I couldn’t resist posting this as a sort of coda to all that I’ve been saying about the Sermon on the Mount…
It’s definitely worth checking out Scot McKnight’s post on whether the Sermon on the Mount is gospel or not.
He contends that the Sermon is neither a souped-up Mosaic Law nor a vision for global justice.
Rather, in McKnight’s memorable phrase, it’s Christology on steroids.
In other words, it’s not a version what McKnight calls the ‘soterian’ gospel. It’s not designed to expose our moral and spiritual poverty so that we throw ourselves on God’s (amoral) mercy.
Nor is it a version of the ‘kingdom’ gospel — providing an outline for moral living independent of the one giving the Sermon.
Although you really should read the post for yourself, this is how he concludes:
The Sermon on the Mount … is pure gospel because it proclaims Jesus (not just morals and Torah). This is why the Sermon ends with an invitation: take up my yoke, it is saying, and follow me. Jesus sketches his vision for his people and invites us to turn from our current way of life and give ourselves to him and to his kingship.
This has been the conclusion I’ve found myself driven to time and again as I’ve read and re-read the Sermon to teach it.