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Lesson 20

Jesus taught that the goal in life is to develop the heart of God, by becoming perfect at showing God’s love, as he was. Laying out concrete ways for the crowd to follow; being honest, merciful, forgiving, and displaying a deep concern for others’ well being are the hallmarks of the life Jesus encouraged people to develop. These are the traits that will let people thrive when they are living in the Kingdom of God, but they are not what is required to receive the salvation brought by the redemptive blood of Jesus. Keeping the physical laws as well as the emotional laws of love perfectly, will not allow people to gain eternal life. What is the one way to receive eternal life? Do people have to display a Godly life before they can gain salvation? Could anyone have their sins forgiven before Jesus paid the penalty for them?

Matthew 5:33-48 Easy-to-Read Version
33 “You have heard that it was said to our people long ago, ‘When you make a vow, you must not break your promise. Keep the vows that you make to the Lord.’ 34 But I tell you, when you make a promise, don’t try to make it stronger with a vow. Don’t make a vow using the name of heaven, because heaven is God’s throne. 35 Don’t make a vow using the name of the earth, because the earth belongs to him. Don’t make a vow using the name of Jerusalem, because it also belongs to him, the great King. 36 And don’t even say that your own head is proof that you will keep your promise. You cannot make one hair on your head white or black. 37 Say only ‘yes’ if you mean ‘yes,’ and say only ‘no’ if you mean ‘no.’ If you say more than that, it is from the Evil One. 38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, don’t fight back against someone who wants to do harm to you. If they hit you on the right cheek, let them hit the other cheek too. 40 If anyone wants to sue you in court and take your shirt, let them have your coat too. 41 If a soldier forces you to walk with him one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to anyone who asks you for something. Don’t refuse to give to anyone who wants to borrow from you. 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies. Pray for those who treat you badly. 45 If you do this, you will be children who are truly like your Father in heaven. He lets the sun rise for all people, whether they are good or bad. He sends rain to those who do right and to those who do wrong. 46 If you love only those who love you, why should you get a reward for that? Even the tax collectors do that. 47 And if you are nice only to your friends, you are no better than anyone else. Even the people who don’t know God are nice to their friends. 48 What I am saying is that you must be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

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