Lord's Day Liturgy

Killing Without Contact

I’ve been urging you to put off anger for four exhortations, and there will be a few more, Lord willing.

When we read God’s Word we try to pay attention to order and proportion. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus started with the Beatitudes, moved to how the blessed are the salt of the earth and the light of the world, and then He taught about how He fulfilled the law. The ones who thought they were the law-informed, the law-instructors, the law-keepers were not. Jesus said, “I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20).

Then under the longest heading in His sermon Jesus gives six examples of “you have heard that it was said…but I say to you.” He addresses lust, divorce, covenant-breaking, retaliation, and low-level love. But do you remember His first correction?

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder: and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment. (Matthew 5:21-22)

Here are three surprises to the “righteous” guys:

  • anger is a heart issue
  • anger is like killing
  • anger is enough to make a man guilty

Anger is the first one on the list, the worst one. Anger is like murder. Anger KILLS without a weapon. Anger will keep a man out of the kingdom of heaven. And unlike murder, you don’t necessarily even have to come in contact with the other person. In that case the victim is one’s self, one’s own soul. Give anger no place in your heart.