TOPIC: The characteristics of the new Covenant I
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: Matt 5:21-24
“You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell. “So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.”
The Lord Jesus came into this world to manifest the nature and character of God to us. He also came to establish a new Covenant between God and mankind thought His blood (Luke 22:20). By establishing a new Covenant, He did away with the old. Hebrews 8:7-8 says If the first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no need for a second covenant to replace it. But when God found fault with the people, he said: “The day is coming, says the Lord , when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah.
He showed us the character of the earth 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 that 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 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 4:6 says “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down on your wrath:”
It is better not to be angry at all, because being angry can degenerate into 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 do not speak soft words when you are angry.
Similarly, Jesus said if you call your brother a fool, you will be in danger if hell fire. There are many ways a man can call his brother a fool – not necessarily by 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 months to feed. You have killed such a fellow because he can no longer perform his obligation 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 has 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 Heaven Daily Devotional, 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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