Sunday, October 14, 2007

Greatness in the Kingdom

Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:19-20)
In the previous verses, we saw that all the Law and the Prophets are fulfilled in Jesus Christ. He is the one by whom the commandments are given the proper understanding and purpose. In the natural, we are often inclined to weight the commandments of God from the greatest to the least — even the Pharisees did this. But all of God’s commandments are important to God, and so they should be to us.

But I believe that the real distinction Jesus is making is not between greater and lesser acts, but between outward acts and inward disposition. That is, it is about the matters of the heart. It is not only the outward actions of obedience that matter; God also looks upon the inward man — the obedience of the heart (as we will see in Matthew 5:21-48). This may seem like a lesser thing to some, but if we ignore it or treat it lightly, we will be disqualified for greatness in the kingdom of heaven.

We need a righteousness that goes beyond the righteousness of the Pharisees; we need a righteousness of the heart. When we obey God with the whole heart, we will stand among the greatest in His kingdom.

Greatness in the kingdom of heaven on earth is a matter of the heart.



The Kingdom of Heaven on Earth

The Kingdom of Heaven on Earth
Keys to the Kingdom of God
in the Gospel of Matthew

by Jeff Doles

Preview with Amazon’s “Look Inside.”

Available in paperback and Kindle (Amazon), epub (Google and iTunes) and PDF.