Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Commands of Christ - Matthew 7:12

"Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets." -Matthew 7:12

What does this command require?

Do to others what you want them to do to you.

What truths do we learn through this command?

Back up a few verses and review what Jesus has just taught. For those who keep asking, seeking, and knocking, God will provide good things. The illustration given is of a man and his son. The son comes to the father and asks his dad for bread. Jesus poses the question: Who among you would give him a stone? Imagine, the son comes again and asks for a fish. Will you give him a serpent?

This 'golden rule' tells us something very important about Christianity: "Christianity is not simply a matter of abstinence from sin; it is positive goodness." -William MacDonald. Don't just restrain from doing evil things, pursue what is good.

Psalm 1:1-3 summarizes this nicely. "Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season..."

In other words, don't just be known for the bad that you don't do; be known for the good that you do. The truth here is that we ought to act towards others how God acts towards us. He provides good gifts to us, and we, in turn, are to give good gifts to those who ask of us.

Jesus also points out something important here. He makes the statement, "for this is the Law and the Prophets." A major theme in the Old Testament is loving your neighbor as yourself. The 'golden rule' is not specifically stated in the Law and the Prophets, but God desires that His people show forth kindness to others that He shows to them. Perhaps Micah 6:8 comes the closest to stating the golden rule: "He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD, require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?"

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