Our study of the sacrificial system is coming to a close by months end. Hopefully, those who have had the chance to join in, will walk away with a deeper appreciation for Christ’s work on the cross. Next month, Joe will begin guiding us through a study about the redemptive plan of God, looking at prophecy and how it pointed to that very work that Christ would do for sinful man. Booklets will be provided for everyone and I hope you make plans to be a part of this class.
As I pondered what to write about this week, my attention was drawn to some things Jesus taught concerning the Mosaic law, which includes the ten commandments (also known as the Decalogue). For instance, in Matthew 5:21we read, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.” Of course, Jesus is making reference to the old law; more specifically, the sixth commandment of the Decalogue (Exodus 20:13; Deuteronomy 5:17). Again, in Matthew 5:27 He says, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery’ (Exodus 20:14; Deuteronomy 5:18). Similar words are used in Matthew 5:33, 38 and 43. The Old Law, especially the ten commandments, in the eyes of men, could be seen as obtainable; because one would only be looking at the outside (conduct) of a person. James Coffman says it this way, “A person might indeed keep the letter of it without being in any sense at all truly righteous in the eyes of God.” Why? Because the outside did not necessarily agree with what was going on inside. Jesus would elevate His teachings in a very powerful way.
But I say to you… (Matthew 5:22, 28, 32, 34, 39, 44)
Jesus seeks to draw their (our) attention inward, saying things like, “…whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment” (v22) and “…whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (v28). This idea is repeated as He talks about divorce, oaths, and even how we treat our enemies. Jesus is challenging man to look inside! I believe this is exactly what Jesus did in John 8:1-12, as some scribes and Pharisees brought an adulterous woman before Him. Seeking to use the Mosaic Law to condemn her and discredit Jesus, Jesus merely turns the table, saying to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first” (John 8:7). Looking within, each one turned and walked away, unable to stand on their own righteousness.
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us,
that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
2nd Corinthians 5:21
Praise be to God that our righteousness comes from Christ and His sufficient work on the cross. That being said, we should heed to teachings of Christ, acknowledging that He wants us to be transformed within, because He knows (and we do as well), “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34). Let’s daily give Jesus our hearts so we can be transformed. It is the least we can do, since He has given us His righteousness.