A Perfect Kingdom
Posted June 11, 2023
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In our lesson last week, we began to take a look at the kingdom of heaven as we saw that the kingdom is an upside-down kingdom by worldly standards. The world may consider the kingdom of heaven to be upside-down, but the honest truth is that the kingdom of the world is as backwards as it gets. As we will see in our lesson today, heaven is a perfect kingdom built on true and sincere love.
Fulfilling the Law
Our lesson opens with Jesus still on the mount teaching the disciples. Jesus states to the disciples, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill (v.17).”
Following the example of Christ
The law and Christ has been a topic I have had heavy discussions on before in the past. The reason why is because many people still try to live by the Mosaic law in order to become righteous. However, it is impossible for any of us to fulfill the law in its entirety. Inevitably, you are going to fail one point of the law, and as James said, when you stumble in one point of the law you fail in all of the law (Jas. 2:10).
The law is holy and righteous; it came from the Lord. However, as Paul said in his teaching about the law, you cannot be justified by the law (Rom. 3:20). Because you cannot be justified by the law, you cannot become righteous since there is no salvation. On top of that, Paul said to the Galatians that if you truly believe that you can become righteous through the law, then Christ will have died in vain (Gal. 2:21).
Now, some view such discussion of the law to be very dismissive and to speak evil of the law. However, this is not evil talk of the law as it is not speaking to the law being flawed but that we are the flawed ones. Because we are flawed and incapable of fulfilling all parts of God’s law, we need some help.
Jesus is the help we need; He is the conclusion of the law. I always feel I need to explain myself when I make this statement, because again, some view such a thought to be evil speech about the law. So, when I say that Jesus is the conclusion, the end part of the law, I am speaking to Him being the only one that is able to fulfill all parts of the law without fail.
Now, when the Lord gave the law to the children of Israel, He said that should they keep it, they would be a special treasure to Him above all people; they would be to God a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. So, in other words, should the children of Israel, or anyone for that matter, be able to fulfill every part of the law, they would become a perfect kingdom.
So, if nobody is able to fulfill the law, how can anyone ever be part of a truly perfect kingdom? We must do it by having faith in the one who was able to fulfill every part of the law; we must have faith in Christ. Faith in Christ is not simply a verbal confession, but one where you strive to follow the example that Christ set.
Truly loving the Lord
So, in order for one to truly follow the example of Christ, we find that Jesus said we must love the Lord with our whole heart, and then we must love our neighbors as we love ourselves (Matt. 22:36-40). The love we must move with is not love that is of the world but love that comes from the Lord; you must move in the world through God’s love.
God’s love begins in the heart (the soul). Our lesson now skips down a few verses to Jesus speaking about what rests inside our heart. Jesus said to the disciples, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment (v.21).” Jesus then said, “But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment (v.22).”
Lastly, Jesus warned the disciples by saying that when you insult another, you’ll be judged by the council of the world. To be specific, if they said to their brother, “Raca!” (calling them empty headed) they would be judged by the Sanhedrin. If a council of the world will have judge over you for insulting another, Jesus said that spiritual judgment of hell awaits those who insult and call their brother a fool.
Now, this may give some of us pause because we might be fast to call someone a fool. For that matter, in scripture, we see where Jesus called the religious leaders hypocrites and spoke of those that would continue in disobedience to be foolish in their way. So, someone may ask, would that mean that Jesus would face hell fire? Absolutely not.
Jesus would not face hellfire because He always moved through love and without malice. You can be upset and frustrated with someone and rebuke them from a place of love. It is when we move out of malice – the intent to bring harm – that we face great danger.
So, if you were to tell someone they were being foolish with the intent of correcting their foolish actions, there is absolutely nothing wrong. However, if you were to maliciously call someone a fool with the intent of tearing them down, then you have done wrong by that person. As scripture often encourages us, we must remove malice from our heart in order to move in love that is sincere and of God (Eph. 4:31). You see, it is the love of God that fills the perfect kingdom.
The perfect kingdom is made up of the faithful. In the next section of our lesson, Jesus speaks of the commandment of old, “You shall not commit adultery (v.27).” Whoever looks at a woman, Jesus said, has already committed adultery with his heart (v.28).
Now, of course, we look at this commandment and we know that it is about marriage. What is marriage? Marriage is the coming together of two who are to be committed (faithful) to each other in love. Adultery is a break of that commitment to turn to another through either lustful passion or love.
There has been a discussion for the longest of times as whether or not adultery is committed solely through one’s actions. Now, people may share their discourse as to when one commits adultery but according to the righteous one, there is no discussion. Jesus stated that merely looking at another with a lustful eye is committing adultery.
So, this thought about the perfect kingdom, looks at being faithful rather than moving to fulfill one’s lustful desires. The Lord often accused the children of Israel of committing adultery in their relationship with Him; they were quick to worship idols rather than worship the Lord. The perfect kingdom will be filled with those who have removed lust from their heart and move out of sincere faith.
In moving out of sincere faith, Jesus concludes this week’s lesson by encouraging the believer to resist an evil person (v.38); we should not answer hate with hate (v.39). Frankly, it should be impossible for the believer to answer hate with hate because we should have removed malice and lust – desire for the world – from our heart. Our goal as believers should be to live our lives as Jesus lived His life.
Many often jokingly use the motto, “what would Jesus do?” While it may be a joke to some, it shouldn’t be a joke for us as sincere believers to live our lives by that motto. Again, our goal is to live as Jesus lived so that we can fulfill the law. Fortunately for us, when we fail in a part of the law, we are not destined for hell. No, Jesus gave His life to be our propitiation so that we can find mercy in God’s eyes.
Remember this: You are saved by grace through faith. Jesus is our grace and He saved us. Where the law will point out our sins and not justify us of our sins, Christ rebukes our sin and justifies us because we have believed in Him. By His mercy, we strive to become holy and righteous so that we can one day inhabit that perfect kingdom.