Matthew records Jesus' challenge to the religious leaders that the righteousness of God does not come from doing right but being right. To be in a right relationship with God through the forgiveness offered in Jesus Christ, and right relationships with people as peace makers and being pure in thought and action.
These passages cover our ugly characteristics of Anger, Lust, Adultery, Divorce, Dishonesty and Retaliation.
Recognizing the depth of God's great love for us and His ability to work in the midst of our frailty can enable us to count on Him to change our hearts, to have hope that He can transform us to be more like his Son.
We can count on Him to transform our hearts because this is who God is. The gospel is the story of God wooing and loving us, His enemies. He cared for us before we even knew or cared that He existed. Transforming conflict into peace and well-being is at the heart of who He is.
It is God who continually accomplishes the impossible--of enabling us to love, when our natural man only knows anger and division.
Christ has covered only 6 principles here: Do not express hatred for another, but do good to everyone no matter what they did to you. Do nothing sexually immoral. Stay with the one you are married to. Do not break any commitments you make. Do not rebel against any authority, even evil ones.
These are not laws that we can just wake up one day and say, “Well, it’s illegal to do this, so I think I’ll just stop.” Rather, these are laws that must begin to be obeyed in our minds. Our thoughts are what determine what our small, seeming insignificant actions will be. Thus, we must depend on the Spirit of God to obey in this way.