(NET) Matt 5:19 So anyone who breaks one of the least of these commands and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever obeys them and teaches others to do so will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness goes beyond that of the experts in the law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
There are some commentators who says it signifies exclusion from the kingdom of heaven, ie. hell; whereas some argue that they remain in kingdom as least, meaning they remain saved in heaven. Which one is accurate? Is Christ giving a provision for small sins here or giving no provision at all?
For example, Daniel Whedon commentary:
Many of the best commentators understand this as signifying that he shall be excluded. Yet such, surely, is not its exact meaning. Clearly to be least IN the kingdom of heaven is far less than shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament mentions:
He is not to be excluded (as Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Calovius, Wolf, Bengel, and others have misinterpreted the meaning of ἐλάχ. κληθ.), because his antinomianism is not a principle, not directed against the law as such, but only against individual precepts of the law, which in themselves are small, and whose importance as a whole he does not recognise
Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament
Mat 5:19. Αύσῃ, shall break) The antithetical word to this is ποιήσῃ, shall do, which occurs further on in this verse. The Scribes, who thought themselves “great,” were in the habit of breaking them. The same verb, λύω, occurs in Joh 7:23; Joh 10:35.—τούτων, of these) those, namely, which follow in Mat 5:22; Mat 5:28, etc.—τῶν ἐλαχίστων, of the least) These precepts, “Thou shalt not kill,” etc., are not essentially the least, for in them the whole law is contained. But they are so only inasmuch as, when rightly explained, they regulate even the most subtile affections and emotions of the soul, and the slightest movements of the tongue, and thus, when compared with other precepts, appear to men to be the least.—ἐλάχιστος, least) Referring to the preceding ἐλαχίστων. An instance of Ploce. As we treat the Word of God, so does God treat us; see Joh 17:6; Joh 17:11; Rev 3:10. “A little” signifies “almost nothing,” whence “the least” comes to mean “none at all” (for they considered anger, for instance, as of no consequence whatever); cf. in Mat 5:20, “ye shall not enter.” ἐλάχιστος; has a different force in this passage from that which ὁ μικρότερος (the least) “in the kingdom of heaven” has in ch. Mat 11:11.—ἐν τῂ βασιλείᾳ τὼν οὐρανῶν, in the kingdom of heaven) which cannot endure the presence of the unrighteous.—ποιήσῃ καὶ διδάξῃ, shall do and teach) The same order of words occurs in Act 1:1.—ποιήσῃ, shall do them, sc. all; for it is not lawful to break or neglect even one of them.—οὗτος, this man, he) A pronoun used emphatically. Comp. with this use of οὗτος, ch. Mat 7:21 (Latin Version); Luk 9:24; Joh 7:18.—μέγας, great) All the commandments are of great account to him, especially in their full compass (see Mat 5:18); therefore he shall be called great.