Do Also to Them
Matthew 7:12 ESV
“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
This is another one of those verses that must be read in context, not just of the chapter, but of the whole of the New Testament, and which must be understood in light of our Lord’s divine character and will for our lives, too.
For, taken out of context, it could be misinterpreted to say that whatever (as in anything) we wish that others do to us we should do to them. Yet, if we are walking in the flesh, living to fulfill the lusts of the flesh, and if we are of the world and we hunger after the things of the world, we may desire things for ourselves that are not wholesome, and that are actually contrary to the Word of God, and which are in direct contradiction to God’s will for our lives.
So, in order to have a more complete understanding of what this single verse is saying I did a search on “the Law and the Prophets,” for by including them in this verse, it is saying that this “whatever we wish” somehow is in agreement with the law and the prophets. And, then I found this scripture:
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matt. 22:36-40 ESV
So, now we have a more complete picture of this “whatever we wish others would do to us.” It is conjunction with loving God with all our heart, soul and mind, and loving our neighbors as we love ourselves. And, if we are loving God truly with all our heart, soul and mind, we are going to be walking in obedience to his Word, and we are going to be leaving our sinful lifestyles behind us, and we are going to be living in holiness and righteousness.
So, how we love ourselves is also going to fit in with how we love God, and so we are not going to feed our lives with what is spiritually unhealthy, and we are not going to be walking in wickedness, living to fulfill the lusts of our flesh. And, so how we love ourselves and what we desire for ourselves is going to be in sync with God’s righteousness and holiness, and it will not be in agreement with the lusts of the flesh. And, so how we love others and what we do to them will be how God loves us and what he does for us.
Wide and Narrow Gates
Matthew 7:13-14 ESV
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
So, if we are truly loving God with our whole being, and to love God is to obey him, and it is to love others with God’s (agape) love, then what we wish others would do to us will be in line with God’s holiness and righteousness and with his divine will and purpose for our lives.
And, thus, what we do to them will follow suit. We will do to them what is God’s best for them, which is that they also walk in God’s love in holiness and righteousness, and it is that they live in accord with God’s will and purpose for their lives. So, we will do to them what will lead them to God and to walks of righteousness, and which will lead them to follow after God’s will for their lives. And, we will NOT do to them what would lead them to reject God’s way of holiness for their lives.
Thus, we will also speak the truth in love to them, and we will show them the way of holiness and the way to salvation and eternal life with God, as Jesus and his NT apostles taught it. Thus, we won’t dilute the message to make it more appealing to the flesh or to make people feel good about themselves while they are still in slavery to sin.
So, we will let them know that the way to heaven is narrow (restricted), not broad (all encompassing). It is not the easy way of personal comfort, fun and entertainment. It is not free license to continue in sinful practices without guilt. It is not just an escape from hell and the promise of heaven when we die. It is a commitment to die with Christ to sin and to live with Christ to righteousness. It is a lifetime decision to leave our sinful lifestyles behind us to follow our Lord in obedience and in surrender to his will.
And, so we are going to tell others the truth, not coddle them in their sins and then call it “love.” We will let them know that if they want to have eternal life with God that they have to deny self and take up their cross daily and follow Christ (Lu. 9:23-26; Eph. 4:17-24; Tit. 2:11-14).
And, we will tell them that they must walk (in practice) according to the Spirit of God and no longer according to the flesh, for this is the narrow (restricted) way that leads to heaven. And, the broad way that many are teaching today does not lead to heaven but to hell (Rom. 8:1-17).
Beware of False Prophets
Matthew 7:15-20 ESV
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.”
One of the main goals of those who are false teachers is to twist the scriptures to make them say what they want them to say in order to deceive the masses into rejecting the truth and into following after a lie.
And, so they will pull scriptures out of context to make them say what they want them to say in order to lead people away from Jesus Christ while they make them believe they are leading them to Christ. For, example, they might take verse 12 here and teach that we can do to others whatever it is we wish done to ourselves, even if it is what is evil.
Thus, it is a bait and switch, i.e. “the action (generally illegal) of advertising goods which are an apparent bargain, with the intention of substituting inferior or more expensive goods” (Google). Absolutely! Great description!
They advertise faith in Jesus Christ and the promise of heaven guaranteed, and they make it simple and easy, but what they promise they can’t fulfill. For, they promise salvation and heaven based on a lie. They do tell part of the truth, which is the bait, but then they switch it up by changing parts of it or by taking scriptures out of context, and so they end up substituting the true gospel of grace with something inferior, i.e. with the cheap grace gospel which requires no death to sin or living to righteousness.
So, we need to be aware of the tactics of these wolves in sheep’s clothing so that we are not taken in by them. So, just because a scripture passage is inserted inside a writing does not mean the writing has anything to do with that scripture passage. And, just because scriptures are quoted in sermons does not mean that what is being preached is of God or that it is truth.
And, that is why we have to test everything we read, see and hear against the scriptures (IN CONTEXT) and against what we know of God’s divine character and will for our lives.
So, look up scriptures in the context in which they are written, and ask the Holy Spirit to give you understanding. Take them word by word and phrase by phrase and prayerfully evaluate what they are truly saying. For, truly one of the biggest ways in which these wolves in sheep’s clothing are able to lead the masses astray is via lies and deception and via the twisting of scripture.
So, please know that faith in Jesus Christ is not just words. It is action. For, the faith to believe in Jesus is a gift from God and it is divinely persuaded, and thus it will submit to Christ as Lord, leaves sinful lifestyles behind, and follows our Lord Jesus in obedience, one day at a time until eternity. And, it will walk according to the Spirit in obedience to our Lord and it will not walk (in practice) according to the flesh (Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Jn. 2:3-6; 1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15, 21).
So, don’t blindly believe everything you hear. Test everything against the Word of God in context, and believe and follow after the truth.
When I Was Walking
An Original Work / January 16, 2020
When I was walking along the way,
My Lord was with me, and He did say,
“My child I’m with you. I hear you pray,
‘Oh, help me, Lord! Need You today!’”
He is my friend, near to the end.
Gently leads me. His servant be.
He helps me pray – knows what to say.
He’s all I need. On Him I feed.
When I am wond’ring of what to do,
He gently leads me to what is truth.
He is my helper. He strengthens me.
When I’m in want, supplies my need.
He comforts me with all His love.
Gives me His grace from heav’n above.
I heed His call to watch and pray,
To guard my heart throughout each day.
When He is calling to come to Him,
To let Him lead you, trust Him within,
How will you answer to Him today?
Will you say, “Yes, Lord, have your way”?
Do not neglect to let Him in,
Cleanse you from sin, made new within.
Leave all your sin, obey your Lord,
Trust in His Word – His mighty Sword.
(New song in process)