Topic: Characteristics of the New Covenant I [Sunday 2, April 2017]
Memorise: For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. – Matthew 5:20
Read: Matthew 5:21-24 (KJV)
21 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
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.
Bible in One Year: Leviticus 4-5, Jeremiah 6:6-21
The Lord Jesus Christ came to this world to manifest the nature and character of God to us. He also came to establish a new covenant between God and mankind through His blood (Luke 22:20). By establishing a new covenant, He did away with the old, Hebrews 8:7-8 says,
“7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. 8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:”
He showed us the character of this new covenant through the relationship He had with the Father while here on earth, and through the words that He spoke. For this reason, we need to pay close attention to the things He said, if we want to reap the full benefits of the new covenant in His blood.
In today’s Bible reading, Jesus reveals some of the characteristics of the new covenant. He said that being angry with your brother without a genuine reason is tantamount to murder in the sight of God! For this reason, the Bible in Ephesians 4:26 says:
“Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:”
It is even better not to be angry at all because being angry can degenerate into having murderous thoughts. We tend to say things that engender strife when we are angry. For this reason, the wisdom of God in Proverbs 15:1 admonishes us, saying:
“A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.”
Of course you know that most times, you don’t speak soft words when you are angry.
Similarly, Jesus said if you call your brother a fool, you will be in danger of Hell Fire. There are many ways a man can call his brother a fool – not necessarily by the words of mouth alone. When you take a person for granted and take advantage of him or her, you are calling that person a fool. When you cleverly cheat on your spouse, you are calling him or her a fool. In light of these truths, if you have done anything synonymous to murder, you need to repent and make restitution. You may have angrily destroyed the career of a man who has mouths to feed. You have killed such a fellow, because he can no longer perform his obligations as a bread winner. If you are guilty of such, your salvation lies in repentance and restitution: seeking forgiveness from God and the wronged fellow. Whoever had ears, let him give heed to the message of Jesus Christ.
Action Point: Father, keep me away from the spirit of anger, and grant me the grace not to use curse words on people.
Open Heavens Daily Devotional guide was written by Pastor E.A. Adeboye, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, one of the largest evangelical church in the world and also the President of Christ the Redeemer’s Ministries.
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