Over the past couple of weeks at church, we have been making our way through the Sermon on the Mount. We began with the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12), followed by a study on being ‘salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16).’ Just this evening, I finished preparing for tomorrow’s sermon on Matthew 5:17-20, Jesus’ mission statement regarding the law of Moses and the writings of the prophets.
This particular passage of the Sermon on the Mount is deeply personal to me, as it has been a subject that has been “in my face” for a long time. The exact circumstances as to how and why I came to dive headfirst into the topic are unimportant; what is important is that I wanted to make sure that when the time came to touch upon this topic from the pulpit, that I did so with as much of an objective understanding of the Scriptures regarding law as possible.
One of the biggest misconceptions that people have about those of us who hold to the Gospel of grace as being superior to the law of Moses is that we are then ‘lawless.’ Such talk implies that, believing ourselves no longer bound to obedience to the law, we consider God’s grace as a ‘license to sin’.
This, of course, is foolishness. As Paul wrote in Romans 6:15 - "Well then, since God’s grace has set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning? Of course not!"
I won’t go into a discourse on law here, other than to say that the tension between law and grace was significant even in the 1st century church. One cannot read many passages of the New Testament without encountering the contentious topic again and again. There are many books, articles, websites, commentaries, etc. written on the subject, but the Bible speaks best for itself. If you’re interested in learning more what the law controversy is all about, I encourage you to start with Acts 15, Romans, and Galatians.
I’ll close with one short verse that speaks my heart so concise, yet so eloquently:
"But I do not ignore the law of God; I obey the law of Christ." – 1 Corinthians 9:21b
Love In Christ,