Bible Study: Insights on the Sermon on the Mount: Law and Grace

Scenes from the Life of ChristBy the previous illustrations of salt and light in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus was letting His followers know that they should spend themselves and reveal Christ to the rest of the world, to all who would look upon the city on the hill. In the portion of Matthew 5:17-20, Jesus tells the crowd about Himself and that He fulfilled the Law. He is letting the people know that He is bringing a new covenant with Him, and giving it to them.

What is the forewarning here and how did Jesus fulfill the Law?

Living by the Law

If you are going to deny Jesus is who He says He is, that He isn’t the Messiah prophesied about, that He really didn’t come to fulfill the Law, that Mosaic Law is still in order, then you must keep the law. You had better be perfect, or you will never see Heaven. In other words, forget it. Listen.

Just in case you were thinking about sticking with the Law and denying Jesus, in case you thought highly of yourself and your ability to keep the Law, Jesus is about to point out two of commandments that were rarely broken. Men, by the way, most likely broke these two commandments before women. We will examine them soon.

Living by Grace

First, Jesus is telling the people there is no more need for sacrifice. The profundity of His words would be immense to the Jews. The sacrifice of the Pascal Lamb, briefly noted before, was significant in pointing to Christ. Jesus sealed the sacrifice Himself as the final Passover Lamb. Some people may have looked back at the Sermon on the Mount after His resurrection, finally grasping His words.

Law and GraceJesus fulfilled the Law because He became the sacrificial lamb, the peace offering, the burnt offering. He gave His people rest, fulfilling the Sabbath Law. The law condemns and has no power to save. None. The Cross fulfilled the righteousness of God’s holy law. And Jesus fulfilled 300 prophecies from the OT.

Consider, after the Cross, some 70 years later, the Temple was destroyed and those choosing to follow the Law over Christ were denied! The sacrifices ended. How did His people miss this?

Scribe and Pharisees

Even so, I want you to know the scribes and Pharisees were not all bad. It was their job to read and interpret the law to the people. Since the Babylonian captivity, the Hebrew language was all but lost. These religious leaders studied Hebrew, kept the language alive and lived by every detail of the law and taught the Jews. Some just did not understand that Jesus fulfilled it and had a hard time letting go. Many refused to yield their powerful positions.

Most did not have the welfare of the people in mind. Jesus was in conflict with these men because He disagreed with what the people were being taught. He came to fulfill and set free and consequently ushered us into the Church Age, completing the days of the Law and the Prophets.

Murder and Adultery

In verses 21-30 Jesus breaks down the above in more detail, using murder and adultery as examples. These were two things that most people were not guilty of, but with Jesus’ new standard, the bar is raised. He shows us that indeed we are all guilty.

According to Jesus, what does one have to do to be guilty of murder now, in Christ’s eyes? All we have to do is to be angry with another. Who hasn’t done that? Sin begins in the mind. He is saying that even calling someone a fool is a sign of anger, and our anger can condemn us. Not only this, but we have to be reconciled, or our offerings or “good works” are useless.

Jesus was also revealing that the religious leaders were hypocrites, parading around their good works while denying the people care and welfare. They would be accountable. All of their good works could never cover their offenses.

What does one have to do to be guilty of adultery in Christ’s eyes? Lust. Jesus says it would be better to pluck out our eyes than to keep them, keep sinning and perish eternally. Who isn’t guilty of lust?

Choosing two commandments that were less broken by the majority and expanding them would find those of us who thought we were pure found guilty under the law.

What does one have to do to be guilty of adultery in Christ’s eyes? Lust. Jesus says it would be better to pluck out our eyes than to keep them, keep sinning and perish eternally. Who isn’t guilty of lust?

Choosing two commandments that were less broken by the majority and expanding them would find those of us who thought we were pure found guilty under the law. Therefore, Jesus shows us we all have need for His sacrifice.

Written by Jori Sams

 

 

Mosaic Law

 

Inspirational Blog

Jori Sams is a Christian author and freelance writer with nearly 2000 published pieces on the Internet, with over 1500 being published by Yahoo. Her books are published through Writeious Books. When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her following the sun… 

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