Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Brief Study of the GOLDEN RULE

The Golden Rule brings “to a climax the entire central core of the sermon on the mount.[1] It is also the logical conclusion[2] of the disciples’ perspective and action toward the world. “Therefore” (oun) is a conjunction of inference or conclusion. Lenski says its consequence is that “instead of judging others falsely, we shall do to them what we would that they should do to us.[3] What is this conclusion? “Whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (7:12 NKJV). It speaks to our social responsibility as the righteous, not the means of salvation. It is the summation of the Law, as well as Biblical ethics. This is the very heart of the Law (Lev. 19:18), which underlies the ethical demands of the Law and the prophets.[4] Baker notes, “Scripture is clear that no flesh will ever be justified by keeping the Law. The law demanded that you do unto others what you would have them do unto you.[5] In essence it is a statement concerning the second greatest commandment stated by Jesus in Matthew 22:37: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” “Jesus’ teaching it is axiomatic that the second will never be obeyed with the first: we will never love our neighbors in the way we would like to be loved until we love God with hearth and soul and mind” observes Carson.[6]
The Golden Rule summarizes not only the teaching of Jesus, but the Law and the Prophets as well. Today, in Christ the requirements of the Law are fulfilled in the believer (Rom. 8:2-4). Like the Law, the Golden Rule is good, the practice of which is interdispensational. It’s only fault is our sinfulness (Rom. 7:12-18).  Paul endorses this ethical demand as the essence of grace as well (Gal. 5:14; cf. Rom. 13:8-10). How we want to be treated should be the standard of conduct toward others.

[1]  Davis and Allison, MATTHEW, 1:685.
[2] Guelich, SERMON ON THE MOUNT, 361.
[3]  Lenski, MATTHEW, 295.
[4]  France, TNCNT: MATTHEW, 283.            
[5]  Baker, GOSPELS, 93.
[6]  Carson, SERMON, 113.

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