Summary: A study of the gospel of Matthew 6: 1 – 15
Matthew 6: 1 – 15
“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 3 But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly. 5 “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. 7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. 9 In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. 14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. 16 “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
Among the Jews almsgiving, prayer and fasting were seen as the basics of a godly life, and as being evidence of a life that was pleasing to God. The principle in mind was clearly correct, that prayer without genuineness of life and concern for others was useless. The thought was that those who would come to God must also be behaving rightly in their lives. But our Holy Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will now add to it that all such behavior must also be the result of a genuine motive, that of bringing honor to God, and not from any desire to be admired by men. This is highlighted in Psalm 12 verse 8, ‘If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me’
Take care that you do not do your righteousness before men, to be seen of them, else you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.
The point being made is that in whatever they do, their righteousness, that is their pious behavior and good works, it is not to be publicly displayed so that men may see it, for otherwise it will result in a total lack of any recompense from their heavenly Father. They will get no spiritual benefit from it. Rather it is to be done in secret in the sight of Heaven, not in the sight of earth.
The idea of ‘recompense’ is not that we are to do things in order to get a reward. It is that the reward that the Father gives is so important that it must not be lost by folly, for it involves what we will become and our whole eternal future. It is the consequence of God’s active blessing. It is in contrast with receiving the praise of men which will result in a person becoming more proud, more arrogant and more unbearable, and will simply ruin their character. For receiving their Father’s reward will make them into precisely what they ought to be for the future.
The context of ‘Your righteousness’ means that there are two significant meanings to righteousness to be borne in mind here. One is the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees in general, which is an insufficient righteousness, and is purely earthly and self-seeking, the other is God’s righteousness revealed as active in the believer which will bring a great reward. They have to choose which righteousness they will reveal.