The blessings of the kingdom (Matt 5:3–10) and the purpose of God for the subjects of the kingdom as the salt and the light of the world (Matt 5:13–15) are tied to the subject’s attitude toward the commands of God. Jesus tells His disciples to let the light of their obedience shine before men so that God may be praised or glorified (Matt 5:16). He reinforces the importance of their attitude toward the commands of God when He says:
Anyone who breaks (“breaks” is also translated as relaxes
or annuls – ESV, NASB) one of the least of these
commandments and teaches others to do the same will be
called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices
and teaches these commands will be called great in the
kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your
righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers
of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven
(Matt 5:19–20 NIV).
The kingdom and its blessings are now, as they have always been, related to our attitude toward the commands of God. There is never a time to have an indifferent, selfish, relaxed, or annulling attitude toward the commands of God. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees and teachers of the law (scribes) for the hypocritical attitude of their heart toward God’s commands. He said that they were the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy – “These people honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men” (Matt 15:8–9).
Our humble obedient attitude toward God’s commands will enable us to enter the kingdom and so enjoy its matchless blessings. In fact, our Christian walk begins with our wholehearted obedience to the form of teaching, baptism, to which you were entrusted (Rom 6:17), and it continues as we practice and teach the commands of God (Matt 5:19). Humble and heartfelt obedience is the attitude of children that Jesus commends in Matthew 18, and it is what He requires of us (Matt 5:20; 18:3). May God bless us with ears that hear and hearts that obey!