The Law and Righteousness
In this section of Matthew chapter 5 Jesus has been teaching us that we are children of God and citizens of His kingdom and now answers more questions about the nature of His kingdom. Jesus says He came not to abolish the law but to fulfil it. This was a huge concern to the religious leaders of the time; it was their responsibility to make sure no heresy would pollute the people of God Deuteronomy 13:1-5. They believed that if Jesus had transgressed or broken their law He could not be the messiah. The Jews had two different forms of the Law. First is the written law, or the Old Testament and the prophets, and second the oral law or scribal law. This oral law is the aspects of the law or traditions they had made as men based on the Scriptures. Our Traditions weather good or bad shape our lives. We are a culture that is steeped in tradition, but not all of our traditions are good, some are generational sin. These things include drug addiction, fatherlessness, abuse, but also misinterpretations or misapplication of the law of God. It is very important to know why we keep the traditions that we do. Jesus is saying the entire Bible is important. As Christians we should be reading and applying the word to our lives. Jesus fulfilled every requirement of the law and so we should strive to be like Jesus.
1. How do we stand on the Bible rather than our traditions?
- What traditions do we have that are healthy?
- How have we held tradition over the word of God?
2. Where do our traditions come from?
- Which traditions do we have that are unbiblical?
- In what ways have we become like Pharisees?
- Where do you see generational sin in your family?
Jesus’ righteousness is imputed to us as we keep the law. God’s word is eternal, inspired and should be applied to our lives down to the smallest marking, so the law is still in effect and intact but it cannot give us salvation. It is only through the person and work of Jesus Christ that we obtain this. He came not only as our perfect example, but as the substance of the law and so we still need to keep it John 5:39-40. It's all about Jesus, not just the themes and ideas we take out of scripture. God’s word itself is proven and perfect in every way, and is the only thing that will stand in the end. Anything not done for faith from faith is sin. Living out rules requires no faith. God does not give us a list of do's and don’ts, but a way of living that will give us the most joy and gives Him the greatest glory. If we try to obey God without connecting it to His love, then we have missed it. We become legalistic, enslaving ourselves to an empty Law that accomplishes nothing. Ezekiel 36:26-27 As believers God has given us the Holy Spirit, but we sometimes can get caught up in what we have to do and lose the understanding of the new life we have in the Spirit. We feel obligated to keep the law of God out of duty rather than being driven by the love of Christ. Jesus’ entire ministry here on earth was all about the heart Matthew 5:27-28. He wants our hearts first. He wants us to love Him and love each other. It all starts in our hearts and is lived out through our actions, this is how we show that we love God.
1. Why do we still have to keep the law?
- How do we show that we love God?
2. How are you living by faith or are you?
- What motivates your actions?
- Do you apply scripture to your life?
- How do you need to repent?