There is no heaven with a little of hell in it,” George MacDonald wrote. God is determined to make you pure and holy and right. Not for one second will he allow you to escape the scrutiny of the Holy Spirit.

Do you remember when the Holy Spirit convicted you? He urged you to come to judgment right away, but you didn’t listen, and the inevitable process began to unfold. Now you are in prison, and you won’t get out until you’ve paid the last penny (Matthew 5:25–26).

“Is this a God of mercy and love?” you ask. From God’s point of view, his actions are a glorious ministry of love. His goal is to make you pure and undefiled. But first, he wants you to recognize the disposition you’ve been showing. He wants you to see that you’ve been insisting on your right to yourself. The moment you agree to let God change your disposition, his re-creating forces will begin to work. Once you realize God’s purpose, which is to get you rightly related to him and then to your fellow human beings, he will tax the last limits of the universe to help you take the right road.

“You will not get out . . .” The warning Jesus issues here, in the Sermon on the Mount, points us toward the right road, calling to our conscience. Every moral call has a “should” behind it, an element that speaks to the will and the conscience, not to the intellect. If you dispute the Sermon on the Mount with your head, you will weaken its appeal to your heart.

If your relationship to God seems stuck, ask yourself, Have I done everything my conscience is telling me to do? Have I paid my debts from God’s standpoint? If not, say to the Lord, “I’ll write that apology tonight. I’ll reconcile with that person now.” Do now what you will have to do someday, and your relationship with God will be set right.

Wisdom from Oswald

There is no allowance whatever in the New Testament for the man who says he is saved by grace but who does not produce the graceful goods. Jesus Christ by His Redemption can make our actual life in keeping with our religious profession.
Studies in the Sermon on the Mount