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Matthew
  
e) Hatred of Enemies is Replaced with Love
(Matthew 5:43-48)
43You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.44But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.46For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?47And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?48Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. (Exodus23:4-5; Leviticus19:2.18; Romans12:14-20)


The Old Testament did not mention any teaching that one must hate their enemy. However, the Pharisees and the scribes concluded from Leviticus 19:18 that the commandment to love their neighbor requires them to hate the enemy, because the laws of the tribes demand reservation of rights, adherence to honesty and keeping away from the enemy. Christ’s kingdom destroys the boundary of tribes and nationalities by giving all people access to God’s love and by calling us to follow Him. Therefore, your faith in Christ is proved through your love for your enemy, not toleration of him. Love for the enemy is much higher than a mere human virtue. Without Christ, it is impossible for a normal man to practice.
If somebody wants to love his enemy, he has to cast away his selfishness, think of the beloved and look after him actually. How rather if your Lord asked you to love your enemy? Had the spiritual fellowship between Christ and the believer not been firm, no one could ever carry out this commandment. So thanks to our Savior, because His Spirit leads us to overcome our hate and helps us to love everybody. But beware! As long as you are angry with someone or some group of people, the Spirit of God can hardly overcome your wicked motives.
Pray for them that persecute you. This is the first step in realizing love for your enemy. Once there was a man who did wrong to a colleague and his family, which troubled their lives, but the Spirit of God urged the colleague to pray for the offender, so he asked his Lord to keep on blessing his adversary more than his own family. Our Father in heaven wants to bless you by your adversary through the joyous prayers of your heart.
If you are freed from resentment and have brought down the blessing upon your adversary through your prayers, you can visit him. If he is in distress, help him in a way that he does not notice your help so that he might not be embarrassed by you. Spend as much as you can to save him and his house, in body, soul and spirit, even if he does not accept you but carries on rejecting you, for God treats us, as humans, this way in spite of our disobedience.
Your position would not be better than that of God and His Son. As much as men rejected the love and the sacrifice of Jesus mockingly, they might not accept your love and might not trust you, but meet your attempts to help them with insults. They would raise a complaint against you to the authorities accusing you of deception and wickedness, because there is a strange spirit working in them. But you have become a child of the peace of God and you understand some of the motives in others. Ask your Heavenly Father to free them from their malice and shower them with love as God did you. He is the Almighty who can overcome and crush also the stony heart of your enemy.
God is love. He has called us to guide us into the fullness of mercy. His call to perfection leads us to brokenness so that we may confess our failures, especially in loving our enemy. But our Father in heaven gives us a deposit of His own perfection and forgives our sins completely through the blood of His Son. This purification is perfect since there is no purity greater than the forgiveness of the crucified. Finally, for your free justification, God pours His own Spirit with His complete love into the heart of the believer. Christ is not a theoretical philosopher who speaks of inapplicable ideals, but He is perfect in Himself. He gives you in the indwelling of His Holy Spirit in your heart the evidence of perfection shown in your love for the enemy.
You are unable to perfect love by your own accord, but as God’s spiritual child it is possible. The essence of love requires partnership, therefore God revealed Himself as the Father of Jesus. Likewise believers should love one another in the unity of the Holy Spirit. Do you meet with believers in the patience and amazing love of Jesus? How does the perfect love of God appear in your life?

He who penetrates into the above-mentioned new commandments of Christ, will notice that He does not talk much either about the sinner’s breaking of the Law of Moses or about the penalties imposed thereon. These principles were written in the old Scriptures thousands of years ago and there was no need to bring them back or repeat them once again.
Christ came to fulfill the Law of Moses. He revealed and examined the intents in the sinner. Christ does not aim to punish us, as is required by the Law, but to deliver us from the evil motives in us that dominate us and to sanctify us to the uttermost. Therefore, He renews our aims, changes our purposes, establishes love in us and leads us into purity and temperance. The Christian Law is neither hidden nor pressing on man. Christ does not want to educate the sinner by punishment and break him through penalties. He rather intends to change us into His own image, into the image of His Heavenly Father, that the purpose of creation could be fulfilled in us “God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him” (Genesis 1:27). Christ loves and purifies the sinner, but He fully rejects the sin and consequently reveals our innermost thoughts. Because of our weakness, He bore our sins on His heart and took upon Himself our severe judgment to fulfill in Himself the love required from us. On the basis of His atonement He poured His Holy Spirit into our hearts to create new understanding in us so that we might love one another as He loved us.
The essence of His Law is love, for God is love and Christ carries out His law in us by changing our intents and giving us the power of the Holy Spirit that we may comply with His law. Thus, the prophet David prayed and said, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10).

Prayer
O Father, thank You for calling us through Your Son to become perfect like You. But we are often disobedient and stubborn sinners, and Your love raises us from the mud of our sins to Your level through our purification by the blood of Jesus, that we may be righteous and pure in perfection. Your Holy Spirit is the divine power and the sign of Your perfection in us, the failures. Please enable us to really love our enemies and adversaries, that Your joy in us may be fulfilled.
Question
How can we be perfect, as our Father in heaven is perfect? What is the radical difference between the Law of Moses and the Law of Christ?
PART 1
THE PRELIMINARY PERIOD IN THE MINISTRY OF CHRIST
(MATTHEW 1:1 – 4:25)
PART 2
CHRIST TEACHES AND MINISTERS IN GALILEE
(MATTHEW 5:1 – 11:1)
PART 3
THE UNBELIEVING JEWS AND THEIR ENMITY TO JESUS
(MATTHEW 11:2-18:35)
PART 4
JESUS’ MINISTRY IN THE JORDAN VALLEY DURING HIS JOURNEY TO JERUSALEM
(MATTHEW 19:1 – 20:34)
PART 5
JESUS’ LAST MINISTRIES IN JERUSALEM
(MATTHEW 21:1 – 25:46)
PART 6
CHRIST’S SUFFEINGS AND DEATH
(MATTHEW 26:1-27:66)
PART 7
THE RESURRECTION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST
(MATTHEW 28:1-20)