In our morning moments while Sara gets ready to leave for her high school we are reading together a little book that has touched me in the past. It is The Christ of the Mount By E. Stanley Jones. It is a study ofn the Sermon on the Mount from Matthew 5. This quote sums up his approach which makes the whole discourse so incredibly powerful:
The essential difference between Phariseism and the teaching of Jesus is just here: â€œOne was devotion to an idea â€“ the Law; the other was devotion to a Person â€“ the Gospel.â€ In the first, one could feel that he had attained and could stand in the temple and thank God that he was not as other men; but the other could never feel that he had attained, for love was always opening new doors. The one produced the perfect Pharisee and the other the perfect lover.
â€œIf religion is concerned with love to a person there can be no limit to duty and there can be no question of merit,â€ says Findlay, and he laid his finger upon an essential truth. There is a beyondness in the Sermon on the Mount that startles and appalls the legalistic mind. It sees no limit to duty â€“ the first mile does not suffice, he will go two; the coat is not enough, he will love enemies as well. Come to that with the legalistic mind and it is impossible and absurd; come to it with the mind of the lover and nothing else is possible. The loverâ€™s attitude is not one of duty, but one of privilege.
Here is the key to the Sermon on the Mount. We mistake it entirely if we look on it as the chart of the Christianâ€™s duty, rather it is the charter of the Christianâ€™s liberty â€“ his liberty to go beyond, to do the thing that love impels and not merely the thing that duty compels.
AMEN! This life is a person we love who transforms us, not set of principles or rituals to observe. Get that and your as close the kingdom as anyone on the planet!