Matt. 5:23, 24
Matt. 5:23 "Therefore
if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy
brother hath ought against thee; 24 Leave there thy gift before the
altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come
and offer thy gift."
The word, "gift," comes from the Greek, "doron," meaning a
sacrifice or offering. The Lord tells us in Leviticus about freewill
offerings: Lev. 22:18 "Speak unto Aaron, and to his sons, and unto all
the children of Israel, and say unto them, Whatsoever he be of the house
of Israel, or of the strangers in Israel, that will offer his oblation
for all his vows, and for all his freewill offerings, which they will
offer unto the LORD for a burnt offering; 19 Ye shall offer at your own
will a male without blemish, of the beeves, of the sheep, or of the
goats. 20 But whatsoever hath a blemish, that shall ye not offer: for it
shall not be acceptable for you. 21 And whosoever offereth a sacrifice
of peace offerings unto the LORD to accomplish his vow, or a freewill
offering in beeves or sheep, it shall be perfect to be accepted; there
shall be no blemish therein."
The Lord shows us that his priority is on doing right over
1. 1 Sam. 15:22 And Samuel said, Hath the LORD
as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the
voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to
hearken than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is as the sin of
witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou
hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from
2. Is. 58:5 "Is it such a fast that I have
chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head
as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou
call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD? 6 Is not this the
fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the
heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every
yoke? 7 Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring
the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that
thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?"
Thus, the above two passages teach us that it is better in
the sight of the Lord to do right than to do ceremony, even if the
ceremony was appointed of God. To be reconciled to ones brother is more
important than to offer a freewill offering or gift on the altar to the
Lord. Therefore, the efforts for reconciliation are priority over the
offering of the gift.
Matt. 5:27 "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old
time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: 28 But I say unto you, That
whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery
with her already in his heart."
As we have previously noted, the Lord's standard is much
greater than man's standard. Under man's standard, only the physical
act of adultery is adultery. Under God's standard, even the lust for a
woman in the heart of man is adultery in the eyes of God. It is
adultery "in the heart." The scriptures say, "The thought of
foolishness is sin." God's standard for breaking his commandments is
much greater than what most people want to admit.
With the knowledge of God's strict standard, we are humbled
to realize that we are desperately wicked sinners saved only by the
grace of God. We cannot get ourselves right with God by works of
righteousness. When we realize the wickedness within our heart, we find
it much easier to humble ourselves and to forgive others of their
trespasses toward us.
Some would say, since you have already sinned in your heart,
you might as well go ahead and commit the act of adultery. That is like
saying we may as well continue in sin because he are already guilty of
sin. That is utter foolishness. One sin does not justify another sin.
Matt. 5:29 "And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out,
and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy
members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into
hell. 30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from
thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should
perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell."
First, this is not teaching that we should pluck out our
right eye because we have looked on a woman to lust after her. Nor is
it teaching that we should cut off our right hand because we have done
something with it that we should not have.
In the natural body there is a disease known as gangrene.
This involves the poisoning of a limb where the blood circulation has
ceased. This poison if it spreads into the rest of the body would bring
about the death of the body by a horrible suffering. If someone had
gangrene in the eye, the only thing you can do to save the entire body
is to remove the eye. Likewise, if we had gangrene in the right hand,
the only remedy for saving the entire body is to remove the right hand.
The church is compared to a body:
1. Eph 5:23 "For the husband is the head of the
wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of
2. Col 1:18 "And he is the head of the body,
the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in
all things he might have the preeminence."
The word, "offend," comes from the Greek, "skandalizo,"
meaning "to scandalize." Some sins such as adultery are of a scandalous
nature to the church. In order that the scandalous action of one not
destroy the effective witness of the church, it is necessary to remove
the offending member from the body of the church. See 1 Corinthians
chapter five for how this is to be done.
The use of the words, "eye" and "right hand," has reference
to very important parts of the body. None of us wants to lose our eye
or our right hand. Yet to preserve the body we would take such steps.
The preacher of the gospel and the deacon of the church are like the eye
and the right hand of the church. Even if it is the preacher or the
deacon that commit scandalous acts, the church is to take steps to
remove them from the body of the church until he repents. This
preserves the whole body of the church from destruction.
Notes on Matthew 5 Continue