Matthew – Fulfilled
What is moral? What is morality? I wrote a paper on this topic when I was a senior in high school. It was 1969. I would imagine that the same paragraphs would apply today. Ecclesiastic says there is nothing new under the sun, that times change, but people are still tempted, walk away or succumb to it. Sin hasn’t changed. We can pass laws for moral reasons, but we cannot change people’s attitudes about the law. We can pass laws as a cover for our lack of morality…or moral failure. Jesus reminds us of the intent of God’s law…that never changes.
Jesus comes and gives new perspective on a law that Moses brought to God’s people in a time of moral failure concerning divorce, a relationship gone bad. This law was initially designed to protect the woman so she would be cared for legally. Apparently God’s people were abusing that law and using the legality to bounce from one relationship to another. Mm, like today? Jesus teaches that at the bottom of this moral failure is a corrupt heart.
Matthew 5, The Message
Adultery and Divorce
27-28 “You know the next commandment pretty well, too: ‘Don’t go to bed with another’s spouse.’ But don’t think you’ve preserved your virtue simply by staying out of bed. Your heart can be corrupted by lust even quicker than your body. Those leering looks you think nobody notices—they also corrupt.
29-30 “Let’s not pretend this is easier than it really is. If you want to live a morally pure life, here’s what you have to do: You have to blind your right eye the moment you catch it in a lustful leer. You have to choose to live one-eyed or else be dumped on a moral trash pile. And you have to chop off your right hand the moment you notice it raised threateningly. Better a bloody stump than your entire being discarded for good in the dump.
31-32 “Remember the Scripture that says, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him do it legally, giving her divorce papers and her legal rights’? Too many of you are using that as a cover for selfishness and whim, pretending to be righteous just because you are ‘legal.’ Please, no more pretending. If you divorce your wife, you’re responsible for making her an adulteress (unless she has already made herself that by sexual promiscuity). And if you marry such a divorced adulteress, you’re automatically an adulterer yourself. You can’t use legal cover to mask a moral failure.
What do take away from Jesus’ teaching?
–It’s not about legal divorce, it is about a corrupt heart. Mm, isn’t always about the heart?
–Stop pretending to be righteous when you have wandering eyes and lust for another.
–A corrupt heart leads to moral failure.
–Don’t use the law to cover up sin.
–“Let’s not pretend this is easy…”
–We must guard our hearts and minds to keep our souls pure and ready for when Jesus returns as our bridegroom. The Holy Spirit will help us. That is a promise.
“Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts. Don’t talk out of both sides of your mouth; avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip. Keep your eyes straight ahead; ignore all sideshow distractions. Watch your step, and the road will stretch out smooth before you. Look neither right nor left; leave evil in the dust.” Proverbs 4:23, The Message