February 13, 2017: The Two-Fold Golden Rule

Morning: Matthew 7:7-12; Noon: Exodus 37:25-38:31; Evening: Psalm 29

You’ve heard the golden rule, “Do unto others as you want done unto you,” but have you stopped to hear it in context as of late? Jesus tells His disciples to “keep on asking” (NLT) in prayer, and essentially trust in whatever God’s concluding answer might be. Just as a father knows how to give to his children, so too does the heavenly Father know how to give to His children. Then Jesus concludes saying, “therefore,” i.e. “consequently” or “for this reason.” Jesus uses a pivot term that now introduces a precept that will build on the principles of what He has previously established. Perhaps it could be said in this manner, “Since God gives to men what He knows to be good, you do the same.” This is similar to what Luke records in Jesus sermon where the Lord says, “Therefore, be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful” (6:36).

The two-fold golden rule is this: 1). Do as God would do and 2). Do as you would do to yourself. Here specifically, we should learn to be discerning and generous toward one another’s needs just as God is toward us. We should not be judgmental, judging one another with a plank in our own eye, but on the other hand we should not be gullible casting pearls before swine. Instead we should be wise, considering one another’s best interests, and treating one another as we ourselves would want to be treated. We should not seek retribution, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. This punishment belongs to the heavenly Father, just as a sibling is not entitled to beat his brothers or sisters, but punishment belongs to the earthly father. Jesus did not come to destroy the law, but to fulfill it. This, according to Jesus, is the Law and the Prophets. It was always there, but for too long, it had been neglected.

Is the two-fold golden rule being neglected in your congregation? In your home? In your life? Is the gnat being strained while the camel is being swallowed? Jesus touched on several specifics in His sermon, but He never lost sight of the big picture. The Law and Prophets boiled down to two great laws, love God and love one another as you love yourself. If you won’t practice the golden rule(s), then you won’t enter heaven.

He who loves another has fulfilled the law (Romans 13:8)

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