Understanding the Gospel of the Kingdom leads to the way of life we call Kingdom life. The Gospel of Matthew is very helpful because it connects the Kingdom of God to the commandments of Yeshua. In Matthew 28:19-20 we read, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them… and teaching them to observe all that I commanded you…”
The commandments of Yeshua are the foundation for character evaluation and the instrument for character training. We are able to grow in obedience to His commandments by depending upon His transforming grace (abiding in the Vine-John 15). This includes identification with His crucifixion whereby the deeds of the flesh are put to death. Resurrection power is also crucial, for we are to be constantly filled with the Spirit to motivate us to obedience.
Yeshua’s teaching in Matthew 5-7 shows us how to apply the Torah. “For I say to you, that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.” How can believers attain this? It is only by His power and grace.
Character is part of our life witness. The Torah is applied to the issues of the heart. Believers are not only ones who do not murder, but they do not have anger and hatred in their heart. They love their enemies, pray for them, and even do good to them. Not only will believers not commit adultery, but they will obey the higher command to have no lust in their hearts. Oaths are not taken to prove that we are speaking truth. The follower of Yeshua is fully honest and carries out His word!
The call to character, whereby we die to self is little taught in the Western church. Character enables one to maintain lifetime covenant relationships; whether in marriage, friendship or community life. People who are growing in Kingdom character will learn to love one another more and more. Godly character is a foundational pillar of the Kingdom of God.