Psalm 15 & Matthew 5:17-48
As a child in the 1950’s to help me go to sleep at night I would close my eyes and imagine being Bobby Charlton in the winter and Freddie Trueman in the summer. How I would have loved to score from long distance like Charlton or bowl the perfect away swinger like Trueman. Who our heroes are says a lot about who we aspire to be.
The troubled David longs to be close to God, ‘O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent?’ Ps15.1 David knew the law, he understood God’s righteousness and the personal implications for his life. He frequently interpreted a righteous life in terms of things he should not do: not slander, v3 not do evil to a neighbour, v3 not take offence from a fellow believer, v3,4 not take interest from personal loans, v5 not take bribes. David did also grasp righteousness is positive and involves speaking truth,v2 respecting those who fear God,v4 and keeping promises even when it costs.v4
But Jesus ramped up the expectation in the sermon on the mount, six times repeated the phrase, ‘But I say to you’ * when repeating an Old Testament law. This placed expectation beyond what most would consider humanly possible e.g. ‘Everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.’ Mat5.28
How then can anybody live a righteous life pleasing to God that displays the resurrection life of Christ in our lives? Two New Testament prayers point the way. Firstly, through the active word of God in our lives. Jesus prayed at Gethsemane, ‘Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.’ John17.17
Secondly through dependence upon God for the resurrection life of Christ within our lives, as the Hebrews author prayed, ‘Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.’ Heb 13.21,22
On reflection then, who would we pick as our hero? Jesus Christ my living hope.