Vengeance And Love – Matthew 5:38-48

We are God’s creation – we are His masterpiece. Although all of God’s creation is unique, He made us special, a little lower than the angels, as the psalmist David said in Psalm 8:5.

God created men in His image. Thus, the moral standards engraved on our hearts, God pre-wired us to know what is right and what is wrong.

Sadly, in the meantime, the evolutionary worldview is hugely popular, even among Christians. Atheists believe in the scientific impossibility that nothing created everything. And some of our brothers and sisters believe in a retarded god who used evolution, mutation, and billions of years to show his “glory”.

So, I am talking about evolution and creation because it is vitally important to understand the difference between these two worldviews and their consequences.

Moral Justice vs. Survival of the Fittest

If you believe in evolution, you have no grounds for moral justice. Jeff Durbin once said that atheists have to borrow from the Judeo-Christian worldview to maintain the law, order and justice.

Indeed, how the one who believes in evolution can explain why murder is wrong? Why, for example, killing the unborn baby in the mother’s womb is wrong? According to evolution, it is perfectly fine! Because it is not a human, but a clump of cells, almost like cancer. Thus, they can remove it and tear it into pieces.

Evolution not just stupid, it is extremely dangerous! I encourage you to watch Dr. Kent Hovind’s “The Creation Seminar“:

  1. The age of the Earth
  2. The Garden of Eden
  3. Dinosaurs and The Bible
  4. Lies in the textbooks
  5. The dangers of evolution
  6. The Hovid theory

Evolution and its Merits

Soviet Union

At a very early age, Joseph Stalin was a pupil at the ecclesiastical school. But after he read Darwin’s book “The Origin Of Species“ (or, more completely, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life), he became an atheist.

The Soviet Union was the first state to have as an ideological aim the elimination of religion. Thus, the biggest crime against humanity was committed by Soviet punitive squads. The dictator Joseph Stalin killed 60-100 million of his own people.

Communistic China

When they took over China in 1949, they began executing Christians at the rate of 15,000 each month. Mao Zedong murdered about 60 million people.

The dictator Mao Zedong listed Charles Darwin and Thomas Henry Huxley as his two favourite authors.

Nazi Germany

In his book “From Darwin to Hitler“, Richard Weikart concludes that Darwinism played a key role not only in the rise of eugenics, but also in euthanasia, infanticide, abortion, and racial extermination, all ultimately embraced by the Nazis.

The SS pamphlet Rassenpolitik, the SS curriculum for worldview training, and a propaganda pamphlet that was written for the German military during World War IIWofür kämpfen wir? These sources explicitly endorsed Darwinian evolution, including (and especially!) the evolution of humans.

Further, these sources do not just mention Darwinism in passing, but accord it a prominent place in Nazi racial ideology. The current best estimates of Jewish, other civilians and captured soldiers killed by the Nazi regime and its collaborators reach about 18 million people.

21st century Canada/USA

I will leave this paragraph blank for the purpose of your own study and discernment. And for such acumen, you have the Bible for your direction.

You have another Spirit

Before I proceed to Bible Study, I would love to cite directly from the book of D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones “Studies in the Sermon on the Mount”. He said: “There are thousands of Christian people who are in this position today in occupied countries, and we know not what may be coming to us. It may be that we shall be subjected ourselves someday to a tyrannous power which we naturally hate and which will compel us to things we dislike.

This is the way in which you are to behave in such circumstances, says Christ. You do not stand for your rights, you do not show the bitterness of the natural man. You have another spirit. We must get into that spiritual state and condition in which we are invulnerable to these attacks which come upon us in different ways.

Bible Study

In today’s Bible Study, we continue “The Sermon on the Mount” and we going to study the passage from Matthew 5:38-48 about vengeance and love. Please, check the previous studies on this topic:

  1. The Beatitudes – Jesus’ guidelines for Believers
  2. The Similitudes of Beatitudes
  3. Jesus Christ Fulfills the Law
  4. Angry Enough to Murder
  5. Lustful Mind is Corrupted Heart
  6. Divorce – Matthew 5:31-32
  7. Vows, Oaths And Foreswearing – Matthew 5:33-37

Bible Passage to Study

Vengeance and Love – Matthew 5:38-48

Passage Overview

An eye for an eye

In this passage, Jesus indirectly called attention to several OT texts regarding acts of vengeance (Exodus 21:23-24; Leviticus 24:19-20; Deuteronomy 19:20-21), which point out to the “law of the tooth” (lex lationis).

God made this law to guide civil authorities and did not permit private legal proceedings and retributions. But, as we know, that what God made perfect, men have corrupted and exploited, even their own bodies.

So, it is more likely that many applied the “law of the tooth” wrongly for personal revenge and retribution. Therefore, in the New Testament, Jesus Christ forbade such a practice and instead commanded His followers not to retaliate to an evil, and to be willing to surrender to avoid violence.

Jesus used figurative language in Matthew 5:38-48 and condemned a litigious and hostile essence of man (vv 38-40); a rude and uncooperative nature of man (vv 41 and 42); a hateful and revengeful spirit (vv 43-48).

Turn the other cheek

The figurative language is obvious from Matthew 5:39 corresponding with John 18:22-23, when during the first Jewish trial officer smitten Jesus on the cheek, and He did not turn the other but with dignity reprimanded the abuser.

And again, the principle “resist not evil” that Jesus suggested is not pacifism at all and, as I have mentioned earlier, spoken in the figurative form of language. Therefore, to be a Christian does not mean to give away your last coat, walk miles with strangers and lend money to everybody who asks. Although, that is exactly the heart a citizen of heaven must have.

It is important to understand that these teachings Jesus gave not for the world to implement, more precisely it is not for non-Christians. Jesus, rather, speaks to that kind of man that He has described in the Beatitudes.

The Welsh minister and medical doctor, David Martyn Lloyd-Jones, regarding this said: “This injunction does not say that we are not entitled to a change of government. But this must be done by lawful means. Let us change the law if we can, as long as we do it constitutionally and in a lawful manner. It does not say that we must take no interest in politics and in the reform of the law.

Certainly, if reform seems necessary, let us seek to achieve it, but only within the framework of the law. If we believe that a particular law includes injustices, then in the name of justice, not for our own personal feelings, nor for our own private gain, let us try to change the law.

Let us be certain however that our interest in the change is never personal and selfish, but that it is always done in the interest of government and justice and truth and righteousness“.

Love your enemy

Jesus directed His teachings not to the world, but to His followers, – to Christians only. It implies an individual relationship with Triune God, as a citizen of heaven, but as a citizen of a country.

Thus, we must rid ourselves of the spirit of retaliation, of the desire to defend ourselves and to revenge for any injury or wrong that they did to us.

Despite the law of love towards a neighbour and hate towards an enemy, that God gave in Leviticus 19:18 and Deuteronomy 23:3-6, as a part of the New Covenant, Jesus Christ went beyond that. He insisting on loving one’s enemies.

Moreover, Christ’s followers are to pray for those who persecute them (Matthew 5:44; 1 Thessalonians 5:17). This is the reflection of God’s character, who provides the necessities of life for all, even for those who hate Him.

Jesus emphasized that it is easy to love those who love us, but there is no reward in such doing. He calls us to be perfect, even as our heavenly Father is perfect. And we must translate the word perfect as “moral or mature“. Therefore, Jesus expects His followers to show the same morality and maturity in loving others, even enemies.

Even in this corrupt and fallen world, we must show grace and mercy, just like our heavenly Father showed to us. We must live a humble and perfect life serving others, just like our Lord Jesus Christ did for us.

Conclusion

God of the Bible is the Triune God with a full relationship within Himself. There is no hate, no envy, no vengeance within Godhead, but love, submission and obedience. God has created us in His image, with His perfect characteristics and for His glory, and for us to have a relationship with God and within Christ’s body, which is the Church.

In relation to this world, we must imitate the holy characteristics of our Lord God. It requires to be merciful and just, loving and angry, humble and strong. As the citizens of heaven, we must “hate” the enemies of goodness and righteousness with a holy hatred, but a personal hatred we must replace with love.

We are God’s adopted children, an assembly of saints, ambassadors of Christ, thus we ought to act like ones, but not like devils.

Study Material Used:

  1. The Henry Morris Bible Study – KJV
  2. The Matthew Henry Bible Study – KJV
  3. The MacArthur Study Bible – ESV
  4. ESV Study Bible
  5. Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible KJV
  6. The Complete Bible Commentary – George Williams
  7. The Moody Bible Commentary – a one-volume commentary
  8. Studies in the Sermon on the Mount by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

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