CHRIST’S SERMON ON THE MOUNT (Study 11): RESTITUTION/RECONCILIATION (13/06/19, 20/06/19)
INTRODUCTION: Our last Bible Study centred on “THOU SHALL NOT KILL”. Amplifying, and explaining the details of this 6th commandment of God, the Lord Jesus shows that it is not only those who commit the actual murder that are liable to judgement, but also the unduly angry with his brother, and those who on account of such anger, curse and pour out bitter and venomous words against their brothers (Matt. 5:21,22). This brings to bare God’s mind that we should be careful to maintain Christian love and peace with one another. And in the event of any breach, we should take pains to effect reconciliation and make necessary restitutions, without delay.
In today’s Bible Study, we are considering RESTITUTION / RECONCILIATION as spotlighted during Christ’s Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5:23-26). The study is divided into two points: (1) The Explanation Of The Terms, Restitution/Reconciliation and (2) The Essence Of Restitution / Reconciliation.
- The Explanation Of The Terms, Restitution / Reconciliation (Matt. 5:23-26).
In Christ’s Sermon on the Mount, He did not fail to reaffirm the relevance of the doctrine of restitution / reconciliation in the New Testament. Broadly speaking, restitution is the act of restoring anything stolen or misappropriated to its rightful owner; making amends to people wronged or injured; apologising to those offended. It also includes paying just debts, making amends for wrong marriages, uncovering crimes committed and confessing lies told against others, whether those others know it or not (cp. Matt. 5:23-26).
Restitution was commanded and practised before the law (cp. Gen. 20:7, 14, 15; 32:9-13,20); during the law (Ex. 22:1-15; Lev. 6:2-5; Nu. . 5:6-8); during the time of the kings and prophets (2Sam. 3:13-16; 1Kgs. 20:34; 2Kgs. 8:1-6) and in the New Testament (Matt 5:23-26; 18:15-17; Lk. 19:8-10; Acts 23:1-5; 24:16).
Reconciliation is the act of putting an end to a quarrel or disagreement, in order to be at peace or friendly once again (Matt. 5:25,26; 2Cor. 5:18-20). When we repent of our sins and put our faith in the finished work of Christ at Calvary, God forgives us. But He still requires that we make amends to any person(s) we have injured or wronged. This involves whole -heartedly forgiving those that have wronged us and /or humbly seeking forgiveness at the hands of those we have wronged (Matt. 5:23-26; 18:15-17; Lk. 17:3,4).
- The Essence Of Restitution / Reconciliation (Matt. 5:23-26).
Broken relationship with men hinders fellowship with God. So if we have a problem or grievance with anybody, we ought to resolve it quickly. This, we should do for the following reasons:a. One is utterly unfit to commune with God in holy ordinances: prayers, praise, offerings, etc, until one has mended broken fences with his brother (cp. Matt. 5:23, 24). Religious exercises are not acceptable to God if performed out of a heart filled with wrath, envy, malice, anger, hatred, etc. These are so displeasing to God that nothing pleases Him which comes from a heart where-in they are predominant (cp. 1Tim. 2:8). But it should be noted also that want of charity cannot justify want of piety. So, whenever there is any such breach, there should not be any delay in making the necessary amendments, hence: “Leave there thy gifts ...”(Matt. 5:24; cp. Eph. 4:26). You should not hinder yourself at this time of rebirth of the Watchman, by delaying your restitution and reconciliations. b. Until the breach is mended, we lie exposed to much danger, thus: (i) If the offence we have committed against somebody, his property/possession, personality/reputation, is such as will bear legal action in which the person may recover considerable damages, it is our wisdom and our responsibility to ourselves to prevent that, by a humble submission, and a just and peaceable tender, lest he recovers it otherwise (by the law). In Jesus’ day, someone who could not pay his debt was thrown into prison until the debt is paid. Unless someone came to pay the debt for the prisoner, he would probably die there (Matt. 18:28-35). We are enjoined to get right with our fellow men while we are yet on the way, before we get to stand before God, the Supreme Judge whose punishment is the severest (cp. Matt. 5:25, 26; Heb. 12:23; Rom. 11:21, 22).
(ii). One who is unfit to bring one’s gifts to the Lord is also unprepared for death or the rapture (cp. Eph. 5:26, 27). Whoever continues in sin or in a state of non-reconciliation either with God or with fellow men or both, until he is unfortunately suddenly cut off (by death or the rapture), will have those sins and iniquity laid to his/her charge, and so will be undone for-ever. Hell is a prison for all that live in malice, uncharitableness, hatred, etc; for all that are contentious, and out of it there is no rescue or redemption throughout all eternity (cp. Rom. 2:8; 2Pt. 2:4).
Right now God has a serious controversy against all who live in sin (cp. Ps. 7:11). Agree with His son, be reconciled to Him and make all necessary amends to your fellow men while you are still on the way, before it becomes too late (cp. Ps. 2:10-12; 9:17; Matt. 5:25, 26). HSCF 88, 84