Summary: Jesus’ teaching on the Law of God served to make clear the true meaning of righteousness.
The Meaning Of Righteousness Part 1
Jesus And The Law
Matthew 5:3-12 Jesus talked about the character of believers
Matthew 5:13-16 Jesus taught about the function of believers as salt and light in the world.
Matthew5:17-20 Jesus gives the foundation for the inner character qualities and the function of believers. That foundation is the Word of God. The Law of God.
The question that Jesus deals with here is a question of contemporary importance.
Here is the question: Is there an absolute basis for truth, for law, for morals, for right and wrong?
“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18“For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19“Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
20“For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus Taught That The Law Of God Remains Forever Authoritative
According to Jesus, there is an absolute basis for truth and law and right and wrong and that is the law of God.
Notice that he in verse 17 he said, “do not think”. Jesus did not follow the traditions that the church leaders had set up so the thought was that he was disregarding the law.
“vs. 17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18“For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19“Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
The religious leaders of Jesus’ day focused on the external aspects of religion. They talked about ceremonies, rituals and outward acts of religion, but Jesus focused on the heart.
Unable to keep the laws demands,they established traditions that were easier to obey, rituals that were complicated and involved BUT they were within the bounds of human accomplishment. Their rules and traditions were things that a man could do in his human strength and resource. They were tedious and dull and lifeless,burdensome, BUT do-able.
Most Jews in Jesus’ day had the idea that rabbinic instructions followed the proper interpretation of the Law of Moses.
Jesus disregarded these man made traditions causing some to have the mistaken idea that he was disregarding the law which of course was incorrect.
In this statement what Jesus does establish is that the Law of God is always valid,true and authoritative.
Notice what he said, “…the Law or the Prophets”. When Jesus used the term “law and the prophets” he meant everything in the Old Testament.
It is God’s Word . He Wrote The Law.
1Then God spoke all these words, saying,
2“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
3“You shall have no other gods before Me.
The Law of God was composed of three parts.
Moral Law was to regulate behavior for all men this is based on the Ten Commandment.
Judicial Law (civil law)pertained to Israel’s operation as a unique nation as a theocracy.
Ceremonial Law pertained to the structure and practice of Israel’s worship of God.
“So He declared to you His covenant which He commanded you to perform, that is, the Ten Commandments; and He wrote them on two tablets of stone. 14“The LORD commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that you might perform them in the land where you are going over to possess it.
When the prophets came along, they preached the Law of God. They called Israel to return to simple obedience to God’s moral, civil andceremonial law.
Jesus is saying that Law remains valid . It remains forever authoritative.
This is taught throughout the scriptures.
7 The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul;
The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
8 The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.