Matt 5:17-20 Sermon on the Mount Continued
In previous chapters Jesus told His followers the law should not come between Him and them- They follow HIM above the law (Luke 9:57 ).
Therefore the disciples are tempted to divorce God from His laws. They believed the NEW has come and the OLD has been done away with. However, it is not the law that is done away with- it is the old covenant.
“For Christians, therefore, the law is not a “better law” than that of the Pharisees, but one and the same; every letter of it…must remain in force and be observed….but there is a “better righteousness” which is expected of Christians.”
Jesus came to fulfill the law and he did that.
He is now the bridge between the disciple and the law.
He is the difference between the Pharisees/scribes and the Disciples. Both follow the law but only one has a relationship with the Savior who fulfilled every letter of that law.
“It was the error of Israel to put the law in God’s place, to make the law their God and their God a law.”
We can take good things (like the law) and make them into Idols, taking God out of them. That is what the Jews did, the Pharisees. The Disciples were told not to do that.
Regarding the law, Bonhoeffer says: “God is its giver and its Lord, and only in personal communion with God is the law fulfilled. There is no fulfillment of the law apart from communion with God, and no communion with God apart from fulfillment of the law. To forget the first condition was the mistake of the Jews, and to forget the second the temptation of the disciples.”
Bonhoeffer goes on to say, “It is Jesus himself who comes between the disciples and the law, not the law which comes between Jesus and the disciples. They find their way to the law through the cross of Christ.”
Just because Jesus fulfilled the law does not mean the disciples are free to ignore the law- after all we are saved by grace- but we are to follow them as He did.
Therefore we have a “better righteousness”. One that exceeds that of the scribes.
“He is the righteousness of the disciples. By calling them he has admitted them to partnership with himself, and made them partakes of his righteousness in its fullness.”
Our salvation is a gift. We cannot earn it.
Christ calls, we follow HIM. And He followed the law. Therefore we too must follow the law, all the while having confidence that when we fail, we have a high priest who has fulfilled that which we never can. His perfect blood is the bridge between God and the law.
We cannot divorce the two.
“Only the doer of the law can remain in communion with Jesus….It is not enough to teach the law of Christ, it must be done, otherwise it is no better than the old law.”
1. Do you see Christians divorce God from the Law? Picking and choosing which laws to follow and which to toss aside as unnecessary and OLD? (Which to rationalize)
2. Does this chapter help you understand how to bridge the gap between fulfilling the laws and the grace we have in following Christ?
3. What are your thoughts and/or concerns with following the law but not becoming like the scribes?
4. Are we (the church) in danger of being like Israel and replacing fellowship with God for the idol of following the laws?