WHAT’S WITH THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT?

The Sermon on the mount (cf. Matthew chapters 5-7) proves to be a great source of blessing and a great controversy at the same time, for the ideal is so high that people say, “We can’t just keep that”. I see the Sermon on the mount as somewhat like the 10 Commandments in the sense of its purpose, that is to show man his sinfulness and to bring man to Christ (cf. Galatians 3:19-29). The Sermon on the mount is that passage of Scripture which cuts even through the soul and spirit, joints and marrow of the unbeliever (cf. Heb. 4:12), for Jesus takes the Old Testament Law and raises it to a new intensity, and then from the rest of the New Testament fulfilled it Himself, and gives it back to man as a free gift. And yet although we have won the race by having the righteousness of Christ, God asks us and gives us the dignity to ‘run the race’ (cf. Heb. 12:2), and the Sermon on the mount is basically an attitude check for the kingdom man. We could call it the psychological profile of the kingdom man, and i think we have to realize that this is not in a sense a set of rules that we are to follow. It is the ultimate Kingdom ethics, but it’s primarily in the area of attitudes and motives instead of a nitpicking literalism of sincere religionists of Jesus’ day even hitherto. It’s not meant to be taken dogmatically and literally; it’s meant to check our attitude toward God, our openness, our willingness to see even the highest ideal and to strive toward it. Maybe not ever grasp it but to move toward it in earnest and in love (cf. Phil. 3:12-14).