The Power to Love Without Limit!
In our legal system, here in Florida, there’s a law known as the “castle law.” It’s simple. If you have a house (or even your car), it’s your castle. This is my house and in it, I am the king. My living room is my castle. In it, I have protections against those who violate my KINGDOM (enemies) in a way that threatens me. In this law, if they threaten me, I can exercise SOVEREIGN RIGHTS and take their life.
This post is not about Florida law but about what’s inside of us that truly embraces a false premise: my life is my kingdom and if anyone violates my will, if anyone acts in a way that usurps my sovereign desires (right or wrong), then I have every right to hold them as guilty and make them pay for as long as I desire. That is what is at the heart of unforgiveness. At the heart of unforgiveness, is a kind of soul “castle law” that not only fails to forgive, but “murders” people with a contemptuous anger or rage.
And if we are honest, that’s why we don’t really want to forgive. You have entered my kingdom and disrupted my life. Now I want to exercise “castle law” and hold you in a kind of rage forever. Jesus refers to this as murder...this holding someone in contempt because of an injustice.
Isn’t that what Jesus meant? That anger and murder are from the same source? Are they not both flowing from unforgiving anger and rage?
In the “Sermon on the Mount” about the good news in His Kingdom in everyday life, Jesus makes a distinction. In Matthew 5:21-22 those outside of the good news are still under the wrath of God. In effect, Jesus says that all of humanity outside of the saving work of Christ, from rage, to unforgiveness, to murder are all still under God’s wrath. But those with a new heart, with a new power, with a new life in Christ are compelled to forgive and to reconcile “enemies” to a restored relationship (Matthew 5:23-24).
Matthew 5:21-24 "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, 'Raca,' is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell. 23 "Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.
Jesus and the New Testament writers are quite clear. The Good News in everyday life is that Christ came to rule His rightful KINGDOM in the lives of His people. He came to rescue them from sin, death, and God’s wrath. But he also came to rescue them (save them) from their own ruinous soul’s “castle law.”
Jesus says that the good news of the Kingdom also includes that along with Him coming...His Kingdom and His reign have broken out into the lives of his people. This reversal provides us with a foundation for love instead of hate...for grace instead of law...for joy instead of anger.
Col. 1:13 He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves.
Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” - John 18:36a.
Jesus says in my Kingdom, with my power, with the new life that faith in my work brings, I will empower you to move beyond retaliation. I will empower you to love even those who use you and persecute you. By my death on the cross, I will provide a new life and new power. Under my Kingdom, my power, my rule, you will forgive without boundaries and you will love without limit.
Right after Jesus tells His followers that my long anticipated Kingdom is near…it's within your grasp, he begins to teach them what life looks like in EVERYDAY LIFE with the power of His GOOD NEWS.
What does it look like to forgive and to love in everyday life with the power of the good news?
Matthew 5:44-48 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
At the core of forgiveness, there is a changed heart. One where you are no longer sovereign. Christ is sovereign. In this realm, forgiveness in everyday life becomes a way of life, even for those we’ve locked away as enemies.
By my death on the cross, I will provide new life and new power. Under my Kingdom, my power, my rule, you will forgive without boundaries and you will love without limit.
Don’t miss this Sunday. You are INVITED to hear, believe, and experience GOOD NEWS FOR EVERDAY LIFE!