Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Law & grace, an uneven match? (3)

Thank you all for reading along, it makes it more fun for me to do this kind of series on my blog. Studying the Bible and offering a fresh insight on ancient truths. 

In the previous post we saw  how Jesus says about Himself that He came to make the teachings come true, to fulfill the law. I think we (Christianity, the church, the believers) have made the mistake in thinking this was a one time event, kind of a finished chapter. Law being replaced by grace. It is finished, right? But if we continue to read what Jesus has to say about it, we get a totally different picture. In the fifth chapter of Matthew He further explains what 'fulfilling the law' means for every believer.

For example verse 21 and 22, Jesus says: You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Jesus says 'but I tell you...' The Good News translation says 'but now I tell you...' Is Jesus speaking against the law of God? Is He contradicting the words of His Father? That cannot be so.

He gives many examples, as in verse 27 and 28, You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Again Jesus says, 'but I tell you...' In other words: He announces a new area. He does not dismiss the law, but He shows the way the law should work in our hearts. He shows how we should go from obeying or keeping the law (living by the letter) to giving meaning to or fulfilling the law (living by the Spirit). It is no longer about a mere outer sign of obedience but about the inner condition of our heart.

Jesus teaches many valuable lessons in these first few chapters of Matthew to show people what will change with His coming. And then suddenly He comes with the most excellent summary of His long speech about law and grace, in one single sentence. Matthew 7:12,

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

The Good News translation says: because this is the meaning of the Law and the Prophets. Wow, treating other the way we want to be treated, that is the heart of the law, that is the full meaning, that is the fulfillment of the law. How simple can it be? We do not have to choose between law and grace, Jesus brought them together in a new way of life and so they come together in the life of every believer.

Maybe you have never seen it this way, or maybe you have learned it differently. Maybe you are thinking: 'Well Marja, only Jesus could fulfill the law because He was without sin. We could never do it...'
That, we will discuss in the next post.

Thank you for reading along, and please share these posts with someone who might need to hear this.


  1. As always you present truth like a crisp piece of fruit! Thanks, Marja.


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