The Golden Rule is almost universally praised, yet scarcely followed.
Last week we began our look at the Golden Rule (Commandments > Examples > Rule). Now Jesus provides further illustrations of the Golden Rule in practice (29-30, 32-34) before closing with the standard stated from a divine perspective (31, 35).
The Golden Rule is a standard many see as good, but it is the Christian alone who has the proper enabling and motivation to live accordingly (2 Pet. 1:4).
The only satisfying response to mercy received is mercy extended to others.
Read Luke 6:32-36
The Grace of the Gospel (32-34)
If you act no different than the world, how are you portraying the power of the gospel? The principles that guide the actions of Christians should be different than the principles that guide the best deeds of sinners. Those who know grace, show grace.
In fact, we have a responsibility to the outside world. The commission we received involves displaying grace.
ECF Quesnel A man ought to tremble with fear, if beside the external part of his religion, he finds nothing in his life but what may be found in a Turk or a heathen.
Gospel grace compels us to change old patterns of love. We have a higher standard now.
We do not love others because of what we will get out of the relationship. We love others because God loved us even when we hated him.
That grace, in part, is our participation in…
The Reward of the Son (35a)
Living according to the sacrificial standard of the Golden Rule may sound like we will be taken advantage of. But Jesus wants our sights to be set upon our spiritual benefits. The reward of adoption motivates us to live like sons (Eph. 5:1-2).
It grates our conservative values to give money to those irresponsible.
In All the Money in the World, J. Paul Getty is a callous oil tycoon who would only provide ransom money up to the amount he could claim as a tax break. He wouldn’t even budge for his grandson.
We know that we have present joys and an eternal inheritance that can never be stolen.
WSC Q.34 Adoption is an act of God’s free grace, whereby we are received into the number, and have a right to all the privileges, of the sons of God.
That confidence comes from…
The Mercy of the Father (35b-36)
The mercy of the Father, who showed kindness to us when we were ungrateful and evil, is to be the new standard by which we operate.
The children, belonging to the covenant family, are to imitate their Heavenly Father’s communicable attributes (Lev. 19:2).
There are exceptions to these standards. The Golden Rule doesn’t eliminate good stewardship, accountability and self-defense. If we stick to a literal interpretation of these illustrations we will be led to some absurd conclusions. Live like this every day and you will quickly find yourself naked, broke, and wounded.
However, the goal isn’t to create such a safe environment that we can never be taken advantage of (i.e., Getty). When we receive the undeserved mercy of God and display that mercy to those who have nothing to offer in return, we become a living witness of the gospel.
- The Grace of the Gospel changes us and places a higher ethic upon us.
- The Reward of the Son motivates us to follow that ethic, imitating…
- The Mercy of the Father
Jesus knew what it was like to spend every waking minute healing and teaching. His instructions to live a life of generosity comes from experience. It was exemplified fully when he was stripped, beaten, mocked, and crucified. Instead of retaliating, Jesus loved his enemies, and prayed for his abusers (23:34, 43). In so doing, he perfectly pictured the Father (John 14:9). Let us go and do likewise.