|Matthew 5 |
1 [The Sermon on the Mount is the greatest sermon of all time. Everyone can hear the power of these words on the surface, but the real meaning has been hidden from most over the centuries. For that reason, a short explanation is provided in brackets for the first few verses. Bracketed text is commentary or clarification.] And seeing the multitudes, he went up on a mountain, and when he was seated, his disciples came to him.
And seeing the multitudes, he went up on a mountain, and when he was seated, his disciples came to him.
2 Then he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. [Blessed are those who know they are poor in spirit, who know they need more of the Holy Spirit, who know they are in great need and in spiritual poverty, Rev 3:17-19. But woe to you who are rich [think you are spiritually rich]! For you have received your comfort. Luke 6:24. Jesus came to preach the gospel to the poor (in Spirit) because only those who know they are slaves to sin, can hear His gospel offer to destroy the sin in them and free them indeed. As Jesus said: "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."]
4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. [Blessed are those who mourn because they are slaves to sin, because they have no control over their emotions. Blessed are those who mourn because they have waited on and listened to the Holy Spirit, who shows them how they are slaves to sin, locked in selfishness, captive to lusts, and in bondage to their emotions, for they shall be comforted; for the same Holy Spirit of grace, both shows a man his sins and then removes them, purifying for himself a people who are his very own, zealous for good works. And: Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. Luke 6:21. But: Woe to you who laugh now! For you shall mourn and weep. Luke 6:25. You must hate your worldly life in order to be motivated to lose your worldly life and thereby find the superior life of God.]
5 Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. [Blessed are those who have been changed by the Spirit of God to become humble, gentle, and in control of their emotions, for they shall inherit a new earth; and those who wait upon the Lord shall inherit the earth, Psalm 37:9, for by your persistent and patient waiting on the Lord, He changes you to become meek with great self-control. From the word of the Lord within: "Those who wait on the Lord shall inherit a new earth."]
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled. [Blessed are those who want to be free from sin, who hunger for the praise of God instead of from men; and because of that hunger, they seek God with all their heart and soul to then receive the Holy Spirit's purifying of their hearts and souls, thereby becoming righteous. John warns us: Little children, let no man deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous. 1 John 3:7-10. Jesus tells us how he practiced righteousness: Of my own self, I can do nothing. I judge only as I hear. John 5:30; and whatever I speak is just as the Father has told me to speak. John 12:49-50; and the Son is able to do nothing of himself [by his own will], but only does what he sees the Father do. John 5:19... Obedience leads to righteousness, Rom 6:16. When you are filled, then you judge, speak and act, only as you are prompted by God, just like Jesus practiced; then, and only then, you are righteous. This is to do the will of the Father; only he who does the will of the Father shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Mat 7:21. But woe to you who are full! For you shall hunger. Luke 6:25.]
7 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. [Those who forgive, will be forgiven. Mercy triumphs over judgment. Those who do not forgive others, who stay angry, who hold grudges, who resent others, will not be forgiven by God. The Lord desires mercy, not sacrifice. Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Mat 6:12. Let your mercy, O LORD, be upon us, in proportion to our waiting and hoping on you. Psa 33:22. George Fox wrote: "Forgiveness is more than with the mouth." From the Word of the Lord within: "Forgive and forget."]
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. [Blessed are those whom the Holy Spirit cleanses to purity, for they will see the glory of God in the face of Christ Jesus appear in their hearts, in ever increasing glory. When he appears, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. And every man who has this hope in him purifies himself, even as He [Jesus] is pure. 1 John 3:2-3. He appears not just to be seen, but He then guides you through the rest of your life with what to do and say; then you are working righteousness like He did. Unless you have a pure heart, you will not see God; without a heart purified while on earth, you will see God at your death, which will be a terrifying experience.]
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God. [Blessed are those who seek and attain peace, which is the fruit of having attained righteousness, and which is quietness and confident trust (unquestionable assurance) forever. Then the peace of Christ will rule your heart; rule as king, rule your thoughts, rule your words, and rule your deeds.]
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. [All who are determined to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 2 Timothy 3:12. Therefore, since Christ has suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, because he who has suffered in the flesh is finished with sin. 1 Peter 4:1-2. It is through many trials and tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God, Acts 14:22. If there is no suffering, (even to being scourged), there is no being a son of God and no salvation, which is to be freed from sin.]
11 Blessed are you, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. [Speaking to his true disciples, (then and now), Jesus said: If the world hates you, you know that it hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, and because I have chosen you out of the world, the world therefore hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his lord.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they kept my word [and practiced my teachings], they will keep yours also. But they will do all these things to you for my name’s sake, because they do not know him who sent me. John 15:18-21; yes, the time is coming when whoever kills you will think that he is doing a service to God. John 16:2. Just as the religious establishment persecuted Jesus then, just as the religious establishment persecuted the early Quakers, including hanging them in Boston, so will the religious establishment persecute the Spirit of Jesus wherever it fully appears in His followers.]
12 Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
13 You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt has lost its savor, with what shall the earth be salted? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out, and to be trodden underfoot by men.1
14 You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. [After you are freed from all sin and translated into the kingdom of God, then the morning star (Jesus) rises in your heart, then you have been called out of darkness into His marvelous light, then you share in the inheritance of the saints in the light, then you are walking in the light as Jesus is in the light, then God will have made you to become become a child of the light, and then you are the light of the world; through your walking and speaking in obedience to God's continual directions, you will show the world the wisdom, love, and power of God. From the Word of the Lord within: "We demonstrate the love of God to the earth." This verse could have been translated from the original Greek just as correctly to be: "You are to be the light of the world." Jesus said, "As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world," John 9:5.]
15 Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it gives light to all who are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. [When you have been delivered (freed) from the sins and evil in your heart, God's light will shine forth in your heart, to guide your thoughts, words, and works. God makes us a fit instrument for his hand to direct in works of love, to show the world the love of God, to shake the nations, and to hold out the word of life. God's works are performed by his people with joy, knowing all their words and deeds are perfect and virtuous, which bring honor and glory to God, and which shows true righteousness. The purpose of becoming a Christian is to do works according to the will of God: so that thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven. Mat 6:10]
17 Do not think that I have come to destroy the law or the prophets. I have not come to destroy, but to fulfill.
18 For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, in no way shall one letter or one stroke pass from the law, until it is all fulfilled.2 [A crucified disciple produces the fruit of the spirit, which fulfills the law as he walks in love. Heaven and earth pass away as the disciple is completely controlled by the Spirit of Christ and is translated into the kingdom of heaven within himself. From the Word of the Lord within: "There are no laws when you are under complete control of the spirit; you walk in love in obedience as prompted — you don't walk in restricted flesh." The Law was applied to fallen man, who lost the life and guidance of God by Adam's fall in the Garden of Eden; no law applies to a man who has been restored to the spiritual image of God.]
19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so, will be called the least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them, the same will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. [See, Rom 3:31, Rom 2:8-16, and James 1:21-25]
20 For I say that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. [In the next verses, Jesus redefines the laws to a higher standard, which exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees.]
21 You have heard that it was said to them of old, 'You shall not kill, and whoever kills shall be in danger of the judgment.'
22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother will be subjected to judgment;3 and whoever says to his brother, 'Raca,' [in contempt] shall be in danger of the council; but he who says, 'you fool,' shall be in danger of hell fire. [From the Word of the Lord within: "Do not be misled; anger must be eliminated to enter the kingdom."]
23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and remember that your brother has something against you;
24 Leave your gift there before the altar and go your way; and first be reconciled to your brother, then come and offer your gift.
25 Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him; lest at any time the adversary delivers you to the judge, and the judge delivers you to the officer, and you are cast into prison. [Jesus uses prison as a metaphor for Hell; he is pleading for men to do right and warning them of the consequences of doing wrong. Luke 12:35-59 gives more detail of this pleading.]
26 Truly I say that you shall by no means get out, until you have paid the last penny. [Notice! When in Hell you have paid the last penny for your debt of sins committed on earth, you get out; Hell is not forever. We trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. 1 Tim 4:9-10. See Is There Hope for All for more details and more scriptures that support Hell not being forever.]
27 You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not commit adultery.'
28 But I say to you that whoever looks on a woman with lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.4 [From the Word of the Lord within: "A man must learn control of his body. Mankind's failure—sexual immorality."]
29 If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your body parts should perish, rather than your whole body should be cast into hell;5 [Looking on a woman with lust, committing adultery, is serious sin that leads to Hell. However, Jesus doesn't want us to maim ourselves; He wants us to come to Him so He can purify us through obedient faith to the commands we hear Him speak to us as we wait on Him in humble silence.]
30 And if your right hand offends you, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your body parts should perish, rather than that your whole body should be cast into hell.
31 It has been said that whoever puts away his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.
32 But I say to you that whoever puts away [divorces] his wife, except for the cause of sexual immorality, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.
33 Again, you have heard that it has been said to those of old, 'You shall not perjure yourself, but you shall perform your oaths to the Lord.'
34 But I say to you, Do not swear at all; neither by heaven, for it is God's throne;
35 Nor by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.
36 Neither shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black.
38 You have heard that it has been said, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.'
39 But I say to you, do not resist evil; but whoever strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other cheek to him also.
40 And if any man sues you at the law, and takes away your shirt, let him have your coat also.
41 And whoever asks you to go one mile, go with him two miles. [go the extra mile].
42 Give to him who asks you,7 and do not turn away from him who would borrow from you.
43 You have heard that it has been said, 'You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.'
44 But I say to you, Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who despitefully use you and persecute you;
45 So that you may be the children of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
47 And if you only greet your brothers, what more do you do than others? Do not even the tax collectors [or pagans] do the same?
48 Therefore, be perfect, even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect."8 [There are many scripture references to the requirement of perfection in the New Testament, (click to see), and in the Old Testament too! (click to see). Only the power of God can change a man to be perfect, and the completion of His perfection process of you is when Jesus appears to crush the head of the Satan under your feet. Rom 16:20. We must be righteous as He is righteous, 1 John 3:7-10. We must be merciful as He is merciful, Luke 6:36. We must become pure as He is pure. 1 John 3:3. But as he who has called you is holy, so you be holy in all manner of conduct, 1 Pet 1:15. So that we walk as he walked, 1 John 2:6, and as he is, so are we in this present world. 1 John 4:17. There is no flexibility and no equivocation in any of these stated requirements.]
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1 You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt has lost its savor, with what shall the earth be salted? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out, and to be trodden underfoot by men. From George Fox's Journal:
the Lord said to me, ‘What people trample on must be your food.' And as the Lord spoke he opened to me, that people and professors trampled on the life, even the life of Christ was trampled on; they fed on words, and fed one another with words, but trampled on the life, and trampled under foot the blood of the son of God, which blood was my life; and they lived in their arrogant opinions talking of him. It seemed strange to me at the first, that I should feed on what the high professors trampled on; but the Lord opened it clearly to me by his eternal spirit and power.
When men do not speak words as prompted by the Spirit of God, when they speak from their carnal minds, when they give their vain opinions as to what the Bible means; they are trampling on the words of Christ, destroying the true meaning, destroying the life in their listeners, and trampling on the blood of Jesus — because they are speaking without life, they are speaking lies, they are speaking errors, they are speaking from the Spirit of Satan instead of the Spirit of Christ. They don't understand that the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin if we walk in the light as he is in the light. 1 John 1:7. Those speaking from their carnal minds, (not speaking from words taught and supplied by the Spirit), are ministers of Satan, transformed [masquerading] as ministers of righteousness. 2 Cor 11:14-15; and they don't know they are Satan's ministers; they think they are Christ's, even though Christ never taught or trained them, never perfected them, never authorized them, never gifted them with the ministry, never sent them to preach, and never told them exact words to speak.
2 For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, in no way shall one letter or one stroke, (jot, and tittle), pass from the law, until it is all fulfilled. A crucified disciple produces the fruit of the spirit, which fulfills the law as he walks in love. Heaven and earth pass away as the disciple is completely controlled by the Spirit of Christ and is translated into the kingdom of heaven within himself. From the Word of the Lord within: "There are no laws when you are under complete control of the spirit; you walk in love in obedience as prompted — you don't walk in restricted flesh." The Law was applied to fallen man, who lost the life and guidance of God by Adam's fall in the Garden of Eden; no law applies to a man who has been restored to the spiritual image of God. When you have been crucified, you walk in obedient love to God as He continuously supplies all your thoughts, words to speak, and actions to be performed. Walking in obedient love to the continuous commands of God fulfills the law and establishes the law, even exceeding the law in righteousness.
Jesus tells us in this verse that He came to fulfill the law, and then in the immediately following verses He gives us examples of how He is strengthening the law so that it is fulfilled, even exceeded:
Clearly Jesus has defined a much stronger law; clearly He insists that we exceed the righteousness of observing the Mosaic law to become perfect, which is amplified by other scriptures in the New Testament:
When you have been crucified and become like God in holiness, righteousness, mercy, purity, and perfection, then you are walking in love and fulfilling the law.
Elsewhere Jesus tells us why it is necessary: because all men are defiled by what is in their hearts, and since nothing defiled can enter heaven, all defiled men are banned from heaven. From the Word of the Lord within: "Until you witness receiving faith from Christ, you are under the law. Until you witness the law fulfilled in you, you are under the law. Woe be to to you if you don't listen and fulfill the law." So our hearts must be cleansed of even the desire or inclination to sin.
When you are perfected to be without sin, heaven and earth pass away as the disciple is completely controlled by the Spirit of Christ and is translated into the kingdom of heaven within himself. The end of the world is a personal experience — as it was for the disciples — for they saw the end of the world. And the world passes away and disappears, along with its desires and lusts; but he who does the will of God remains forever. 1 John 2:17. So the world with its lusts and passions disappear together, crucified by the aid of the Spirit. After we are purified, Christ returns to establish his Kingdom within us, and the world as we know it disappears. We enter a different dimension — paradise or the Kingdom of Heaven. Now all these things happened to them as examples; and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world have come. 1 Cor 10:11. The world ends as you step into a different parallel dimension, the Kingdom of God that is within and around us — it is a different dimension to be lived in, a spiritual dimension to be entered through personal tribulations while still physically on the earth; and then to dwell there forever. But, unless you enter the Kingdom of Heaven in this life, you will never have any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ or God. The Books of Acts and Ephesians helps us understand the Kingdom of God within and among us: God .. is not far from each one of us, for in him we live and move and have our being, Acts 17:27-28, and One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all, Eph 4:6; but we are not aware of this because we are in a lower physical dimension. The physical dimension shares the same space as the higher spiritual dimensions; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. Eph 4:6. To enter the Kingdom of God within and around us, is to be dramatically translated to the spiritual dimension of consciousness and sight, in union with Christ and God, but walking on earth by the light of God. The world passes away from our sight when the Kingdom is entered. From the Word of the Lord within: "The world ends as you step into another dimension. You can live in heaven and still walk the earth."
He writes the stronger law in our heart as we wait on Him, listening to hear His spoken commands, which are engrafted into our heart and which transmit His life into us until we are crucified on the inward cross of self-denial to become free of even the desire to sin with a new heart and new mind. Then we become one with Christ and the Father, and we enter the kingdom of heaven while still alive on the earth to enjoy peace, joy, and righteousness forever.
George Fox wrote of the end of the law:
Christ came not to break the law; the apostle said the law was good in its place, and he established it; yet the apostle says that the Sabbath was a shadow, but the body was Christ, and he brings them to the law in the heart, in the mind, and there he established it. Christ did not come to break one jot or tittle of it, but (mark) to fulfill it; and he said, "not one jot or tittle of the law should be broken until fulfilled."...the offerings being changed; the law also changed, and the offering, Christ Jesus, having come, the law came to be within, and the circumcision within; and Christ, the rest, is the Lord of the Sabbath, and the rest for the people of God. He who holds up Sabbaths and offerings, holds up circumcision and works, and so keeps people from the body and the head, in the signs and shadows, and so in the works of the law, which the law commands...Christ is the end of the law to everyone that believes, in every jot, and tittle, and print of it; and the signs and shadows that were held up by the law, Christ is the end of; yet the life of the law, the power, remains, though the outward changing shadows and things, end, the body is what ends them all.
The life and power of the law remains because the surviving law became the inner law that is on every man's heart:
For when the Gentiles, who do not have the law, do [obey] by instinct the things contained in the law, these men who do not have the law, are a law to themselves.
Who show the work of the law written in their hearts, and their conscience also bears witness; while their thoughts accuse or else excuse them. Rom 2:14-15
(There is a record kept of every thought a man ever had, and those thoughts will be revealed and remembered in judgment to show a man how he deliberately violated the laws on his heart.)
The inner law on every man's heart makes us feel bad when we lie or steal. This law includes the external moral laws:* do not steal, do not lie, do not covet, do not murder, do not commit adultery, (and all sexual immorality), honor your parents, do unto others as you would have them do to you, etc. The inner law's moral laws exceed the external, Mosaic moral laws for as Jesus said, he came to fulfill the law; and then He told us how it was to be strengthened, which the inner law reflects. This strengthened inner law can be understood to have been violated anytime you exhibit a fruit of the flesh, which includes: sexual immorality, uncleanness, covetousness, filthiness, foolish talking, jesting, profanity, adultery, lack of restraint, sorcery, hatred, arguments, jealousies, rage, selfish ambition, divisiveness, envies, murders, drunkenness, revelries (partying), evil thoughts, fornications, wickedness, deceit, blasphemy, pride, anger, boasting, flattery, immodesty, immorality, and foolishness. Any of these disqualify all men from heaven. A man innocent of all these fruits of the flesh is in full compliance with the rigid requirements of salvation stated in the scriptures: be perfect as the Father is perfect, Mat 5:48; be righteous as He is righteous, 1 John 3:7-10; be merciful as He is merciful, Luke 6:36; become pure as He is pure, 1 John 3:3; as he who has called you is holy, so you be holy in all manner of conduct, 1 Pet 1:15; walk as he walked, 1 John 2:6; and as he is, so are we in this present world, 1 John 4:17.
*If you are a Jew that practiced the Mosaic Law and have turned to Christianity, you are permitted, (not required), to continue that practice until you have received faith from the Spirit that a portion of the law should not govern you, (as did Peter); for if you think it is a sin to violate any aspect of the law, you are condemned if you violate it. When your sinful nature has been crucified, you too will be walking in continuous obedience to the instructions of God, which establishes, fulfills, and greatly exceeds the law in true righteousness.
Every man will be judged by God according to this inner law; no man is excused from this law for any reason, and it has never been annulled or cancelled. The law has dominion over a man as long as he lives, Rom 7:1; the law is our schoolmaster sounding out our sins and shortcomings that motivate us to go to Him to receive His teachings, commands, (more laws), and purifying changes by grace. We live under the restrictions of the law until we have crucified our sinful nature on the inward cross of self-denial; until then we walk according to restrictions of the moral laws plus whatever commands we hear from the Lord as we wait on Him, listening and watching for His spoken words and revelations to us.
For you to be free from this inner law, by which all men shall be judged, you must submit to God condemning the sins in your flesh, with commands tailored to your life's circumstances and that you hear when waiting on Him ; those commands are established as additional laws in your heart, in which are all the laws you must obey and continue to obey until you are completely crucified, to then walk in love and liberty under no laws.
From the Word of the Lord within:
After your selfish spirit has been crucified on the inward cross of self-denial to then receive the fruit of the Spirit, then all your thoughts, words, and deeds are prompted and commanded by God; then you are no longer subject to the law.
From the Word of the Lord within: "There are no laws when you are under complete control of the spirit; you walk in love in obedience as prompted — you don't walk in restricted flesh."
3 You have heard that it was said to them of old, 'You shall not kill, and whoever kills shall be in danger of the judgment.' But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother will be subjected to judgment. Notice that the Lord has just likened anger to murder, and in fact when you are angry with someone, in your heart you have murdered them; just like later in that chapter's verses, He explains that looking at a woman with lust is committing adultery in your heart. John gives us further evidence that anger is murder in your heart: Whoever hates his brother has committed murder [in his heart], and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. 1 John 3:15. From the Word of the Lord within: "Do not be misled; anger must be eliminated to enter the kingdom."
Both anger and lust are sins from within the heart that only the Lord can remove, but we must go to him, and must wait on him — listening in humble silence with need for the grace of his heart-and-soul-purifying power. For our hearts to become pure of sin, we must patiently and persistently sit to wait, watch, listen, hear, obey... wait, watch, listen, hear, obey..... seek, listen, obey..
The Lord judges; we are forbidden to judge. The Lord exacts vengeance; we are forbidden to do so. The Lord kills and makes alive; we are forbidden to take life. The Lord has his godly anger, (in combination with grief and sorrow), against men who are religious hypocrites, still sinning; we are forbidden to be angry with anyone.
Anger is the opposite of forgiveness. You cannot forgive someone and still be angry with them. Note, only the King James and New King James have the added the words "without cause" to anger. Of the five Bibles offered in parallel, you will notice that only the King James and New King James have diluted this warning by adding "without cause." Most scholars believe that a translator could not believe his anger was wrong and therefore inserted the words, "without cause," in a later text that the earlier texts now available do not include. How could any man distinguish between what is "with cause" and what is "without cause?" It is impossible for every man to be able to guess what God considers "with cause" or "without cause;" every man would have a different opinion, and God has only one opinion — no degree of anger is acceptable by God because to harbor anger is to fail to forgive. Look at the parable of settling accounts, concluded below:
Then his lord, after he had called him, said to him, 'O you wicked servant, I forgave you all that debt because you asked me.
Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, even as I had pity on you?'
And his lord was angry, and delivered him to the tormentors, until he should pay all that was due to him.
So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also to you, if each of you from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses. Mat 18:32-35
There is no excuse for anger; it is part of the beastly nature in man. The Lord is our proof. As he was crucified, he prayed for the Father to forgive those who were crucifying him for they didn't know what they were doing. He is the ultimate example. There is no greater injustice than for his own people to have crucified him, when he had healed entire cities of every sickness and disability, raised the dead, restored the sight of the blind, and spoke nothing but truth; yet as he was in unimaginable pain and dying, he prayed for their forgiveness. Now, if there ever was a justification for anger, this horrible crucifixion of the most humble man to walk the earth, had to be the one; yet the Lord did not get angry. So, by his monumental forgiveness of those who murdered him, we know there is never justification for us holding onto anger. He was sorrowful, with sorrow almost to death, knowing what would happen to him. And his reaction was sorrow at the colossal injustices he suffered, but not anger; sorrow, not for himself, but sorrow for how wrong his errant children were.
There are many who justify their anger saying: "the Lord got angry when he drove the moneychangers out of the temple." My reply is: "no, he was not angry like a man gets angry; he was under perfect control and knew exactly what he was doing, for he said he never judged anything himself because he only judged as he heard the Father's judgments; further he only said what he heard the father tell him to say, and only did exactly what the Father instructed him to do. John 12:49-50, 5:19,30, 14:31" Anger is a judgment that we make ourselves, and when we judge someone else critically, we suffer the same judgment: Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Luke 6:37. But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, and filthy communication out of your mouth. Col 3:8. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. Eph 4:31. For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Mat 6:14-15. The anger of man does not lead to the righteousness of God. James 1:20.
See the page on Forgiving Others is Critical for suggestions on how to give up anger.
4 whoever looks on a woman with lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart. Gentle reader, Christ came and strengthened the law, making it even harder to be obedient than before he came. He changed an "eye for an eye", to "turn the other cheek; love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who despitefully use you, and persecute you." He made adultery, not just the act, but the thought in the heart. He made murder, not just the act, but the anger and hate in your heart. He told us not to repay injury or insult. He told us that restraint of sin was not enough, but that we were defiled by what was in our hearts; so our hearts must be cleansed of the desire or inclination to sin. He told us that: unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. Mat 5:20. Notice, just after he tells us that looking at a woman with lust for her is committing adultery with her in our hearts, he then tells us if our right eye offends us to pluck it out. This is how serious sexual lust is.
Now Jesus is fair. He would not have increased these commands on us, unless there was a way to obey them. The way is to go to him, wait and watch silently, listen for him, hear him, and obey him — repentance — the inward cross of self-denial. Your souls are purified in obeying the truth, through the spirit. 1 Pet 1:22. Listen to and obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people; and walk completely in the ways that I command you. Jer 7:23. He [Jesus] became the author and source of eternal salvation to all those who heed and obey him. Heb 5:9
5 Notice, just after he tells us that looking at a woman with lust for her is committing adultery in our hearts, he tells us in the very next verse if our eye causes us to sin to pluck it out. This is how serious sexual lust is. For this you know, that no sexually immoral, impure person, or covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words. For because of these things, the wrath of God comes upon the children of disobedience. Eph 5:5,6. But, he doesn't want us to maim ourselves. He is only illustrating how serious continuing to sin is, (see also Mat 18:8-9, Mark 7:21-23). Jesus is desperately trying to tell us that to enter the Kingdom and escape hell, sin has to go. He knew false ministers with false gospels promising freedom to continue to sin would arise after he left. Changes in our heart through the missing cross to purity can take away the desire of the hand, foot, and eye to cause us to sin.
6 Do not swear. But let your 'yes' be 'yes,' and your 'no,' 'no;' for whatever is more than these comes from the evil one.
Do not swear.
Swearing is not profanity. Swearing is to take an oath, or to swear "to tell the truth." Swearing is forbidden by Jesus and James: Above all things, my brothers, do not swear, neither by heaven or by earth, nor by any other oath; but let your "Yes" be yes; and your "No," no, to avoid being condemned. James 5:12. The reason Jesus further tells us not to swear by heaven, by earth, (or by the Bible), by God, or even the hairs on your head is because you don't control any of them, so to pretend to be able invoke them is a complete exaggeration, even a lie.
But let your 'yes' be 'yes,' and your 'no,' 'no;' for whatever is more than these comes from the evil one.
Until our selfish spirit, the spirit of Satan, that every man has, is crucified, most all of what we speak is from that Spirit of Satan; even if you have "accepted Jesus," your mouth is still controlled by the spirit of Satan until it is crucified on the inward cross of self-denial to be replaced by the Spirit of Christ to rule your heart in thoughts, words, deeds. Until you heart has been purged of the evil in it, by the powerful grace of God, to become purified, your words come from the Spirit of Satan. That is why Jesus did not want man to bear witness about him, because he knew what was in their hearts. John 2:25. And many other times, Jesus ordered men not to talk about the miracles he had done; for he did not want the testimony of men with their hearts still full of evil, as we all are, until cleansed by Him. That is why Jesus said: But I say to you, for every idle [non-edifying] word that men speak, they will give an account of the same in the day of judgment. Mat 12:36
Man's heart is full of evil; man's mind is enmity to God. What an uncrucified man speaks is from his evil heart, mind, and spirit; that is why the Lord must give us a new heart, new mind, and new spirit as we must become an entirely new creature, with all old things passed away. That is why a disciple is blind until Jesus, the Master, makes the disciple perfect like Jesus is perfect; to be able to help the disciple's brother remove the spec from his eye. Luke 6:39-45
7 Give to him who asks of you. This command applies to individuals asking for help for themselves or their family. While giving to charities that help the poor is looked on with favor by the Lord, this command doesn't apply to solicitations by organizations. For individuals the only exception is when you know the person who asks of you is pretending they have needs. For example, in my home town there is free medical care, free sleeping rooms, free storage lockers, free cell phones, and 3-5 free meals served every day; so if their sign says they are hungry or need money for food, I know they are not sincere. Many homeless advocates tell us not to give money to the normal homeless beggar on the street, rather to offer them a meal or to contribute to the homeless charity in your area; and they even tell us that giving money to such people harms them, (and harms the poor people with genuine needs too). If a panhandler is aggressive; or if you see the same person begging for weeks, months, or years; or if you see them passed out on the side of the street; or if you see them partying; or if you see a group of people taking turns begging with a sign; or if they smell of alcohol; all those show the scam of their pretended need. However, if you are in doubt or uncomfortable in declining, then give; and if you feel someone has a sincere need, then give liberally and with the joy of helping someone that really needs help.
If you know from experience that someone has scammed you, there is nothing wrong with refusing their future attempts to scam you.
If someone has borrowed money from you with the promise to pay it back, then failing to pay it back, there is nothing wrong with refusing their additional attempts.
If someone explains why they want money, (either borrowed or your gift of kindness), and their explanation doesn't make sense, or it is not for a purpose you would consider moral or necessary, you can use your good judgment on whether to comply or not.
In a poor country that has few jobs available, it is possible for beggars who continue to beg to be in real need; that is for you to decide. If they are begging, with "Help Wanted" signs in store windows, unless they are disabled, (which some are), then they are probably scammers. To keep beggars from using your money for alcohol or drugs, you could just buy them a meal or some food from a kiosk or store; or you could contribute to some charity that works with street people. The charity that works with street people has seen all the scams and is more likely to not be fooled.
In a country that has no welfare assistance for the blind, then by all means, contribute to their needs whenever possible; George Fox wrote that giving to the blind should be our highest priority.
8 Be perfect, even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect. Notice, Jesus has left no wiggle room for the definition of be perfect, which he has commanded us to become. He doesn't say as perfect as is humanly possible. He doesn't say almost perfect. He doesn't say kind of perfect. He says: as perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect — a definitive qualification of perfect — an unarguable perfection. Now, Jesus doesn't lie; Jesus doesn't exaggerate. So, if he told us to be perfect, even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect, then it must be possible; and it is possible through the power of God to mortify [put to death] the deeds of the body that are of the earthly life: fornication, impurity, inordinate affections, evil lusts of the flesh, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Col 3:5. For by mercy and truth iniquity is purged [from the heart]. Pro 16:6; — with obedience leading to righteousness. Rom 6:16.
This verse, be perfect as your Father who is in heaven is perfect, is nothing more than the summary of His commands in previous verses that define perfect behavior: anger must be eliminated, (22), don't even look at a another person with sexual lust, (28), don't divorce except for sexual immorality, (32), don't swear or take oaths, (34), do not resist evil, turn the other cheek when struck, (39), give your coat also to whoever takes your shirt in court, (40), do more than what people ask of you, go the extra mile, (41), give to him who asks of you or wants to borrow, (42), love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who despitefully use you and persecute you, (44). Isn't that the definition of a perfect, sinless man?
There are many other verses that speak of perfection being required both in the Old Testament (click to see) and in the New Testament (click to see). Yet, this is THE scripture those who are devoid of truth, (not directly taught by the voice of the Lord), don't want to acknowledge. Various rationalizations of denial are made including:
From the word of the Lord within:
"I say this to your shame.
Though you have great knowledge of the scriptures and profess them, you don't possess of whom they speak."
Further, James even wrote that we must become complete and perfect, so that we lack NOTHING:
"But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing," James 1:4.
[Note! If you lack nothing, then you have everything possible, (including fellowship with Christ and the Father, raised to heaven, sitting with Christ in the kingdom, in union with Christ and God, free from even the desire to sin, pure, holy, sanctified, permanently cleansed and perfected, and protected from ever sinning again — all while still alive on earth), as Paul wrote the perfect man does: Until we all come to the unity of the faith, and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; Eph 4:13. If you are a perfect man and possess the fullness of Christ, you have everything possible.]
Paul also wrote of becoming perfect and complete:
Epaphras, a servant of Christ who is one of you, salutes you, always striving fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. Col 4:12
[This is a serious prayer, that the Colossae would stand, (be strong), be perfect, be complete, doing the will of God. This is not make-believe Christianity. This is speaking of being restored to the life and light of God, in union with God, controlled by God in thought, word, and deed — able to do God's will on earth as it is done in heaven.]
We have no examples of complete men in scriptures, but we do have examples of perfect men in the scriptures, (Enoch, Noah, Zacharias, Elizabeth, Job, Hezekiah, Asa, and David), and perfect men in the writings of the early Quakers on this site with an entire web page devoted to the subject of perfection that includes several testimonies from early Quakers who had attained perfection. Perfect means free of all sin; no longer sitting in darkness and walking in darkness; but walking by the light of God; no longer with the carnal mind and evil imagination of man; but walking as guided by the mind of Christ; but complete is completely undefined.
The imperfect, blind guides of Christianity often twist a few scriptures to support their preaching that sin is inevitable to death, which twisted scriptures are listed and explained on the Perfection and Purity web page, (click to see).
People are lazy in their complacency toward the broad easy way of instant grace and instant salvation, but Jesus insisted on works to all of the seven churches in Revelation, even insisting on perfect works, Rev 3:2-3; salvation requires works of obedient faith, but not dead works or obsolete works of the law. For more on the subject of required works, see Lie Number 8 in The Ten Deadly Lies of Christendom.
Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly. And none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand. Daniel 12:10
So, as Paul said: Therefore having these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. 2 Cor 7:1.
From the word of the Lord within:
- "Nobody became perfect by trying to be perfect.
- If you would be perfect, follow me.
- Everyone listen to what the Spirit says; this you follow.
- Everybody who believes the son shall be made perfect.
- The Lord's arm has been withheld; witness therefore man made perfect.
- It takes several years to reach a stage of perfection.
- Those who preach against perfection have a lack of earnest faith.
- Make no provision for the flesh.
- A man without sin has the power and life given to him.
- I give favors to he who is pure.
- See myself — thus no sin has a place in me
- Sin in believers is intolerable.
- The perfection of man frees from death; repent of your evil."
Through your fleshly efforts, many of Jesus' commands are impossible to completely obey, no matter how hard you try; complete obedience to all his commands is only possible by your going to God to be changed, by the cleansing and purifying power of God — through the inward cross of self-denial. Christendom has no power because they don't understand the gospel, which is the power of God; they don't understand the cross, which is the power of God; and they don't understand the power of his name. Christendom is without power, practicing a form of godliness; exactly what Paul warned about. 2 Timothy 3:5. But by the power of God, (released by hope in the true promises), you can be changed to be able to completely keep all of Jesus' commands, to fulfill the law, to establish the law, to become perfect, to become pure, to become holy — by believing in his true promises and going to him to silently listen — hear and obey. But until you do, you will always be locked into the slavery of sin, unable to love like he has commanded us, unable to show the love of God to the world, unable to be a true disciple of Christ, with no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ. To listen and obey what you hear the Lord command you, results in the Spirit mortifying the sin in your flesh; until finally the Lord appears to completely destroy the residual spirit of Satan that is in your heart, when he appears to crush the head of Satan under your feet, (a personal experience), and destroy him with the brightness of his coming and consume him with the spirit of his mouth (the sharp, two-edged sword).
According to William Penn, to God a perfect man is: blameless, sinless, a shunner of evil; yet can still make mistakes that are not sins, still be subject to disease, and be without perfect wisdom or glory. And quoting John Gratton: "So it is plain, men may be really, perfectly, sincerely, children or branches, yet may grow from strength to strength, faith to faith, in and by the spirit of the Lord, yet be perfect children, and grow to be young men, and overcome the wicked one, and still grow to be fathers, and still press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, be thus minded. This is the perfection we mean; we do not mean such a perfection as that nothing can be added to it."
Another great early Quaker, Isaac Penington, also wrote thus about perfection:
That the Lord God is able perfectly to redeem from sin in this life; that he can cast out the strong man, cleanse the house, and make it fit for himself to dwell in; that he can finish transgression and sin in the heart, and bring in everlasting righteousness; that he can tread down Satan under the feet of his saints, and make them more than conquerors over him; this, they confess, they steadily believe. However, everyone that is turned to the light of the Spirit of Christ in his heart, who is presently advanced to this state, they never held forth except that the way is long, the travel hard, the enemies and difficulties many, and that there is need of much faith, hope, patience, repentance, watchfulness against temptations, etc., before the life in them arrives at such a pitch. Yet, for all this, said Christ to his disciples, 'Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect;' directing them to aim at such a thing; and the apostle said, 'Let us go on unto perfection;’ and Christ gave a ministry ‘for the perfecting of the saints:' and they do not doubt but that he that begins the work, can perfect it even in this life, and so deliver them out of the hands of sin, Satan, and all their spiritual enemies, as that they may serve God without fear of them any more, in holiness and righteousness before him all the days of their lives.
From George Fox's Cambridge Journal:
If you wait [on God] in what is pure in you, you will find and see, because God has given you a measure of his spirit, by which you can comprehend things and see the deceits. Now when the mind goes forth from that pure measure, which lets you see deceits, the simplicity is ensnared, and God is not in your thoughts any more; instead, the son of perdition in you sits in the temple of God, where he ought not to sit. With the birth of the Lord [in you], this son of perdition is discovered, and with the brightness of the Lord's coming [in you], he is consumed; that man of sin is revealed [in you], and so shall you witness the scriptures fulfilled. But you must wait in that which is pure, which will show you when your mind departs into disobedience, setting up Baal's priests (outward) before God, and that brings a distraction in the mind where there is a halting between two (you and God); for all of the troubles are without in the world, but Christ said that "in me you shall have perfect peace." Wait in Christ and mind him in yourself, (there is where you wait for his appearing). Keep focused inward, (stay seeking Christ within yourself), and do not follow the cries of lo Christ is here and lo Christ is there to distract you to outward seeking, you will have peace in a short time. You will later witness [see, experience] Christ, who is the substance of the prophets and apostles. The scriptures are shown to you within you (by Christ) to guide you to the Father, the Lord God of heaven and earth. By waiting for the Spirit of the Lord within you to guide your mind, you will find your strength renewed daily by the one Spirit that gave forth the scriptures. There is no confusion, but instead perfect peace. This Spirit baptizes into the one body, and this Spirit is the unity of the saints, who though absent in body, yet are present in Spirit, all being made to drink into one Spirit. This Spirit circumcises and puts off the body of sin from you, and you are sanctified through your obedience to the Spirit. You will come to witness the scriptures pure and clear, as they are without any mixture [of man's interpretations], as holy men possessed them and gave them forth. So holy men possess them and give them forth again and witness them again.
The only way a man can be perfect is: 1) to persistently go to God to listen and obey all commands that he speaks to you; 2) which eventually results in Him freeing you from all sin and purifying your heart and soul; 3) in such a pure heart He appears, is seen, is revealed; and 4) then He is truly your Lord who directs your every word to speak and every action to be done. A man is perfect because everything he does is specifically ordered by God, who is unquestionably perfect; and so everything he orders is perfect. Once a man has been freed of all sin, then all the details of that man's life are according to the commands and will of God. Scoffers might say, "such a man is only a robot;" but what they don't understand is that obedience is a perfected man's joy and pleasure. Why? Because his consciousness stands in the presence of God, whom he loves beyond earthly measures, and because he is fully confident that every word that comes out of his mouth, and everything he does, is perfect; both which advance the creation, God's kingdom, and his own maturity in godliness; and that is a perfect peace, an unbounded joy, and a happiness that exceeds anything man can possibly imagine. He enthusiastically obeys God in perfected love of Him; a perfected man's pleasure is to please his creator in whose presence he stands constantly.
The purpose of the ministers, (if specifically trained and appointed by Holy Spirit), is for the perfection of the saints. Eph 4:11-13 - nothing else — for the perfection of the saints. As Paul said: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom, so that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. Col 1:28. To deny perfection is: 1) to deny the purpose of the ministry, as well 2) to deny the scriptures as accurate, true, and divinely inspired.
NOTE! The reason God wants us to come to him to be made perfect is so that we can live according to "thy will be done, on earth as it is is heaven;" so we can show the world the wisdom and love of God by works that are directed by him. When you have been delivered (freed) from the sins and evil in your heart, God's light will shine forth in your heart, to guide your thoughts, words, and works.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works. Eph 2:10
Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity [lawless deeds, sin], and purify for himself a people who are his very own, zealous for good works. Tit 2:14
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Mat 5:16
But he who practices truth comes to the light, so that his deeds may be shown to have been produced [effected, formed, prompted, energized] through God. John 3:21
Now the God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you what is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. Heb 13:20-21
Jesus only spoke, judged, and did as He was prompted and ordered by God; to practice righteousness we also must be able to only speak what we hear Him order us to say and only do what we are ordered to do by God. This ability only comes after we have crucified our selfish spirit, as sin has been destroyed by the Spirit through bearing the inward cross of self-denial; then we are walking the same way He walked and in the world as He was with perfection, purity, and holiness. God makes us a fit instrument for his hand to direct in works of love, to show the world the love of God, to shake the nations, and to hold out the word of life and faith. God's works are performed by his people with great joy because they know all their words and deeds are perfect and virtuous, which glorify and honor God; thus they are working true righteousness.
Little children, let no man deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. 1 John 3:7
Think about it. Only a perfect man can properly do works for God. To do works for God, a man has to be able to hear and see precisely how God wants the works done; he has to be able to speak only words supplied by God. Otherwise the works would not be perfectly done; and if works were done imperfectly, they would reflect poorly on God, making God appear unrighteous and imperfect. And so, no imperfect works are acceptable by God: Wake up and be watchful, and strengthen the things that remain, which are ready to die. For I have not found your works perfect before God. Rev 3:2
But he who practices truth comes to the light, so that his deeds may be shown to have been produced [formed and powered] through God. John 3:21
Now the God of peace..Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you what is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ. Heb 13:20-21
Even worldly corporations extensively train their representatives before letting them loose on the public to "represent" the company. And so God insists that he should teach and perfect his representatives, (disciple them himself), that "represent" him before sending them:
The disciple is not above his master, but everyone who is perfect [purified, restored to the spiritual image of God, specifically authorized, and perfected] will be like his master. Luke 6:40
There are two stages of perfection, which Fox and Crisp both described.
In his Letter 222, George Fox wrote: "For are not here kindness and riches, for man and woman to be brought out of that state in the fall, to the state of Adam and Eve before they fell. And he that brings them here is Christ, and it is by his blood, it cost him his blood, his life, and he does not leave them in the state that Adam and Eve were in before they fell, but he sets them down in himself, who never fell, a safer state than Adam was in before he fell. Now who sit here in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, the first and the last, the beginning and ending, the safe place, in the wisdom of God."
You can read more about the two stages (or states) of perfection in the Footnote to Gal 5:24.
Before George Fox had entered the second stage of perfection and the kingdom, for about three years he was sent on limited, specific assignments by the Lord. But he only did what he was specifically told to do, exactly when he was told to do it; he then returned to his residence and continued waiting on the Lord. Plus, he was sufficiently perfected that he was able to preach, debate, and pray with words supplied by the Holy Spirit; so powerful were his words that even churches shook when he prayed within them. So limited teaching or preaching can be instructed by the Lord before you are completely perfected; but be careful to only do what he tells you to do, nothing more, nothing less; then return to your home to continue to wait on the Lord's further imparting of his Spirit by his words that you hear him speak to you.
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