Called To Be: Fierce Christians
The theme verse for the Sermon on the Mount, is found in Matthew 5:20 where Jesus says: “For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” I think this call to a higher righteousness is the essence of what it means to be a fierce Christian for our time.
And later in 7:21 we find the definition of a higher righteousness. It means doing the will of God. Jesus says, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.” Doing the will of God is described in the Sermon on the Mount as the fulfillment of the law and the prophets through the ministry of Jesus. Bottom line…if we want to embody a higher righteousness as Jesus did, we can look to the Sermon on the Mount for instruction.
Now this is no small thing. The Sermon on the Mount sets forth an extraordinarily difficult set of practices. But, practicality was not the point. For the community of Matthew that recorded the teaching of Jesus, the very existence of the church was at stake. The church was defining who it was vis a vis the synagogue. They were moving towards autonomy. They sought to reinterpret the law and the prophets through the lens of the ministry of Jesus.
It is not practical to be like Jesus. Jesus was a boundary crosser, a radical, a revolutionary. Practicality was not the point for the One who was crucified. The theology of Jesus is fierce because, at its heart, it calls for an ethics of higher righteousness.