MATTHEW 5:43-48 – SONS OF YOUR FATHER
v43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may prove yourselves to be sons of your Father who is in heaven;”
WHAT DOES IT SAY?
Once again, “Jesus is turning the world right side up” in its thinking, using the Law of Moses (the Torah). Jesus is taking one teaching of the Law, at a time, and is saying, “I have come to fulfill the Law and to show you” the one and only way to successfully navigate this world in order to be made ready for the next world, which is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Jesus began His ministry saying, “Repent for the Kingdom is at hand.” His command and warning is resonating in these teachings. He is saying, in these most profound revelations of Truth, that how you think and believe, (which, naturally, results in how you behave) are the keys to eternal life. The first and foremost Truth is believing on the One whom God has sent: Jesus.
Jesus is saying that it is not enough to simply think a certain way. You must believe with an unwavering and unmovable certainty of the Truth. This requires faith which is full of the substance of the Truth and certain of the thing hoped for, and then is manifest as the proof of things not yet seen.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
Jesus is telling His listeners (readers) that they although have been loving the lovable, the friendly, the relative, those with whom you live in peace, it is not enough; because they have been hating those they consider to be an “enemy”, those who are unlovable, unlovely, not-so-friendly those who cause discomfort, are considered a threat of strife or war.
But, Jesus says, “I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may prove yourselves to be sons of your Father who is in heaven”. This can be one of the most difficult things to understand and to do without the right understanding.
First things first: Jesus is speaking to Jews and to His Christian Disciples, and these Truths are meant for His disciples (followers), present and future. Anyone can listen to Jesus, but, not everyone can hear and understand what He is saying. Anyone can attempt to apply these Truths to their life because the Truth is universal. But, a person cannot live the Truth without Christ Jesus because Jesus is the Truth, bodily. (John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life”)
Secondly, “sin” is THE obstacle that causes you to separate yourself from the presence and love of God. Sin is rebellion toward God and to His Word, and it is THE obstacle to entering the Kingdom of Heaven, the Kingdom of God.
Notice that the keys words here are “Love” and “Hate”. Remembering that these words of Jesus, these Eternal Truths are written
- TO THE CHRISTIAN,
- ABOUT BEING A CHRISTIAN AND
- FOR THE CHRISTIAN,
So, 1 John 4:20 tells us that “If someone says, “I love God,” and yet he hates his brother or sister, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother and sister whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God must also love his brother and sister.”
Again, 1 John 3:15 says, “Everyone who hates his brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life remaining in him.”
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU?
Simply put, God is Love. Hate is not of God. If these two coexist in the life of a Christian, you will stumble. If they persist in the life of a Christian, there is a deeper and darker problem embedded in your soul.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12
You can and must understand (1) Who the enemy is, and (2) How to withstand and overcome the enemy. This is done only by way of the indwelling Presence of God (The Holy Spirit). Anything less should cause you grave concern about your life now, your effectiveness in the Kingdom work, and perhaps, even your eternal security.
WHAT WILL YOU DO?
Will you take the time and apply the discipline necessary to prepare and equip yourself? It will take submission to Jesus as your Lord and savior and, you must study to become equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16)
Remember, one of the hallmarks of a Disciple of Christ is that you will be able to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may prove yourselves to be sons of your Father who is in heaven.” Just doing this without know WHY and HOW is works without faith.
Additional resources for your Journey:
(This video study series is from The Fuel Project and has over 37 informative, helpful and eye-opening lessons)
Let’s Gird up! The enemy is at the gates!
Your Brother and Friend,
PS: Jesus is moving us from engaging the world in “wordly matters” and leading us to serve Him in His Father’s Mission.
This is what these teachings do: They move us into His Kingdom, doing Kingdom matters in preparation for His return.