“‘Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven’” (Matthew 5:19).
The result of a believer’s practicing or teaching disobedience of any part of Scripture is to “be called least in the kingdom of heaven.” “Called” does not refer merely to what people say about us, but what God says about us. Others usually know nothing of or don’t care about our disobedience, but God always knows and cares.
It is completely God’s prerogative to determine rank in His kingdom (cf. Matt. 20:23). Therefore He has a perfect right to hold those in lowest esteem who have a low esteem for the Word. This does not mean the Lord will take away the offender’s salvation; they are still “in the kingdom of heaven.” But it does mean they will forfeit certain blessing and reward to whatever extent they are disobedient and disrespectful. The apostle John warned his readers, “Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward” (2 John 8).
If we ignore or reject even the most minor aspect of God’s law, we devalue all of it (James 2:10) and join the ranks of God’s least. It should be the highest concern of us who profess to love our Savior and Lord never to prompt Him to call us the least.
Few of us would admit to devaluing the Word of God, but perhaps that’s because we limit to one or two the number of ways this is done. How might a person show disrespect for the Scripture’s authority and teaching beyond the most obvious offenses?
From Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1, John MacArthur. Copyright © 2008. Used by permission of Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL 60610