Luke 6:[27] “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, [28] bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. [29] To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. [30] Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. [31] And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

This is one of the best known teachings of Jesus and we’ll be in it for a few days. Right off the bat, we need to get things very clear. This is not a teaching by Jesus telling us how to be saved. The way to heaven is not earned because we are good to our enemies. We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. This is not a description of how to earn favour with God. It is not telling us how to overcome our evil with good.

There is nothing more contrary to our natures than to return evil done to us with good. Living like this will take a power greater than what we are able to muster from within ourselves. We will need help from outside. The point is that whatever these verses mean they do not mean that if we try really hard to live like this that God will grant us eternal life.

It is impossible to live like this on a consistent basis and that may indeed be what Jesus is telling us. Only those who have had a life changing encounter with Christ can ever expect to be able to live out the Kingdom ethics that Jesus is outlining here. The fact that people believe they will be able to stand before God and say that they were good enough to be granted eternal life cannot stand the test that these requirements put on us all. A radical change of heart must take place before anyone is going to be able to live like Jesus is telling us to live in these verses. That radical change of heart is what happens when someone has a real encounter with the real Christ by the power of the real Holy Spirit who takes up residence in the soul and enables people to even live like these verses say we should. It’s a miracle and God is performing the miracle every day.

Some will say that they see this kind of response to evil nowhere. But it does exist and it is being demonstrated. And it is in the ability in every believer to obey this, not because believers are super human, but because when God saves someone, He does not just change their destination. He changes their hearts. They become new creatures. They can even do these impossible things. It starts in the mind and heart in transforming our desires so that we want to do this instead of lashing out like we would have before our encounter with God.

People who say that they know that God will let them into heaven because they do this are deluded. No one lives like this perfectly, and perfection is the only thing God will accept. It is why we need Christ.

The ethics of the Kingdom are unreachable. Jesus reached them for us and if we believe He will count His perfect obedience to this standard as if we had already reached it. Then we can work on living it out.