Jesus said, “When the rain pelted down [against the house built on rock] and the torrents came and the winds gusted and battered that house, it didn’t collapse, for its foundations were on rock.”
— Matthew 7:25 (USC)
LISTENING and doing and not doing, and the consequences for doing and not doing: that is what this section (vv. 24-27) is all about.
So there are two components in view: one of awareness and the other of action.
Faith may be reduced down to these two in the presence of truth — a good faith holds to truth and a not-so-good faith holds to deceit, whether a person knows it or not. If we have the ability to discern what must be done, and then we are able to commit to the doing of the discerned action, then we have the keys to bearing good fruit. (We can now see how the themes of Matthew 7 are being connected for us by the visible fruit that is borne.)
Truth allows a person to do what is a good work — a fruit, edible and delicious, of faith. But untruth never tastes good. It may linger in the mouths of our hearts for a time, but ultimately we will want to spit it out. Rotten fruit is disgusting.
Both listening and doing are facets of one and the same obedience. There is the first step of obedience — the trust of God — and then there’s the second. The same mind underlies them both. A mind after the second nature — virtue, virtue, virtue, one thousand times over — is the mind that connects with the true heart, which is always after love.
A loving person listens. They do what their minds tell them by training and instinct what they are to do. They establish standards and they maintain those standards. They develop dispositions that are inherently considerate.
A loving person does loving things. They know, again, by training and instinct, what they must do.
Do what is right and right will be done. Do that by habit and habits of doing good become ours.
The consequences of our actions drive good motives. But a better motive is to love because we can.
It is good to build on rock so as to ward away from the horrible consequences of a great flood. But it is better by far that our family and others might anchor there, were there is inherent safety.
QUESTIONS in REVIEW:
1. How is your house going? Are the foundations a little shaky in parts? Or are you relatively happy for the ‘structure’ of your life?
2. What is the rock in your life regarding the truths you cling to that sustain you?
© 2015 S. J. Wickham.
Note: USC version is Under the Southern Cross, The New Testament in Australian English (2014). This translation was painstakingly developed by Dr Richard Moore, a NT Greek scholar, over nearly thirty years.