When you hear “Sermon on the Mount,” I imagine your mind goes right to the Beatitudes:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit ….. Blessed are those who mourn ….. Blessed are the meek ….. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness ….. Blessed are the merciful ….. Blessed are the pure in heart ….. Blessed are the peacemakers ….. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness ….. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” – Matthew 5:3-12 NIV
My challenge is to go to verses 17-18:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” – Matthew 5:17-18 NIV
Does the LAW of Moses still stand, just as it did before JESUS came to earth to fulfill it? If it does, what does that mean to us today? Are we still bound by the old laws, the Ten Commandments and the regulations as given by Moses to the Israelites? I am not a Bible scholar, by any stretch, so I rely heavily on the knowledge and information I can glean and learn from others. In my study today, I found some great information in a post written by Pastor Jim McClarty titled “Jot and Tittle.” For a more indepth study, go to Grace Christian Assembly.org.
I think Pastor McClarty clarifies this point quite well.
The New Testament tells us that attempting to seek justification before God by keeping any part of the law automatically makes us responsible to keep the entire law (Gal. 5:3, 3:10, James 2:10). You cannot pick and choose. You will either stand before God and be judged by the law, or you will be established in the righteousness that comes by faith (Rom. 3:22, Gal. 5:5). But, you cannot mix and match.
In other words, if you want God to accept you on the basis of your actions – like tithing, Sabbath-keeping, etc. – then you had also better be killing animals every time you sin. That’s the law. And, it’s an all-or-nothing proposition.
Whenever JESUS refers to “the Law and the prophets,” He isn’t just saying “the LAW.” The phrasing is critical here: “The LAW and the prophets” was His reference to what we now know as the Old Testament; the only “Testament” available at the time. JESUS CHRIST is the fulfillment of “the Law and the prophets.” When JESUS spoke the words in verse 18, everything had not yet been accomplished because His Blood had not yet been shed; He had not yet been hung on the cross and killed as the ultimate and final sacrifice for our sins. Only after He was raised from the dead and had ascended into Heaven to rejoin the FATHER was the everything of “the law and the prophets” fulfilled. If we believe that we must live a certain way, or follow the old laws, then aren’t we negating His very sacrifice and death? When we insist that we must submit to some kind of man-required penance or that we justify our salvation through our works, aren’t we saying that His sacrifice wasn’t enough?
As Christians, when we accept CHRIST as our LORD and SAVIOUR, we are not bound by the Law of Moses but we are bound by the Words of JESUS.
And [JESUS] said to him, “You shall love the LORD your GOD with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the Great and First Commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” – Matthew 22:37-40 ESV
Here’s the distinction: Under the Law of Moses, you are expected to keep every Jot and Tittle [the smallest letter, the least stroke of a pen] of the Law, including the sacrifice of animals in order to cover your sins with their blood. It’s an ongoing proposition, requiring constant supervision and intervention by the priests in the Temple. Under the NEW Law, the Law of JESUS CHRIST as LORD, His death on the cross is a once-and-done deal! Under Him, we are freed from the burdens of constant guilt and worry, and here’s the best part: even though we aren’t held to the strictures of the Law and the prophets, Moses’ Law, when we truly submit to the LOVE of our LORD, it becomes our desire to please Him by keeping HIS Commandments: First, to Love the LORD our GOD with all of our heart, soul, an mind, and second, to love our neighbor as ourself.
Where do you stand? Freed under CHRIST, or captive to the Law of Moses?
I am FREE, Once-And-Done; All-Or-Nothing – HALLELUJAH and AMEN!