IN order to understand the Sermon on the Mount, it is necessary to have the mind of the Preacher, and this knowledge can be gained by anyone who will receive the Holy Spirit (see Luke XL 13, John XX. 22, Acts XIX. 2). The Holy Ghost is the only expounder of the teachings of Jesus. The one abiding method of interpretation of the teachings of Jesus is the Spirit of Jesus in the heart of a believer applying His principles to the particular circumstances in which he is placed. Be renewed in the spirit of your mind, says Paul, that you may make out what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Beware of placing Our Lord as Teacher first instead of as Saviour. That tendency is prevalent to-day, and it is a' dangerous tendency. We must know Him first as Saviour before His teaching has any meaning for us, or before it has any meaning other than that of an ideal which leads to despair. Fancy coming to men and women with defective lives and defiled hearts and wrong main springs, and telling them to be pure in heart! What is the use of giving us an ideal we cannot possibly attain ? We are happier without knowing it. If Jesus is only a Teacher, then all He can do is to tantalise us by erecting a standard we cannot come anywhere near. But if we know Him first as Saviour, by being born again from above, we know that He did not come to teach us only : He came to make us what He teaches we should be. The Sermon on the Mount is a statement of the life we will live when the Holy Spirit is having His way with us.