Turning the Law into a Way of Living

Laws brings crime and punishment into definition.  Jesus was not into that.  He asked us to find the spirit of the Law and live it out in daily living.

“You have heard that people were told in the past, ‘Do not commit murder; anyone who does will be brought to trial.’  But now I tell you: whoever is angry with his brother will be brought to trial, whoever calls his brother ‘You good-for-nothing!’ will be brought before the Council, and whoever calls his brother a worthless fool will be in danger of going to the fire of hell.”  (Matthew 5:21-22)

Instead of not murdering, Jesus asked us to recognize anger, and to seek reconciliation with our brothers and sisters.  Is this approach harder than not murdering?  Definitely, but seeking reconciliation brings blessings into our lives.

In addition, Jesus told us to do two things as what summarized all of the laws: loving our God with all our hearts, and loving our neighbors selflessly. By looking for the spirit of the law we can love our brothers and sisters more selflessly, and all that was to benefit our spiritual lives.

Heavenly father, thank you for giving us a new life.  May your spirit help us love people as they really are.  Enpower us to free people from hateful prosecutions until your justice extends on Earth as it is in heaven.  Humble us in devotion and worship – glory to our Lord with truth eternal !


Some of Moses’ Laws are Sinful

How can you say that you are wise, and that you know my laws? Look, the laws have been changed by dishonest scribes. Your wise men are put to shame; they are confused and trapped. They have rejected my words; what wisdom have they got now? So I will give their fields to new owners and their wives to other men. Everyone, great and small, tries to make money dishonestly. Even prophets and priests cheat the people. (Jeremiah 8:8-10)

Moses’ Laws contained laws that do not match up to the will of God, but the people are not excused from these errors. Jesus mentioned some people’s hearts have been hardened. (Mark 10:5) Laws under such people’s distortions are unjust and full of spite.

We can also find here that greed is a contributing factor as well. The Hebrew people’s insistence on keeping slaves were a cause of their downfalls.

Against unjust laws we have to rely on Jesus, for he has set us free from the laws of sin and death. In him we can claim our holiness, and nothing in this world can separate us from Jesus.

Follow the Spirit of the Law

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.” (Matthew 23:23, ESV)

Pharisees were Jesus’ opponents who followed the exact wordings of the Hebrew Bible, but lacked compassion for the suffering people. Pharisees were quick to judge, but they elevated themselves above others, and they denied God’s blessing to those they condemn.

Jesus recommended the Pharisees to consider justice, mercy and faithfulness. That could be a very good recommendation for us as well. Who among us have not judged in quickness, or elevated us above the people who we condemned?

To be more just is not to be a better judge, but rather to not judge. Jesus said “Do not judge others, and God will not judge you; forgive others, and God will forgive you.” Each of us may sin, but we also wish to turn away from our mistakes. It would be a blessing to meet someone who can give a helping hand when we are feeling down from our mistakes. Jesus would be able to reach out to us at that moment.

To have more mercy means to have more compassion, to be more life giving and nourishing to those who are lacking or hurting. Jesus was not just willing to have fellowship with a five times divorced woman, but he was willing to give her living water that brings eternal life.

To be faithful to God is not to follow the letters of the Law in the Bible, but to follow the spirit of the Law, which is best summed up as “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind”, and “Love your neighbor as you love yourself”.

If we do all of these, God will give us overflowing blessings more than we can hold. And that is just one of the Good News!

Jesus Fulfilled the Obligations of Old Testament Laws

There are some Christians who sought to bind us to the obligations of Old Testament Laws. Perhaps they thought that they were superior to Christians who were free from these Laws. These Laws served a good purpose; they brought order to a barbaric society in the Bronze Age. However, if we had to be subject to these Laws, then we would risk spiritual death, and suffer guilt and alienation from God.

Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death. Because they have cursed their father or mother, their blood will be on their own head. (Leviticus 20:9)

If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife – with the wife of his neighbor – both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death. (Leviticus 20:10)

If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads. (Leviticus 20:13)

If a man has sexual relations with a woman during her monthly period, he has exposed the source of her flow, and she has also uncovered it. Both of them are to be cut off from their people. (Leviticus 20:18)

The punishments for any of these violations are so harsh that we could call them human sacrifices. The people of their time thought that blood have to be shed to appease the angry land for these violations. Fortunately, Jesus has fulfilled the obligations of the Old Testament Laws. It was Jesus who said “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” (Matthew 9:13)

In Acts chapter 15 the Christian disciples had abolished almost all but just a few of the Laws. Peter said that the Law was a burden that the disciples nor their ancestors could carry successfully. Paul and Barnabas described that non-Jews were becoming followers of Christ, and there were no distinctions between the Jewish believers and the non-Jewish believers, for they all received the gift of Holy Spirit. The disciples finally did away with the burdens of the Law because they found confidence in Christ.

Jesus had talked about the issue of Laws in his ministry. He taught us the principles of following the spirit of the Law in his Sermon on the Mount. Prohibitions and punishments have been turned into a way of daily living. He also pointed out two principles as being fundamental: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” And also: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22) These principles should be safe, since they were from our Lord who we trust.

Also be sure that by following Jesus faithfully we will be made pure, as people who belong to him alone and eager to do good. (Titus 2:14) That is also a good news!