AUGUST 31, 2017 BY SCOT MCKNIGHT
In Jonathan Pennington’s virtue-ethics-based approach to the Sermon on the Mount, the finest example I have seen of a virtue-ethics approach (see The Sermon on the Mount and Human Flourishing), seven big ideas in the Sermon are sketched. (These in addition to “blessing” and “perfection.”) These amount to Seven Big Ideas of Jesus, especially if one approaches Jesus through the lens of the Synoptic Gospels (with an emphasis on Matthew!)
This is a good discussion of the Sermon’s “lexicon” or “dictionary.”
In light of an overall reading of Matthew as well as the emphasis of the Sermon on human flourishing, it makes best sense to interpret dikaiosyne in Matthew not as imputed nor as something only God does, but in its natural ethical sense of what is expected of Jesus’s disciples. In short, it is “doing the will of God” (7:21, 24; 12:50; cf. 6:10; 7:12; 18:14; 26:39, 42), that which is required to enter the kingdom of heaven (5:19-20; 7:21). …
Yet at the same time, as Lee Irons rightly notes, while Matthew is not talking about Pauline justification, his ethical construal of “righteousness” is a “righteousness that rests upon the redemptive-historical and eschatological reality of the coming of the kingdom in the person of Jesus. This is what makes it the higher righteousness that exceeds that of the scribes and the Pharisees. In the words of Roland Deines, it is ‘Jesus-righteousness’ (90).
Read more at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/2017/08/31/jesus-big-ideas/#MOe5bfElRHaYbCFp.99