 'An enemy has done this!' And the slaves  said to him, 'Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?'


MAT 13:29 "But he said, 'No; lest while you are gathering up the tares, you may root up the wheat with them.


MAT 13:30 'Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, "First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn."' "


Tares look just like wheat when they are young. This refers to satan's counterfeit christians and systems.


Counterfeit Christians:


2CO 11:14-15

Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their deeds.


Counterfeit gospel:


GAL 1:6

I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel


Counterfeit righteousness


ROM 10:3

For not knowing about God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.


Counterfeit God


2TH 2:4

so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.


Counterfeit Jesus and Spirit