Matthew – God’s Purpose, God’s Law
God’s Laws were given so that people would learn how to love Him first and then love others they way He loved us. They were given by God for His expressed purpose to protect his created and to keep them focused on Him. But, somehow over the ages, humans began writing addendums to God’s Law. Mankind decided he can improve what God put in motion. And that’s where the trouble begins.
God’s Law became corruptly translated and grossly twisted so that certain leaders could have and retain self-given power over God’s people. For example, if you drag a chair across a dirt floor on any given Sabbath day, you were charged with “work” because you furrowed the ground for possible planting. Wait, what?! Yes, this is only one example of many “laws” that plague God’s people.
God’s people were not only under the tyranny of the Roman Empire, but they were also under the tyranny of their religion. Then Jesus came…not to abolish God’s original Law of God’s best for His people, but to fulfill and explain the full extent of God’s Love and Law which leads to incredible relationship with God!
The “Sermon on the Mount”, as we call it, does just that. God’s One and Only Son, who is a part of God in a man’s body, (fully God and fully man) explains God’s purpose in His Law and how and why Jesus came to fulfill what God had intended for His created.
Christ Fulfills the Law
17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. 19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
Murder Begins in the Heart
21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. 23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. 26 Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny.
Adultery in the Heart
27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.
Marriage Is Sacred and Binding
31 “Furthermore it has been said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.
Jesus Forbids Oaths
33 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’ 34 But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.
Go the Second Mile
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. 41 And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.
Love Your Enemies
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
FROM THE HEART…
When you look at God’s Law from God’s perspective, through His eyes of unconditional, relentless love for His created, you see the Law in a different Light. You understand it in a deeper, driven by love, perspective. God wants a relationship with us that comes from a place of surrender of all our love for Him who loved us first.
God’s Law, (NOT unwritten and written churchy rules about things not of God’s Word) is simple, not easy, but simple. Love God with all your heart, mind and soul. Love others they way HE loves us.
Do we still have “addendums” to God’s Law in God’s church that we try to enforce that serve only the people who are in charge to keep being in charge?
Who is in charge?
Who should be in charge? Who drives God’s church?
Are our man-made laws and directives driven by God’s unconditional love and care for His own?
These are real questions we should ask and ponder so that we do not fall into the habit and behaviors of Pharisees. The devil uses this power trip to trip people up in their faith. He has done it since Adam and will continue to use it. Beware.
Will we be perfect in the eyes of man or even us? No, but we are perfectly forgiven because of God’s love for us. When we repent we enter into a perfect relationship with our forgiving God. To be “perfect” is to be in relationship with our Perfect God who perfects us through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ. Only by His blood, are we free to be in relationship with the One and Only God.
Dear Heavenly Father,
We are thankful that You sent Jesus to show and tell us what the intent of your Law really means and how to live it. There is nothing hidden or misunderstood in these words. Thank you for saving us from ourselves and the sins we have committed. Thank you for helping us to see Your Law through your eyes of love. Now, help us to live it by your power and love working in and through us.
In Jesus Name, Amen