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Expounding of the Law

Expounding of the Law

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The Expounding of the Law is a highly structured ("Ye have heard ... But I say unto you") part of the Sermon on the Mount
Sermon on the Mount
The Sermon on the Mount is a collection of sayings and teachings of Jesus, which emphasizes his moral teaching found in the Gospel of Matthew...

 in the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

. It follows the Beatitudes
Beatitudes
In Christianity, the Beatitudes are a set of teachings by Jesus that appear in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. The term Beatitude comes from the Latin adjective beatus which means happy, fortunate, or blissful....

 and the metaphors of salt and light
Salt and Light
Salt and light are metaphors used by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, one of the main teachings of Jesus on morality and discipleship. These metaphors in Matthew 5:13-16 immediately follow the Beatitudes and refer to expectations from the disciples....

.

The expounding is at the core of the argument about the relationship between the views attributed to Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 (see also Gospel
Gospel
A gospel is an account, often written, that describes the life of Jesus of Nazareth. In a more general sense the term "gospel" may refer to the good news message of the New Testament. It is primarily used in reference to the four canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John...

, Grace
Divine grace
In Christian theology, grace is God’s gift of God’s self to humankind. It is understood by Christians to be a spontaneous gift from God to man - "generous, free and totally unexpected and undeserved" - that takes the form of divine favour, love and clemency. It is an attribute of God that is most...

, New Covenant
New Covenant
The New Covenant is a concept originally derived from the Hebrew Bible. The term "New Covenant" is used in the Bible to refer to an epochal relationship of restoration and peace following a period of trial and judgment...

, New Commandment, Law of Christ), and those attributed to Moses
Moses
Moses was, according to the Hebrew Bible and Qur'an, a religious leader, lawgiver and prophet, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed...

 or the Mosaic Law
Torah
Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

, and hence on the relationship between the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 and Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

.

Adherence to the Law



In Greek : is interpreted as meaning any of the following: establish, confirm, validate, complete, actualise, properly explain, accomplish, or obey. In contrast, Marcion's version of Luke 23:2 states: "We found this fellow perverting the nation and destroying the law and the prophets." See also Ephesians 2:15.

Some argue that Jesus rejects some of the accepted tenets of Mosaic law, such as the understanding of Sabbath
Biblical Sabbath
Sabbath in the Bible is usually a weekly day of rest and time of worship. The Sabbath is first mentioned in the Genesis creation narrative. The seventh day is there set aside as a day of rest—the Sabbath. It is observed differently in Judaism and Christianity and informs a similar occasion in...

, divorce laws
Religion and divorce
Many countries in Europe had prohibited divorce, as it is not allowed by the Catholic Church. Sometimes citizens travelled to other jurisdictions to obtain a divorce. No Catholic Church will remarry divorced persons, unless they previously have their marriage annulled, which is only possible in...

, dietary laws
Kashrut
Kashrut is the set of Jewish dietary laws. Food in accord with halakha is termed kosher in English, from the Ashkenazi pronunciation of the Hebrew term kashér , meaning "fit" Kashrut (also kashruth or kashrus) is the set of Jewish dietary laws. Food in accord with halakha (Jewish law) is termed...

, and Biblical festival days
Jewish holiday
Jewish holidays are days observed by Jews as holy or secular commemorations of important events in Jewish history. In Hebrew, Jewish holidays and festivals, depending on their nature, may be called yom tov or chag or ta'anit...

 (such as Passover
Passover (Christian holiday)
Christian Passover is a religious observance celebrated by some churches to keep faith with Old Testament teaching. It is often linked to the Christian holiday and festival of Easter. Often, only an abbreviated seder is celebrated to explain the meaning in a time-limited ceremony...

), while accepting others, and presents a New Covenant, doing so particularly by the antitheses.

According to Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo , also known as Augustine, St. Augustine, St. Austin, St. Augoustinos, Blessed Augustine, or St. Augustine the Blessed, was Bishop of Hippo Regius . He was a Latin-speaking philosopher and theologian who lived in the Roman Africa Province...

, Jesus expanded the law but did not replace it
Supersessionism
Supersessionism is a term for the dominant Christian view of the Old Covenant, also called fulfillment theology and replacement theology, though the latter term is disputed...

. Others used analogy to explain this notion: Chrysostom used the analogy of a race saying that Jesus had added extra distance for the Christians to run, but the beginning remained the same; Theophylact of Bulgaria
Theophylact of Bulgaria
Theophylact of Ohrid was a Greek archbishop of Ohrid and commentator on the Bible.-Life:...

 used the image of an artist colouring in an outline, and Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas, O.P. , also Thomas of Aquin or Aquino, was an Italian Dominican priest of the Catholic Church, and an immensely influential philosopher and theologian in the tradition of scholasticism, known as Doctor Angelicus, Doctor Communis, or Doctor Universalis...

 saw it as how a tree still contains the seed. This view became the accepted Roman Catholic position, but was challenged in the Protestant reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

, with leading Protestants such as Martin Luther
Martin Luther
Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

, John Calvin
John Calvin
John Calvin was an influential French theologian and pastor during the Protestant Reformation. He was a principal figure in the development of the system of Christian theology later called Calvinism. Originally trained as a humanist lawyer, he broke from the Roman Catholic Church around 1530...

, and Huldrych Zwingli
Huldrych Zwingli
Ulrich Zwingli was a leader of the Reformation in Switzerland. Born during a time of emerging Swiss patriotism and increasing criticism of the Swiss mercenary system, he attended the University of Vienna and the University of Basel, a scholarly centre of humanism...

 rejecting the idea Jesus had added to the Law, and instead arguing that Jesus only illustrated the true Law that had always existed, but that the Law had been badly understood by the Pharisees and other Jewish leaders. The Anabaptists took the opposite view and felt that Jesus had greatly reformed the Law, and rejected anything that the Bible doesn't mention him as having confirmed.

Matthew 5:18 states that "Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled". Jot is the King James Version's translation of iota
Iota
Iota is the ninth letter of the Greek alphabet. In the system of Greek numerals it has a value of 10. It was derived from the Phoenician letter Yodh . Letters that arose from this letter include the Roman I and J and the Cyrillic І , Yi , Je , and iotified letters .Iota represents...

, the smallest letter in the Greek alphabet
Greek alphabet
The Greek alphabet is the script that has been used to write the Greek language since at least 730 BC . The alphabet in its classical and modern form consists of 24 letters ordered in sequence from alpha to omega...

, as the parallel letter yodh
Yodh
Yodh is the tenth letter of many Semitic alphabets, including Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew Yud , Syriac and Arabic...

 (י) is the smallest in the Aramaic alphabet
Aramaic alphabet
The Aramaic alphabet is adapted from the Phoenician alphabet and became distinctive from it by the 8th century BC. The letters all represent consonants, some of which are matres lectionis, which also indicate long vowels....

. Tittle
Tittle
A tittle is a small distinguishing mark, such as a diacritic or the dot on a lowercase i or j. The tittle is an integral part of the glyph of i and j, but diacritic dots can appear over other letters in various languages...

, the KJV translation of (a word which literally means horn), is a small mark of some sort, generally considered by scholars to refer to minor projections (horns) that differentiate certain letters, such as hooks in Aramaic - ב versus כ for example; the English word refers to the marks above the letters i and j. Hence the phrase refers to even the tiniest minutiae being unaltered, and it is this meaning that not one iota, a common English phrase deriving from the statement, has taken.

Matthew 5:19 condemns those who preach the commandments but do not uphold them, i.e. hypocrites
Hypocrisy
Hypocrisy is the state of pretending to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that one does not actually have. Hypocrisy involves the deception of others and is thus a kind of lie....

. See also Cafeteria Christianity
Cafeteria Christianity
"Cafeteria Christianity" is a derogatory term used by some Christians, and others, to accuse other Christian individuals or denominations of selecting which Christian doctrines they will follow, and which they will not.-First use in print:...

 and discourse on judgementalism
The Mote and the Beam
The Mote and the Beam is a New Testament saying in Matthew 7:1-5 as part of the Sermon on the Mount. The discourse is fairly brief, and begins by condemning those who would judge others, arguing that they too would be judged...

. Most Christians interpret commandments as obviously referring to the Mosaic law, Noahide laws
Noahide Laws
The Seven Laws of Noah form the major part of the Noachide Laws, or Noahide Code. This code is a set of moral imperatives that, according to the Talmud, were given by God as a binding set of laws for the "children of Noah" – that is, all of humankind...

, or to the Ethical decalogue, which are now meant to be viewed in principle, rather than rule
Letter and spirit of the law
The letter of the law versus the spirit of the law is an idiomatic antithesis. When one obeys the letter of the law but not the spirit, one is obeying the literal interpretation of the words of the law, but not the intent of those who wrote the law...

 (Matthew 5:21-48).

Paul did not object to the observance of the Mosaic Law, as long as it did not interfere with the liberty of the Gentiles. However, Messianic Jews (a Christian group) are of the mindset that Mosaic Law must be observed by all, including Gentiles.

subtly condemns the Pharisees
Pharisees
The Pharisees were at various times a political party, a social movement, and a school of thought among Jews during the Second Temple period beginning under the Hasmonean dynasty in the wake of...

: only those who were more righteous than they would enter the "kingdom of heaven
Kingdom of God
The Kingdom of God or Kingdom of Heaven is a foundational concept in the Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.The term "Kingdom of God" is found in all four canonical gospels and in the Pauline epistles...

". Matthew generally condemns the manner in which the Pharisees adhere to the law, portraying it as excessively legalistic
Legalism (theology)
Legalism, in Christian theology, is a sometimes-pejorative term referring to an over-emphasis on discipline of conduct, or legal ideas, usually implying an allegation of misguided rigour, pride, superficiality, the neglect of mercy, and ignorance of the grace of God or emphasizing the letter of...

, and here is no exception. This begins a pattern, repeated later in the Sermon on the Mount, in the Discourse on ostentation, where outward and public adherence to religious behaviour are condemned as being hollow, in favour of private and internal adherence.

Antithesis of the Law


This section of the sermon is sometimes called the Antithesis of the Law. As applied to this section of Matthew, the phrase is used in different ways. Some writers use it to mean something like "statements affirming the Law but going beyond it". Others mean something like "opposed to the false glosses of the Law". Still others mean "directly contradicting the Law"; the second of the four basic tenets of Dispensationalism posits: "A radical distinction between the Law and Grace
Divine grace
In Christian theology, grace is God’s gift of God’s self to humankind. It is understood by Christians to be a spontaneous gift from God to man - "generous, free and totally unexpected and undeserved" - that takes the form of divine favour, love and clemency. It is an attribute of God that is most...

; that is, they are mutually exclusive ideas."

The 1577 Lutheran Formula of Concord
Formula of Concord
Formula of Concord is an authoritative Lutheran statement of faith that, in its two parts , makes up the final section of the Lutheran Corpus Doctrinae or Body of Doctrine, known as...

 in Article V states: "We believe, teach, and confess that the distinction between the Law and the Gospel is to be maintained in the Church with great diligence. . ." Martin Luther
Martin Luther
Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

 wrote: "Hence, whoever knows well this art of distinguishing between Law and Gospel, him place at the head and call him a doctor of Holy Scripture."

Specialised focuses


As well as a more general discussion about adherence to the law, the expositions individually cover the following aspects in greater detail: Anger, Adultery, Divorce, Oaths, Retaliation and Love for Enemies.

Each of these sections begins with a scriptural quotation that indicates how the law officially regards each of these issues, and then goes on to, depending on one's interpretation, either extend the law's commandment to its most radical extent, or make a radical assertion opposing it.

Anger


The first exposition is on the subject of murder. Beginning by quoting the commandment thou shalt not murder Matthew describes Jesus as going on to condemn the anger which led to it as being just as bad. This view is not particularly new to Jesus, appearing in the Old Testament at places such as Ecclesiastes
Ecclesiastes
The Book of Ecclesiastes, called , is a book of the Hebrew Bible. The English name derives from the Greek translation of the Hebrew title.The main speaker in the book, identified by the name or title Qoheleth , introduces himself as "son of David, king in Jerusalem." The work consists of personal...

 and Sirach, as well as in the Slavonic Enoch, Pesahim
Pesahim
Pesahim is the third tractate of Seder Moed of the Mishnah and of the Talmud. It is concerned mainly with the laws of the Jewish holiday Passover as well as the Passover lamb offering...

, and Nedarim. Jesus is also described as condemning people who insult each other, specifically identifying the insult of calling someone a Raca. Scholars seem divided on how grievous an insult it was - for example Hill feels it was very grievous while France thinks it minor.

The expositions finally culminate with what could easily be seen as very practical advice to reconcile with others quickly, before that person whom you consider to be your enemy causes the issue to be brought before a judge, since being placed into jail will require you to buy yourself out of jail, not even leaving you with a penny and meaning spiritually broke for not recognizing that who you perceive as your enemy is another person who is just as important as you, or possibly this enemy is a reflection of yourself.

Adultery


The second exposition is on the subject of adultery
Adultery
Adultery is sexual infidelity to one's spouse, and is a form of extramarital sex. It originally referred only to sex between a woman who was married and a person other than her spouse. Even in cases of separation from one's spouse, an extramarital affair is still considered adultery.Adultery is...

. Firstly it quotes the commandment in the ethical decalogue at Exodus 20:14 about adultery, and then goes on to state that looking at a woman in lust
Lust
Lust is an emotional force that is directly associated with the thinking or fantasizing about one's desire, usually in a sexual way.-Etymology:The word lust is phonetically similar to the ancient Roman lustrum, which literally meant "purification"...

 is equal to the act of adultery itself.

The discussion in Matthew continues with two now well known phrases that are also to a degree present in Mark 9:43 and Mark 9:47 and Matthew 18:8-9:
  • If thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out
  • If thy right hand offend thee, cut it off


Jesus is portrayed in Matthew as making these statements because he considers it better that one cut oneself off from sin so as not to condemn the remainder of oneself to Gehenna
Gehenna
Gehenna , Gehinnom and Yiddish Gehinnam, are terms derived from a place outside ancient Jerusalem known in the Hebrew Bible as the Valley of the Son of Hinnom ; one of the two principal valleys surrounding the Old City.In the Hebrew Bible, the site was initially where apostate Israelites and...

.

Divorce


The third exposition, sometimes considered a continuation of the prior one about adultery, is on divorce, and is comparatively short. It begins with a reference to , requiring a man who dismisses his wife for "some indecency" he finds in her to give her a formal written divorce certificate. However, the exposition describes Jesus as condemning anyone who, except in the event of porneia, divorces his wife and thus "makes her an adulteress", adding: "whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery."

Apostle Paul, writing in about the middle of the 1st century, likewise quotes Jesus as forbidding divorce without any exception: "To the married I give charge, not I but the Lord, that the wife should not separate from her husband (but if she does, let her remain single or else be reconciled to her husband) — and that the husband should not divorce his wife". However, "to the rest" Paul, on his own authority ("I say, not the Lord"), gives the rule (later referred to as the Pauline privilege
Pauline privilege
The Pauline Privilege is a Christian concept drawn from the apostle Paul's instructions in theFirst Epistle to the Corinthians.-Origin:In Paul's epistle it states:...

) that someone who on becoming a Christian is abandoned by a non-Christian spouse is not tied to that spouse.

From an early stage, the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 clearly excluded divorce. Saint Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo , also known as Augustine, St. Augustine, St. Austin, St. Augoustinos, Blessed Augustine, or St. Augustine the Blessed, was Bishop of Hippo Regius . He was a Latin-speaking philosopher and theologian who lived in the Roman Africa Province...

 stated "[T]he compact of marriage is not done away by divorce intervening; so that they continue wedded persons one to another, even after separation; and commit adultery with those with whom they shall be joined, even after their own divorce, either the woman with a man, or the man with a woman."

Oaths


The third/fourth exposition is about oath
Oath
An oath is either a statement of fact or a promise calling upon something or someone that the oath maker considers sacred, usually God, as a witness to the binding nature of the promise or the truth of the statement of fact. To swear is to take an oath, to make a solemn vow...

s. While Gundry believes that this follows the discussion of divorce since Deuteronomy discusses these things one after another, though in reverse order, other scholars believe that it is simply a natural progression, as one of the major legal issues of the day was over marriage vows.

The exposition opens with a quote from the Septuagint translation of the Old Testament, which appears to come from . While the text literally condemns perjury, it can also mean break an oath, and some individuals translate it much less restrictively as do not make vows rashly.

According to Matthew, Jesus instructs people to only respond with yes, yes; no, no. The formula yes, yes; no, no also appears in 2 Cor 1:17.

Retaliation


The penultimate exposition partly paralleled in Luke's Sermon on the Plain
Sermon on the Plain
In Christianity, the Sermon on the Plain refers to a set of teachings by Jesus in the Gospel of Luke, in 6:17-49.This sermon may be compared to the longer Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew....

, is on the subject of punishment
Punishment
Punishment is the authoritative imposition of something negative or unpleasant on a person or animal in response to behavior deemed wrong by an individual or group....

. It begins with a quote of the lex talionis - an eye for an eye
Eye For An Eye
Eye for an Eye is a Polish hardcore punk rock band founded in 1997 in Bielsko-Biała. EFAE, as it is also known, plays an old school style of punk, more along the veins of The Exploited or even, some say, Agnostic Front. The punk stylings of EFAE has been compared to fellow countrymen Post Regiment,...

- which is found in three of the law codes in the pentuateuch (in the Deuteronomic code
Deuteronomy
The Book of Deuteronomy is the fifth book of the Hebrew Bible, and of the Jewish Torah/Pentateuch...

, Holiness Code
Holiness code
The Holiness Code is a term used in biblical criticism to refer to Leviticus 17-26, and is so called due to its highly repeated use of the word Holy. It has no special traditional religious significance and traditional Jews and Christians do not regard it as having any distinction from any other...

, and Covenant Code
Covenant Code
The Covenant Code, or alternatively Book of the Covenant, is the name given by academics to a text appearing in the Torah at Exodus - . Biblically, the text is the second of the law codes given to Moses by God at Mount Sinai...

). Although this principle of retributive punishment dates back at least to the Code of Hammurabi
Code of Hammurabi
The Code of Hammurabi is a well-preserved Babylonian law code, dating to ca. 1780 BC . It is one of the oldest deciphered writings of significant length in the world. The sixth Babylonian king, Hammurabi, enacted the code, and partial copies exist on a human-sized stone stele and various clay...

, by the 1st century AD it had been superseded by a system of fines, and so several scholars here consider that it is the whole principle of retribution which Jesus is here meant to be discussing, rather than just the lex talionis.

Having made the quotation, Matthew goes on to describe Jesus as saying that one should instead turn the other cheek
Turn the other cheek
Turning the other cheek is a phrase in Christian doctrine that refers to responding to an aggressor without violence. The phrase originates from the Sermon on the Mount in the New Testament.In the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says:...

, and superficially appears to state that one should not resist evil at all, even going so far as to give someone your cloak as well when they sue you for your tunic, and when you are compelled to travel one mile one should go so far as to travel two. Though this dialogue may apparently advocate a radical degree of pacifism
Pacifism
Pacifism is the opposition to war and violence. The term "pacifism" was coined by the French peace campaignerÉmile Arnaud and adopted by other peace activists at the tenth Universal Peace Congress inGlasgow in 1901.- Definition :...

, many Christians reject this interpretation. According to France, the Greek words translated as don't resist have a far more restricted meaning, and should instead be translated as do not resist by legal means.

Love for enemies



The final exposition is on the subject of love
Love (religious views)
Religious views on love vary widely between different religions.-Bahá'í:Bahá'u'lláh, founder of the Bahá'í Faith, taught that God created humans due to his love for them, and thus humans should in turn love God. `Abdu'l-Bahá, Bahá'u'lláh's son, wrote that love is the greatest power in the world of...

. It begins by making a now famous quotation from Leviticus
Leviticus
The Book of Leviticus is the third book of the Hebrew Bible, and the third of five books of the Torah ....

 - love thy neighbour as thyself, also known as the Great Commandment
Great Commandment
The Great Commandment, or Greatest Commandment, is an appellation applied to either the first, or both, of two commandments which appear in , and...

. [Jesus is asked later about who is considered a neighbour and replies with the parable of the good samaritan
Parable of the Good Samaritan
The parable of the Good Samaritan is a parable told by Jesus and is mentioned in only one of the Canonical gospels. According to the Gospel of Luke a traveller is beaten, robbed, and left half dead along the road. First a priest and then a Levite come by, but both avoid the man. Finally, a...

.] Matthew continues the quote to state that it includes "hate thine enemy", which is not actually part of the command in Leviticus. Joy over the death of the wicked is sometimes celebrated in some Old Testament verses such as Psalms 137:9 (see also Imprecatory Psalms
Imprecatory Psalms
Imprecatory Psalms, contained within the Ketuvim of the Hebrew Bible , are those that invoke judgment, calamity, or curses, upon one's enemies or those perceived as the enemies of God...

), but judgement is always ultimately left to God in the Old Testament. Hatred for one's enemies can, however, be found in some of the rules of the Qumran
Qumran
Qumran is an archaeological site in the West Bank. It is located on a dry plateau about a mile inland from the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea, near the Israeli settlement and kibbutz of Kalia...

 community. In the New Testament, passages such as Luke 14:26 have sometimes been interpreted as support for hatred, but further exegesis shows this interpretation to be unsound. See also But to bring a sword
But to bring a sword
"I come not to bring peace, but to bring a sword" , part of the Lesser Commission, is one of the controversial statements reported of Jesus in the Bible. The saying has been interpreted in several ways...

.

God's attitude is contrasted with that of the tax collectors ( — verse 46 — sometimes translated as publicans) and Gentiles ( — verse 47 — but some manuscripts have again). The tax collectors referred to were Jews employed by the Romans to collect taxes on their behalf, sometimes even extorting further funds, and consequently were seen by other Jews as traitors, and criminals, much like debt collectors and some bailiffs are today. These were hence viewed as the lowest of the low, and being no better than them was considered a terrible insult, as was being put on the same level as non-Jews. The basic argument of the allegory is that, since even these despised individuals love their friends and family, then if you love only those who are close to you, you are no better than them, and so, in order to stay above them, one should love enemies.

This exposition, and the whole collection of expositions, culminates with the instruction Be perfect, just as God is perfect. This is literally the Imitatio Dei
Imitatio dei
Imitatio dei is a religious concept by which man finds virtue by attempting to imitate God. It is found in several world religions. In some branches of Christianity, however, it plays a key role.-Christianity:...

— the imitation of God — and also appears in Luke's Sermon on the Plain
Sermon on the Plain
In Christianity, the Sermon on the Plain refers to a set of teachings by Jesus in the Gospel of Luke, in 6:17-49.This sermon may be compared to the longer Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew....

. It originates in the Holiness Code
Holiness code
The Holiness Code is a term used in biblical criticism to refer to Leviticus 17-26, and is so called due to its highly repeated use of the word Holy. It has no special traditional religious significance and traditional Jews and Christians do not regard it as having any distinction from any other...

's fundamental command to be holy because God is holy. Some Christians see a parallel to the Imitation of Christ
Imitation of Christ
In Christian theology, the Imitation of Christ is the practice of following the example of Jesus. In Eastern Christianity the term Life in Christ is sometimes used for the same concept....

.