Last week we looked at the subject of anger in Matthew 5:21-26. The main idea was that true righteousness is not characterized by outward behavior but a pure heart. Therefore, simply avoiding murder isn’t a defining mark of righteousness, but cleansing our hearts from underlying anger and putting on love, forgiveness, and compassion is. This is the kind of righteousness that Jesus is calling us to. It is the righteousness that the Spirit will create in the members of God’s kingdom.
In this section of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus describes what true righteousness looks like in the context of personal relationships. To do that, he quotes the law and shows where the religious leaders only obey the tradition at the surface level. But he also reveals how the principle should be obeyed at the heart level, where almost all of us stand guilty. This is exactly what he did with murder, revealing that the heart behind murder is anger. Thus, anyone who is angry is, in some sense, guilty of murder. This revelation is painful, but we must remember that the righteousness described in the SM is not a prerequisite for salvation. We are saved by Jesus, who has paid the penalty for our unrighteousness and has given us his righteousness. He has also cleansed our hearts and given us his Spirit, by whom he will flesh out the righteousness that the SM speaks of in our lives.
In Matthew 5:27-32, Jesus continues his discourse on relationships by addressing the relationship of marriage. What does true righteousness look like in the relationship between husband and wife? Jesus points to two aspects of the law to answer that question: adultery and divorce.Continue reading “A Thirst for Righteousness: The Antidote to Lust, Adultery, & Divorce (Matthew 5:27-32)”