THOUGHTS FROM MATTHEW

June 19

Text: Matthew 19:18-20

 He *said to Him, "Which ones?" And Jesus said, "YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER; YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY; YOU SHALL NOT STEAL; YOU SHALL NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS; HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER; and YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF."The young man *said to Him, "All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?" (NASB)

Which ones?  What a question!  Did the man not know the basics of the Law of Moses?  Something is terribly wrong.  He obviously did not understand those Laws meaning!  Though the Laws were stated in the negative (the original recipients were to stop such behavior), it took positive behavior to obey them.  The Laws did not advocate a moral vacuum of nothingness, but a new concept of moral behavior.

This man thought that that obeying Gods moral concepts involved nothing more than abstaining from certain behaviors.  Because he did not kill anyone, or seduce a wife, or actually take a physical possession that someone else owned, or lie in court, or abuse his parents, or mistreat his neighbor, he was 100% in compliance with Gods moral intentions.  Acting on hatred, seducing the unmarried, being shrewd in business, deceiving while not technically lying, neglecting parents without abusing them, and ignoring neighbors had nothing to do with Gods moral intentions.  If he could say, I do not! he had done all God expected.

Before we criticize his reduction of Gods moral intent to I do not, stop to consider how many today declare moral goodness on the basis of what they do not do.   Consider how simple it is to seek to resolve confrontations with affirmations of I do not.  Think of how convenient it is to avoid responsibility by affirming what we do not do.  It is by such means that too often we declare personal goodness without doing anything.  Does such behavior adopt Gods intentions for moral behavior?

Suggestion for reflection: How do you declare your devotion to Gods morality?  (Read Psalm 24:1-6.)

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