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Matthew 5:21 Morality

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This is about morality. It includes murder, adultery, divorce, oaths, doing more than asked, turning the other cheek, and loving your enemies.

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Matthew 5:21-48

Morality: Murder

21. “This is a tremendous statement! It means that if you are angry with your brother, you are a murderer!” (McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible: Volume IV. [Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983], 32)

22. “Anger is such a foolish thing. It makes us destroyers instead of builders. It robs us of freedom and makes us prisoners. To hate someone is to commit murder in our heats (1 John 3:15).” (Wiersbe, Warren W, The Bible Exposition Commentary New Testament Volume 1 Matthew-Galatians. [Colorado Springs: David C Cook, 2004], 23)

Raca! “Lit. ‘Empty-headed!’ Jesus suggests that verbal abuse stems from the same sinful motives (anger and hatred) that ultimately lead to murder.” (MacArthur, John, The MacArthur Bible Commentary. [Nashville, Thomas Nelson Inc., 2005], 1131)

“Those who call someone a ‘fool’ commit a sin. This word (moros) carries overtones of immorality and godlessness was well as idiocy.” (Blomberg, Craig L., The New American Commentary, Volume 22, Matthew [Nashville: Broadman Press], 107)

23. Jesus “envisages a worshiper who is called to place interpersonal reconciliation above correct ritual.” (Bloomberg, 107)

24. “Sinful anger must be faced honestly and must be confessed to God as sin. We must go to our brother and get the matter settled and we must do it quickly.” (Wiersbe, 23)

25. “Jesus calls for reconciliation to be sought eagerly, aggressively, and quickly—even if it involves self-sacrifice. It is better to be wronged than to allow a dispute between brethren to dishonor Christ (1 Corinthians 6:7).” (MacArthur, 1131)

“Prison refers to debtor’s prison, where the person could work to earn back what he had defrauded.” (MacArthur, 1131)

26. One will stay in prison until the complete debt is paid.

Morality: Adultery

27. Exodus 20:14; Deuteronomy 5:18

28. “The ‘look’ that Jesus mentioned was not a casual glance, but a constant stare with the purpose of lusting…The man Jesus described looked at the woman for the purpose of feeding his inner sensual appetites as a substitute for the act. It was not accidental; it was planned.” (Wiersbe, 24)

29. “Literal self-mutilation is not Christ’s objective.” (Blomberg, 109)

Jesus “commands us to take drastic measure to avoid temptation to sexual sin—to remove from ourselves anyone or anything that could lead us into scandal (‘causes you to sin’).” (Blomberg, 109)

30. Jesus “uses this graphic hyperbole to demonstrate the seriousness of sins of lust and evil desire. The point is that it would be ‘more profitable’ to lose a member of one’s own body than to bear the eternal consequences of the guilt from such a sin.” (MacArthur, 1131)

Morality: Divorce

31. In Deuteronomy 24:1-4 “The rabis had taken liberty with what Scripture actually said…They had wrongly concluded that men could divorce their wives for anything that displeased them, as long as they gave ‘a certificate of divorce.” (MacArthur, 1131)

“Moses provided this process as a concession to protect the woman who was divorced, not to justify or legalize divorce under all circumstances.” (MacArthur, 1131)

32. “Divorce was allowed in cases of adultery. Luke 16:18 must be understood in light of this verse…This verse assumes that divorced people will remarry. If the divorce is not for sexual immorality, then any remarriage is adultery because God does not acknowledge the divorce.’” (MacArthur,1131)

Morality: Oaths

33-37. “Many Jews viewed swearing by ‘heaven,’ ‘earth,’ ‘Jerusalem,’ or ‘one’s head’ as less binding that swearing ‘by God.’” (Bloomberg, 112)

“Jesus stresses that each of these items belongs to God in an important way (cf. Isaiah 66:1) so that the conventional Jewish distinctions are spurious.” (Bloomberg, 112)

“Jesus followers should be people whose words are so characterized by integrity that others need no formal assurance of their truthfulness in order to trust them.” (Bloomberg, 112)

Morality: More than Asked

38-42. “Jesus replaces a law with an attitude: be willing to suffer loss yourself rather than cause another to suffer. Of course, He applied this to personal insults, not to groups or nations.” (Wiersbe, 24)

“Jesus teaches the principle that Christian kindness should transcend even straightforward tit-for-tat retribution.” (Bloomberg, 113)

39. “In no sense does v. 39 require Christians to subject themselves or others to physical danger or abuse, nor does it bear directly on the pacifism-just war debate.” (Bloomberg, 113)

40. “One must be willing to give as collateral an outer garment—more than what the law could require, which was merely an inner garment (cf. Exodus 22:26-27).” (Bloomberg, 113)

41. “Verse 41 continues the legal motif by referring to Roman conscription of private citizen to help carry military equipment for soldiers as they traveled.” (Bloomberg, 113)

42. “Jesus calls his followers to give to those who ask and not turn from those who would borrow. He presumes that the needs are genuine and commands us not to ignore that, but he does not specifically mandate how best we can help.” (Bloomberg, 114)

Morality: Love Enemies

43. The first half of this is found in Moses’ Law (Leviticus 19:18). The second part is found in how the scribes and Pharisees explained and applied that OT command.” (MacArthur, 1132)

44-45. “Love for one’s neighbors should extend even to those neighbors who are enemies.” (MacArthur, 1132)

“These verses plainly teach that God’s love extends even to His enemies. This universal love of God is manifest in blessing which God bestows on all people indiscriminately.” (MacArthur, 1132)

46. “The true test of genuine Christianity is how believers treat those whom they are naturally incline to hate or who mistreat or persecute them.” (Bloomberg, 114)

47. “‘Greet’ refers to more than a simple hello, namely, heartfelt, ‘expressions of desire for the other ‘person’s welfare.’” (Bloomberg, 115)

“Jesus’ followers must thus demonstrate a higher moral standard that the average unbeliever. A second rationale for loving one’s enemies is that God loves them too.” (Bloomberg, 115)

48. “Jesus is not frustrating his hearers with an unachievable ideal but challenging them to grow in obedience to God’s will—to become more like him.” (Bloomberg, 115)


Amplified Bible (AMP)
Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved.

Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville Tennessee. All rights reserved.

New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)
Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

New King James Version (NKJV)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

In this article Scripture quotations taken from KJV.

Blomberg, Craig L., The New American Commentary, Volume 22, Matthew Nashville: Broadman Press
McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible: Volume IV. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983
MacArthur, John, The MacArthur Bible Commentary. Nashville, Thomas Nelson Inc., 2005
Robertson, A. T., A Harmony of the Gospels. New York, HarperCollins Publishers
Wiersbe, Warren W, The Bible Exposition Commentary New Testament Volume 1 Matthew-Galatians. Colorado Springs: David C Cook, 2004

Beatitudes                                                                                              Prayer

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