The Sermon on the Mount, Part 12

1 “But be careful of demonstrating your righteousness before men with the aim to be seen by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father in heaven.” 2 “Therefore, whenever you do give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets so that they may be glorified by men. Amen I say to you, they have their reward. 3 But when you do give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand does, 4 so that your alms may be in secret and your Father, the one seeing in secret, will repay you.” Matt. 6:1–4, Possessing the Treasure New Testament v1

We come now to Matthew 6:16–18, which is like the second slice of bread of a sandwich around the meat of our Lord’s teaching on prayer and forgiveness in Matthew 6:5-15 with the top slice of bread being Matthew 6:1-4 (above). Most “Study Bibles” with outline sections will correctly label Matthew 6:16-18 as “Fasting,” but if you read it in the context of what comes before, it is a continuation of our Lord’s teaching against pietistic efforts by the religious to approach God according to their own efforts and, in their hypocrisy, use their visible piety to elevate themselves in the eyes of others. As we saw in Understanding the Basics of Pietism, “There are no extraordinary Christians; but being an ordinary Christian is an extraordinary thing.” View article →