Preaching the law

The only people Jesus talked “law” with were those who were heavy-handed with the law. He spoke harshly with the Pharisees & the scribes, who were the religious rulers of the day. 


Matt 23:1 Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, 2 saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. 4 For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers”. (NKJV)


Jesus wasn’t trying to get the people (including the Pharisees) to obey laws and rules more. Instead He was showing the Pharisees their hypocrisy for teaching others to keep all the rules while they themselves did poorly at that. Read verse 3-4 above again.


Like many preachers today, these religious rulers were preaching a “watered down” version of the law, making it almost possible for them to be able to obey their own man-made rules! Well have you taken a good look at what the law actually says to people who break the law?


Deut 28:19 Cursed shall you be when you come in, and cursed shall you be when you go out. 21 The LORD will make the plague cling to you until He has consumed you from the land which you are going to possess. 22 The LORD will strike you with consumption, with fever, with inflammation, with severe burning fever, with the sword, with scorching, and with mildew; they shall pursue you until you perish. 23 And your heavens which are over your head shall be bronze, and the earth which is under you shall be iron. 24 The LORD will change the rain of your land to powder and dust; from the heaven it shall come down on you until you are destroyed. 26 Your carcasses shall be food for all the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and no one shall frighten them away. 27 The LORD will strike you with the boils of Egypt, with tumors, with the scab, and with the itch, from which you cannot be healed. 28 The LORD will strike you with madness and blindness and confusion of heart. 29 And you shall grope at noonday, as a blind man gropes in darkness; you shall not prosper in your ways; you shall be only oppressed and plundered continually, and no one shall save you. 30 You shall betroth a wife, but another man shall lie with her; you shall build a house, but you shall not dwell in it; you shall plant a vineyard, but shall not gather its grapes. (NKJV)


Actually the list goes on – take some time to read Deuteronomy 28 from verse 15 onwards. Now if people that still want to preach the law today were to actually preach the law to its full extent, they should be including all these curses as well! If a modern day preacher wanted to preach that you still have to obey the 10 Commandments, they should include in their sermon that all these curses will come on you if you don’t obey God’s laws 100% all of the time!! This is why the Grace message sounds so radical to most people, but actually it is no more radical than the Law as we can clearly see from the above verses. It’s just that the Law has been preached at a reduced level and mixed up with a little bit of Grace. How can we ever think to mix up or “balance” two things that are so different from each other?


The Pharisees and scribes preached that people should live holy, obedient and obey the Law of Moses and they also acted as though they were doing it themselves, but their hearts were full of evil. The Pharisees preached that as long as you didn’t commit the act of adultery, or if you weren’t angry with your brother without a reason, you didn’t break the law. But Jesus then told them that the standard of the Law was actually much higher, and if a person even by accident insulted their brother or entertained a single lustful thought, they were guilty of breaking ALL the other laws as well, and the penalty was death. Jesus then showed them that if they wanted to preach the Law, they should actually preach it to its full extent and also include all the horrifying consequences for breaking even a single law – consequences such as death, having their hands cut off, their eyes plucked out, stoning someone who has sinned, etc. This is what Jesus meant when He made the following statements:


Matt 5:22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. But whoever says, “You fool!” shall be in danger of hell fire. (NKJV)


Matt 5:27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. (NKJV)


But Jesus through the cross made an end to the Law.


Col 2:14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross (NKJV)


He destroyed for ever its constant demands of “correct behavior”, and making us free to live for God because we love Him, and not be cause we fear punishment.


1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. (NKJV)