I read these words of Jesus in my bible this morning; “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5: 17-20
Ok, so Jesus came to fulfill the law. Right-O. Wait, if we don’t follow the law we are going to be the least? What? Does that mean I can’t eat bacon or clean my house on Sunday?
Jesus’ words seem to contrast with Paul’s in Romans 6:14 “For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.”
So…. which is it?
I believe this is one instance where you have to take in different scriptures to get the full picture.
According to Jesus, the most important commands were about love- loving God and people. Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40
“For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:14
Jesus rejected the Pharisees because they were so enthusiastic about following the law but they missed the entire point of it all. They strained out a gnat but swallowed a camel! They were self-righteous and hypocritical. They loved religion because it elevated them and gave them a false sense of security. They hated Jesus because he came and uprooted the whole system. He broke down all the pompous-ness and ceremony and refined it down to love. The easiest and the hardest command to follow.
So the question remains, how do we follow the law in keeping with how Jesus seemed to define it?
It is all about a supernatural love. A divine love.
“But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” Galatians 5:18
It is a process of yielding and abiding. We can not follow God properly in our own strength. We either get defeated and give up or turn into modern day Pharisees. We need to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.” Romans 8:14
If we are walking in the Spirit we will naturally follow God’s ways. It’s pretty simple. For example- many times I have started reading an article and gotten a bad feeling (like I shouldn’t be reading it) if I ignore the warning and read it anyways I soon find out why I shouldn’t be reading it, and regret it. Same with watching movies. I’m sure many can relate!
The more we allow the Holy Spirit to guide us the easier and more natural it is to follow. We always get the awesome benefits of joy and peace. Yes, please!
Is there anything that blocks the Holy Spirit from working in our lives? The Bible tells us to not ‘quench the Holy Spirit’. I believe we quench the Spirit when we refuse to deal with bitterness, unforgiveness, or a besetting sin that we allow to steal our testimony.
“My Spirit will not strive with man forever”….
God gives us time to sort through and get those things right. But the more we refuse the more de-sensitized we become to his gentle leadership.
We need to lay our hearts bare before the Lord and pray like David, “Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”
A.K.A. Deal with junk in your life/heart that is blocking God from working freely. This is absolutely, critically important and you will not grow a single bit if you don’t.
Everything we need to live life victoriously as a Christian flows out of being led by the Spirit.
Don’t get anxiety if you don’t know if you are filled with the Spirit. Jesus said he would never reject any who come to him (John 6:37), he wants to come in to your heart (Rev. 3:20) and He isn’t far from any of us (Acts 17:27).
“The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so……But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Romans 8:17 & Galatians 5:22-23
So in closing, don’t get bogged down in details. Stay connected to God. Love the person in front of you. Be kind. Be a peacemaker. Be humble. Be teachable. Follow the Spirit’s leadings. In doing that you are fulfilling the law of Grace, and reaching the World around you.