Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.
Your Father; see entry for Matt. 5:16.
“So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.
The self-righteous man justifies himself by trusting in his performance and by drawing attention to his good deeds. “I fast twice a week and give a tithe of all I get” (Luke 18:12). See entry for Self-righteousness.
“So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.
Your Father knows what you need. The God Jesus revealed is a listening and responsive Father (Matt. 7:11, 18:19, Luke 11:13, John 15:16, 16:23, 26). He cares for you (Matt. 6:30, 32, Luke 12:30).
“Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name.
Our Father. When you pray, you are not just praying to the Almighty Creator and the Ancient of Days. You are praying to our heavenly Father who cares for you and knows your needs (Matt. 6:31–32). Abba Father is the name of God who loves you as much as he loves Jesus (see entry for John 17:23).
‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
(a) Forgive. The original word (aphiemi) is a verb that means to send away or release. Forgiveness is not merely ceasing to be angry, but a deliberate action of dismissing a debt or offence. This word is translated as forgive or forgiven 47 times in the New Testament.
(b) As we also have forgiven; see entry for Matthew 6:15.
“For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
(a) If you forgive. Jesus is preaching conditional forgiveness to those living under the law-keeping covenant. See next verse.
(b) Your heavenly Father; see entry for Matthew 6:9.
(c) Forgive you. The God Jesus revealed is a merciful, gracious and forgiving Father (Matt. 18:27, Luke 6:36, 7:47, 15:22, 23:34, John 1:14).
“But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.
(a) If you do not forgive others. Prior to the cross, Jesus preached conditional forgiveness to people living under the old law-keeping covenant. “If you forgive, God will forgive” (Matt. 6:14, Mark 11:25). However, as the messenger of the new covenant of grace, he also demonstrated and proclaimed unconditional forgiveness (Matt. 9:2, 18:27, Luke 7:42, 47, 11:4, 23:34). On the night he rose from the dead, he told the disciples to preach the good news of unconditional forgiveness (see entry for Luke 24:47).
(b) Your Father; see entry for Matt. 5:16.
(c) Forgive your transgressions; see entry for Forgiveness.
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
(a) Seek first. First means first. Jesus knew if we sought his kingdom and his righteousness second, say, after we’d gotten ourselves all cleaned up and sorted out, it would never happen. Sin-conscious people don’t seek his righteousness; they hide behind fig leaves. “Don’t do that,” says Jesus. “Come as you are to his throne of grace and receive his righteousness.”
(b) His righteousness. Having dismissed the righteousness of the righteous Pharisees as insufficient (Matt. 5:20), Jesus introduces us to the better righteousness that comes from God.
The Jews were familiar with the righteousness that came by the law (Rom. 10:5), but Jesus introduced them to another kind of righteousness that came from God (Rom. 3:5, 21-22, 25-26, 10:3, 1 Cor. 1:30, 2 Cor. 5:21, Php. 3:9, Jas. 1:20, 2 Pet. 1:1, 1 John 2:29). The problem with the first kind, is that the law never made anybody righteous (Rom. 9:31). The good news that Jesus proclaimed, is that anybody could freely receive the gift of God’s righteousness (see entry for Rom 5:17).
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