The Gift Laid at the Altar

Malcolm Horlock, Cardiff, Wales

The Lord's teaching in Matthew 5. 23-24 is usually taken to mean that gifts offered to God are not acceptable to Him if things are not right between the offerer and his brethren. However, the context in which this saying is found suggests a slightly different interpretation.

The saying follows straight on from the Lord's condemnation of anger and abusive language. Both angry feelings and expressions of contempt, He warned, render the offender liable to severe judgment, vv. 21-22. It is at this point that He added, "therefore if thou bring ... ".

I suggest that the complete section can be paraphrased as follows;

"You have been taught that murder is a serious matter and merits judgment. I say to you that, in the sight of God, anger (of which murder is but the ultimate expression) is a serious matter and merits judgment also", w. 21-22.

"It may be that, having brought your gift to God's altar, you there remember that you have given your brother cause to bear ill-will towards you: he 'hath ought against thee'. For his sake and without delay, you must eliminate the provocation which you gave him earlier. Notwithstanding the fact that you are in the very process of offering a gift to God, you must go immediately and sort things out with your offended brother: you must 'first be reconciled' to him", vv. 23-24.

"When you are in the wrong, it is essential (for your own sake this time) for you to put things right with 'your adversary' - before it is too late", vv. 25-26.

For one person to nurse a grievance against another is an extremely serious matter. So much so that to remove your brother's sense of grievance is more important even than to offer a gift to God!

There are 9 articles in
ISSUE (1986, Volume 37 Issue 5)

Born Again

The Breaking of Bread

Claimed by Christ

Gospel Work and other Assembly Activities

He Shall be Called a Nazarene (2)

My People (Paper 1)

The Ordinance of the Red Heifer

Practical Conduct - Part 1: 4. 17-32

The Gift Laid at the Altar

This article is not part of a series

There are 71 articles by this author

1 Corinthians 14 (1)

1 Corinthians 14 (2)

1 Corinthians 14 (3)

1 Corinthians 15-16 (1)

The Coming of the Son of Man (3)

1 Corinthians 15-16 (3)

1 Corinthians 13

1 Corinthians 15-16 (2)

So much Better than the Angels (2)

1 Corinthians 12

Isaiah saw His Glory and spoke of Him

So much Better than the Angels (1)

The Coming of the Son of Man (2)

The Coming of the Son of Man (1)

Jacob at Bethel (1)

Jacob at Bethel (2)

1 Corinthians 8 (1)

The Temptations of the Lord

1 Corinthians 8 (2)

All Things Work Together for Good

A Bird’s-Eye View of Philippians

What about Gambling?

What about Television?

Christ our Forerunner, Hebrews 6. 18-20

Philippians 3. 20, 21 (2)

Absalom and Christ

My Responsibility to Civil Authorities

He Shall Be Called a Nazarene (1)

He Shall be Called a Nazarene (2)

The Gift Laid at the Altar

Possessed and Possessing

This is our God - Introduction, Isaiah 25. 9

This is our God - The God of Unlimited Power and Authority (1)

This is our God - The God of Unlimited Power and Authority (2)

This is our God - The God of Holiness

This is our God - The Eternal God

This is our God - The Presence of God (1)

This is our God - The Presence of God (2)

Which Church?

Lessons in Service

Philippians 3. 20, 21 (1)

1 Corinthians 9-10 (1)

1 Corinthians 9-10 (2)

1 Corinthians 9-10 (3)

The Church in Ephesus

1 Corinthians 9-10 (4)

1 Corinthians 11 (1)

1 Corinthians 11 (2)

1 Corinthians 11 (3)

Cyril Hocking

The Seven Golden Lampstands (1)

The Seven Golden Lampstands (2)

God and the Gospel

His Own Son

The Lamb and the ‘Beast’

The Parable of the Good Samaritan - Part 1

The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant - Part 1

The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ

The Parable of the Good Samaritan - Part 2

Thy Shield and Exceeding Great Reward

The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant - Part 2

The Parable of the Workers in Vineyard - Part 1

The Parable of the Workers in Vineyard - Part 2

The Parable of the Unjust Steward - Part 1

Our Lord’s Outststretched Hands

The Parable of the Unjust Steward - Part 2

The Parable of the Pounds - Part 1

The Parable of the Pounds - Part 2

The Parable of the Unprofitable Servant

Miracles and the Revelation of God

Miracles and the Revelation of God - Part 2