The Sermon on the Mount

An Evangelical Exposition of Matthew 5-7

by
D. A. Carson

Book Cover: The Sermon on the Mount, An Evangelical Exposition of Matthew 5-7 by D. A. Carson

“The more I read these three chapters--Matthew 5, 6 and 7--the more I am drawn to them and shamed by them. Their brilliant light draws me like a moth to a spotlight; but the light is so bright that it sears and burns. No room is left for forms of piety which are nothing more than veneer and sham. Perfection is demanded. Jesus says, ‘Be perfect…as your heavenly Father is perfect’ (5:48).” So opens the first chapter of D. A. Carson’s book The Sermon on the Mount, An Evangelical Exposition of Matthew 5-7.

As you can tell from his opening paragraph, the author’s prose is easy to understand and engages interest quickly. This is no dry doctrinal paper for elite theologians. It has relevant teaching for every Christian drawn from Jesus’ teaching commonly referred to as The Sermon on the Mount. My copy dates from the 1982 printing, but it is not out of date some thirty years later.

The teaching itself as recorded in the Bible is simple enough for any of us to understand whatever our educational level. Yet there are depths of meaning and application that some teachers are able to draw out of them and pass on to the rest of us that we often miss in our surface reading. I found this to be true in this book.

Besides giving us a deeper insight into these passages, the author also exhorts us to act on these teachings, doing them, not just hearing them: “Entrance into the kingdom, then, does turn on obedience after all--not the obedience which earns merit points, but which bows to Jesus’ lordship in everything and without reservation. Such obedience necessarily blends with genuine repentance, making the two almost one.”

The author makes it clear he is not talking about “earning salvation:” “…the salvation which God gives by grace is not static; it inevitably results in good works. Good works may not earn salvation, but they will certainly result from it.”

He makes a call for repentance and obedience in his conclusion: “May God grant his people a spirit of contrition which petitions him for grace and forgiveness by Jesus Christ, and a growing conformity to the norms and perspectives of the kingdom.”

 

 

Book Review
By Scarlett Stough
Title: The Sermon on the Mount, An Evangelical Exposition of Matthew 5-7
Author: D. A. Carson
Publisher: Baker Book House Company, Copyright 1978
ISBN: 0-8010-2480-3