J. A. Trench.
Article 46 of 55 from 'Truth for Believers' Volume 2.
The Sermon on the Mount (as Matt. 5 - 7 is called) does not suppose the Kingdom to be established. There is a tone of the rejection of Christ running through it all. See verses 10-12, as also Matthew 6 and many of the exhortations of Matthew 7 which would not apply to that time of blessing on the earth. But coming to verses 20 and following, it will be observed that it is not the spiritualising of the law as often expressed, but the contrast drawn between the mere outward observance of it in Pharisaical righteousness and an internal reality looked for by Christ, and this as characteristic in this present time of those who, when Christ sets up the Kingdom, should have entrance into it. Thus He takes up the two forms of human evil, violence and corruption (vers. 21, 27), and gives the law that forbids them a new force. He judges the feelings and state of the heart. It was not enough not to kill: to cherish anger or contempt was of the same character as murder in His sight; His judgment of it expressed in the terms of the judicial proceedings with which they were familiar in their local and superior courts. "The judgment" inflicted death by the sword; "the council" (Sanhedrim) by stoning; and "the Gehenna of fire" would intensify the horrors of it. (See Alford in loc.) In what follows we see the Lord in the way with the Jew to judgment; — "thine adversary," because of His rejection, — to come under His hand in governmental dealing till they had received double for all their sins as Isaiah 40:2 puts it, or to be reconciled with Him while it was yet possible, as Psalm 2:12 warned them.