“‘Whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven’” (Matthew 5:19).
Those saints who uphold every part of God’s Word in their lives and in what they teach exhibit a most positive response to His law and receive from Him the commendation “great.” They see Paul as their pattern, when he told the Thessalonians, “You are witnesses, and so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers; just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children, so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory” (1 Thess. 2:10–12; cf. 1 Tim. 4:11–12; 6:11–12).
The apostle kept and taught the entire purpose of God (Acts 20:27) and therefore ranks among the greatest in God’s kingdom. If we do the same, we too will be among the greatest in heaven.
One key to our positive response to God’s moral law is knowing that it’s changeless and eternal. In heaven, the traits it requires will not need to be commanded, for they will simply be manifested as part of God’s own character. But we do not naturally reflect those characteristics while still on earth. Thus His moral standards must continue to be taught and heeded so that we might bear Spirit-produced fruit while we wait for its ultimate fulfillment (cf. Rom. 8:2–4).
Greatness does not come by gifts, success, or popularity but by our reverence for, respect of, and obedience to the Word in daily life and how we encourage those attitudes in others.
What specific, noticeable things are “great” about a person who deliberately pursues obedience to the Word? How do they distinguish themselves from others in expression, attitude, and outlook?
From Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1, John MacArthur. Copyright © 2008. Used by permission of Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL 60610