Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
The gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ. The reformers of the sixteenth century expressed it this way: We are saved only by faith in Jesus Christ, not by our own works. We have the promise of eternal life after physical death because of the death and resurrection of Jesus.
So why do we talk about the 10 Commandments? They are the Law of God, His will for our lives. But no one can fulfill the Law perfectly and we are not saved by our obedience to the Law. However, the gospel does not deny the moral law. On the contrary, because of Jesus Christ and with his help, we can live as children of God.
St. Paul says thus: "What shall we say? Shall we persevere in sin so that grace abounds? In no way. For who died to sin, how shall we live in him? Or do you not know that all of us who are baptized into Christ Jesus are baptized into his death? For we are buried with him to death by baptism; That as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in new life. "
Paul deals with the tendency to say, "Well, I have the promise of eternal life. I can continue in my current lifestyle and when it is convenient, I will go to church to receive the forgiveness of my sins and in the next week, I will continue in my sins. Because God is always willing to forgive all sins. "
In no way, says Paul. The Lord also, in our gospel for today (Matthew 5: 20-26) says: "For I say unto you, that unless your righteousness is greater than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven " The Pharisees, a party among the Jews, thought of themselves as obedient children of God, but did not understand the depth of the Law. They only thought of outward actions. They did not kill anyone with the sword, they did not rob anyone in the street.
But the Lord said to them, "But I say to you, that whosoever is angry with his brother shall be guilty of judgment; And whosoever shall say unto him, Thou fool, his brother, shall be guilty before the council; And whoever says to him, Idiot, is in danger of hellfire. "
Outward actions are fruits of the thoughts of the mind and the desires of the heart. That is why, before God, sin consists not only in actions, but also in thoughts and desires. In our text, the Lord says that he who has anger and hatred in his heart is guilty of murder. In other verses, he says that he who desires another woman, who is not his wife, commits adultery, it does not matter if he does not have the opportunity to fulfill his desire. Then the disciples answered, Lord, who can be saved, then? What man has not looked at other women with desire? This is human nature. But, this is the point. No one can fulfill the Law by his own strength.
However, faith changes our lives. The love of God within our hearts to bear fruit in good works. In addition, the Word of God helps us to recognize the temptation and to avoid places of sexual immorality. Because of the love that God has shown us, we seek to resolve our conflicts with others without violence.
The Greek word in the New Testament translated "repentance" is "metanoia," which means a total change of mind. As Dr. Martin Luther said, the church of Rome has another interpretation based on the Latin word, "penitence." This is a legal term, so Catholics understand penance as external acts that we have to do. Christ has taken from us the guilt of original sin, then in baptism we are free from eternal damnation. But when we fall into actual sins, we must do penance. If we can not do penance in this life, we suffer in purgatory before entering into eternal life. But according to the original text, in baptism the Holy Spirit makes a total change of all our minds and hearts to live in faith and holiness. Furthermore, in baptism the righteousness of Christ covers all our present sins. Therefore, we can enter immediately into eternal life and that is why we have peace that surpasses all understanding. Amen.
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