Christian grace encompasses the whole person. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength” (mark 12:30). Salvation means not only a pure heart, an enlightened mind, and a spirit right with God, but that the whole person is involved in the manifestation of the marvelous power and grace of God. Body, soul, and spirit are brought into a fascinating captivity to the Lord Jesus Christ.
“Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them.”
The measure of our growth in grace is our attitude toward other people. “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” Jesus says (matthew 19:19). Satan comes in as an angel of light (2 corinthians 11:14) and says, “But you must not think about yourself.” The Holy Spirit will make you think about yourself, because that is His way of educating you to deal properly with others. The Spirit makes you picture what you would like other people to do to you, and then He says, “Now go and do those things to them.”
Matthew 7:12 is our Lord’s standard for practical ethical conduct. “Whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them.” Never look for right in the other person, but never cease to be right yourself. We always look for justice in this world, but there is no such thing as justice. Jesus essentially says, “Never look for justice, but never cease to give it.”
Scriptural Concentration • matthew 7:28–29: And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
The Sermon on the Mount concludes with this epilogue—a descriptive note by the Holy Spirit, describing how the people who heard Jesus Christ were impressed by His doctrine. Its application for us is not, “What would Jesus do?” but rather, “What did Jesus say?” As we concentrate on what He said, we can stake our immortal souls upon His words. It is a question not of sentimental consecration but of scriptural concentration.
When Jesus brings something home by His Word, don’t shirk it. For example, if you remember something your brother has against you (matthew 5:23–24), some debt, or some other thing that presses—if you shirk that point, you become a religious fraud. The Holy Spirit’s voice is as gentle as a breeze, the merest check; when you hear it, do you say, “But that is only a tiny detail—the Holy Spirit cannot mean that; it is much too trivial”? The Holy Spirit does mean that, and at the risk of being thought fanatical, you must obey.
When we are beginning to walk in the right way with God, we will find the spirit of self-vindication will be unearthed. Trying to fulfill what Jesus says will bring it to the light. But what does it matter what anyone thinks of us as long as Jesus Christ thinks we are doing the right thing? What will anything in this life matter as long as we can hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (matthew 25:21)?