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The second major statement by Jesus given in the exact same context makes it even clearer that Jesus did not come to destroy, rescind, nullify or abrogate the law. With these words, Jesus likened the continuance of the law to the permanence of heaven and earth.


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The value He places on the commandments of God is also unmistakable —as well as the high esteem toward the law that He requires from all those who teach in His name. It is in this way that the true ministers of Christ are to be identified—by their following the example He left them John John For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. With the next statement in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus leaves no doubt as to what He meant in the previous three declarations.

Who were the scribes and Pharisees? The scribes were the most renowned teachers of the law—the interpreters of the law, the learned men, the experts. The Pharisees, a related group, were commonly viewed as the most exemplary models of Judaism. They formed a sect of Judaism that established a code of morals and rituals more rigid than that spelled out in the law of Moses, basing much of their practices on years of traditions. The scribes and Pharisees were both highly strict and highly respected in Judaism Acts Acts Which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most strait sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.

While the scribes were the experts, the Pharisees professed the purest practice of righteousness. The Pharisees were looked up to as those who had attained the very pinnacle of personal righteousness, and the common people supposed that such heights of spirituality were far beyond their reach.

In actual fact, there was a real problem with the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees. The heart of the matter was that their righteousness was defective in that it was external only. These self-appointed religious teachers emphasized minor aspects of the law while neglecting more important issues. For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith.


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In some situations they actually elevated their traditions above the clear commands of God Matthew Matthew 1 Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, 2 Why do your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? Thus have you made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. Behind their actions was the base motive of self-exaltation and self-interest. They went public with what should have been their private devotions toward God—prayer, fasting and giving alms—all so they could be seen and thought of by others as righteous Matthew Matthew 1 Take heed that you do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise you have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.

Truly I say to you, They have their reward.

The Law of Christ

Jesus taught what should have been obvious, that the intent of the Sixth Commandment was not just to prohibit the literal act of murder, but every evil attitude of heart and mind that led to murder—including unjust anger and contemptuous words Matthew Matthew 21 You have heard that it was said of them of old time, You shall not kill; and whoever shall kill shall 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 shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whoever shall say, You fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

In this passage He is not pitting Himself against the Mosaic law, nor is He claiming a superior spirituality. What He was doing was refuting the wrong interpretations perpetuated by the scribes and Pharisees. Jesus was restoring, in the minds of His listeners, the Mosaic precepts to their original place, purity and power.

Teaching God's sovereign and free grace

For a better understanding of these laws, request or download your free copy of the booklet The Ten Commandments. It should also be obvious that because the same God is the Author of Old and New Covenant alike, there can be no vital conflict between them, and that the fundamental laws of morality underlying both must be and are in full accord. Some argue that Jesus annulled all of the Ten Commandments but that nine were reinstituted in the New Testament—all except the Sabbath.

This was His regular practice. Where many people jump to wrong conclusions about Jesus and the Sabbath is in His confrontations with the scribes and Pharisees. Yet these confrontations were never over whether to keep the Sabbath—only over how it should be kept. For example, Jesus boldly challenged the Jews concerning their interpretation of Sabbath observance by performing healings on the Sabbath Mark Mark 1 And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand.

But they held their peace. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go; 5 And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day? According to the Pharisees, rendering medical attention to someone, unless it were a matter of life and death, was prohibited on the Sabbath. If so, why does He seem to depart from it sometimes? This helpful book from Pastor Charles Leiter is an attempted answer to these questions.

Law of Christ Definition and Meaning - Bible Dictionary

He addresses the issue in three parts. He concludes that all Old Testament history and promise culminates in Christ, and he presents several rules for Bible interpretation derived from this fact. Part Three is concerned with two ideas. The book ends with several appendices, meant to address various important topics not discussed in the main text.

Having Peace Like a River - John Dees (Phil. 4:6-7)

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