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Foundations For Our Future #35

Foundations for Our Future (35)

by: The Rev. Dr. Jon Shuler

Sometimes one word in the Holy Scriptures “stands out” on the page. When that happens it is good to slow down and pray for wisdom. Our last devotional contained such a word for me. Never.

The idea that the Lord said “never enter the kingdom of heaven” would not leave me, and so I went to the Greek text. There I found two words, not one, and they are literally translatable as “by no means.” So literally, it may be be argued, Jesus is saying unless our “righteousness exceeds that of the Pharisees and scribes [we] will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:20) Whew!

Now any true follower of the Lord Jesus wants to be clear about just what Christ is telling us. How then do we understand “means?” It is describing any system or method we can come up with to accomplish our objective. Note the “we.”

The Lord is absolutely telling us two things at the same time: I expect a righteousness from you that exceeds that of the very best you know, and you can not devise a method to do it on your own. There you have it. The call to be righteous and the clear certainty that it is beyond us.

Now we are back in the beatitudes. Now we see what the Lord meant when he said “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3) They are completely dependent on God.

Today pray for that complete trust.