Divine Declaration – Matthew 5:17-20
His Mission – Matthew 5:17-19: “I came…to fulfill.”
What an amazing statement! When we hear Jesus Christ speak, we should remove our shoes as if we are standing on holy ground, and strip every careless, commonsense attitude from our minds. In Jesus, we deal with God as man, the God-Man, the representative of the whole human race in one Person. The men of His day traced their religious pedigree back to the nature of God, and this young Nazarene carpenter said, “I am the nature of God.” So to them He was blasphemous.
Our Lord makes himself the exact meaning and fulfillment of all Old Testament prophecy. His mission, He says, is to fulfill the Law and the Prophets. He further says that any person who breaks the old laws (because they belong to a former dispensation) and teaches other people to break them as well, will suffer severe impoverishment.
If the old commandments were difficult, our Lord’s principles are unbelievably more difficult. Everything He teaches is impossible unless He can put into us His Spirit and remake us from within. The Sermon on the Mount is quite unlike the Ten Commandments in the sense of its being absolutely unworkable-unless Jesus Christ can remake us.
There are teachers who argue that the Sermon on the Mount supersedes the Ten Commandments, and that-“because we are not under law but under grace” (Romans 6:15)-it does not matter whether we honor our father and mother, whether we covet, or so on.
To be “not under law but under grace” does not mean that we can do as we like. It is surprising how easily we can wriggle out of Jesus Christ’s principles by one or two pious sayings repeated often. The only safeguard against this is to keep personally related to God. The secret of all spiritual understanding is to walk in the light-not the light of our convictions or our own theories, but the light of God (1 John 1:7).
- What does “not under law but under grace” mean to you?
- How has Jesus remade you?
Lord, we ask You now that You would look down upon Your children and send us Your mercy and grace so that we might be made worthy of Your calling.
The very context of Romans 6 shows that the apostle Paul is exasperated by those who would say that the law is of no consequence for us. Later, Paul writes “the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Gal. 3:24).