Notes: August 14, 2009

“The Law And The Gospel”

Whether you like it or not, not everyone believes in the same God. Ask Woody Allen, Richard Branson, Lance Armstrong or any of the number of fanatics who would fly 747’s into the World Trade Center again if it were possible. Even among those who profess to believe in the same God, there is a world of difference in the message that God has sent to earth. Today those who use the Bible as their standard of faith and practice disagree whether Man is saved because he keeps the Law, or as long as he keeps the Law, or so that he will keep the Law, or even though he does not keep the Law, or precisely because he cannot keep the Law. What did Jesus say?

Matthew 5:17-20

  • Jesus did not come to destroy the scriptures, “the law and the prophets.”
  • Jesus came to fulfill the law and the prophets, the scriptures.
  • The world won’t end until every little letter (“jot”) and significant part of a letter (“tittle”) be fulfilled.
  • Whoever breaks the least commandment and teaches others to do so, too, will be considered the least.
  • Whoever keeps the least commandment and teaches others to do so, too, will be considered great.
  • The scribes and Pharisees have a measure of righteousness (and that righteousness is based upon the Law of God)
  • Your righteousness must exceed their righteousness (which is based upon the Law of God).
  • You will not enter into the kingdom of heaven if your righteousness does not exceed the Pharisaical righteousness (which is based upon the Law of God).

Meditation Points:

  1. Numbers of people not only think but also preach that Jesus came to destroy the Law. Their preaching of love, love, love leaves no room for the absolute morality of the scriptures nor for man’s responsibility to be holy.
  2. Some teaching on eschatology would have Jesus destroy the prophets, too.
  3. If Jesus obeyed the Law, are we then free to live as we please?
  4. Are some commandments more important than others?
  5. Teaching others to follow our sinful example makes our sin more heinous.
  6. The Pharisees are not faulted for having gone too far; they are faulted for not having gone far enough!
  7. And, lest you think that this understanding is off base, read the rest of Matthew 5 and you will see that Jesus uses 6 different scriptures to prove that the Pharisees didn’t really understand the law that they cherished so dearly. Theirs was a strictly literal interpretation of scriptures; and Jesus requires a broad, spiritual understanding of the scriptures.

More tomorrow and Sunday…