Jesus challenges us to aspire to greater righteousness in the Sermon on the Mount. He…
“He came to this low ground of sin, sickness, and sorrow. . .” Here is a beautiful slice of poetry which a brother incorporated into his prayer. Low ground . . . the world of man; “You have made him a little lower than the angels; You have crowned him with glory and honor, And set him over the works of Your hands.”(Heb. 2:7 / Ps.8:5-6) Low ground . . . Jesus’ world; “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.” (Heb. 2:9) Though angels could dine with mortals (as when they met with Abraham at Mamre), they were not made lower than their station.
Heb. 13:12 – 14 Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come. II Cor. 5:14-17 For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
Some concepts in the Bible are difficult to understand. This one is not. Jesus told his disciples in John 14:15: “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” You believe in Jesus, you love him, so what’s next? Jesus makes it pretty simple – keep his commandments. In our relationship with the Lord he expects the same kind of love that we want in our human relationships. Love that lives. Love that grows. Love that works. Love so pure, so fervent, so focused that it moves us to keep the commandments of Christ. And if our earthly relationships are ample evidence, not all love is like this.
Not too many years ago, while walking through a college campus, I saw a group of individuals holding up placards encouraging individuals to, “Love Christ, not the Church.” The church is seen as unforgiving, unloving, and un-Christlike. Scandals reverberate through various organizations claiming to be the church. Venomous words of hatred spew out of those claiming to speak in the name of Christ. It is understandable why many would be skeptical of those who claim to be the church. Consider a few passages of scripture which detail God’s design for the church, God’s feelings towards the church, and our responsibilities to the church.
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6
To live with God in His realm would be the supreme state of life and fruition of purpose. What could be better than that? To be with Him, accepted into the sphere of His eternal love, would surpass all conditions. This is derived from what Jesus said to His disciples.