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Are Jesus’s commands in Matthew 6 (and beyond) intended for the people who were trying to save themselves by the law, or were those commands given to believers? (“Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect”)

It seems like what Jesus is commanding is impossible for anyone to maintain, and he commands us to be “perfect”. Was this intended for people who thought they were going to save themselves as the standard that would need to be reached? 

Clarify Share Report Asked January 26 2022 Mini Anonymous

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
I would say that the intent of Jesus' words was to make clear that no one (including believers, as indicated to me by His reference to "your Heavenly Father") has an excuse that is acceptable in God's eyes for not at least striving for moral perfection.

However, He also said (Matthew 5:20) that unless a person's righteousness would exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees (who were outwardly meticulous about complying with the Law in ts smallest detail), that person would certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

So, righteousness is not determined, and cannot be achieved, by even the strongest efforts at outward obedience, but by individual realization of the impossibility (as noted by Paul in Galatians 2:16) of saving oneself by keeping the Law, leaving the only path to salvation to be faith in Christ as the One who said -- also in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:17) -- that He had not come to abolish the Law and the Prophets, but to fulfill them (as only He could). He then died a sacrificial atoning death that was acceptable in God's sight (as proven by His subsequent resurrection), thereby allowing His perfect righteousness to be imputed to those who depend (both then and to this day) upon that faith (rather than on any efforts of their own) to gain salvation and eternal life.

Faith comes first, and good works then follow, not as a means of being saved, but out of gratitude to God for salvation that has already been gained by that faith, and serving as a basis for eternal rewards from God.

January 27 2022 0 responses Vote Up Share Report


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