Kingdom Life Now
Part 2

“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill… For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
— Matthew 5:17, 20 NKJV

   Jesus says, “Contrary to popular belief, I have not come to do away with the law.”  He is not here, merely talking about the 10 commandments, but the Law, meaning the first five books of the Old Testament written by Moses. The Prophets, were the rest of the Old Testament books. Jesus, says rather, I’ve come to fulfill it. Jesus emphasizes the permanence of scripture even in the new era He is inaugurating, but also takes it further. He exalts it. He is saying He is the One who gives it its fuller meaning. He gave it, He fulfills it and He interprets it. When questioned about the Law and the Prophets later in Matthew 22:36-40, Jesus says that the whole thing is based on love. Then Paul echoes the same thing in Romans 13:10 where he says that “love is the fulfillment of the law.” The issue during Jesus time was the Pharisees were seen as true law keepers, while violating the very spirit of the law. They were strict about keeping its external requirements, without its true motive of love coming from their hearts. This is legalism and Jesus says your righteousness must exceed this mere external, seeking to meet the minimum requirement kind of law keeping. Jesus says you’re living the Kingdom Life Now when… 

The Law of Love Flows From the Inside Out

    Some people feel that as long as they are not sleeping with someone whose not their spouse, then if they look at some images on their screen they haven’t hurt anybody or broken the commandment to not commit adultery. Jesus says you have broken the spirit of that law which is to not even look at someone with lust. This is the kind of legalistic reasoning that will send many outwardly religious people to hell!

    Jesus continues to interpret the law in light of love. He expounds on the true meaning of the law and elevates its proper interpretation by beginning with the statement “You have heard it said to those of old… but I say to you…” He starts by addressing murder. You may not have physically killed someone, but if you harbor hatred in your heart against someone and say uncontrollably angry things to them, you have broken the spirit of the law of love. His point is murder begins with a heart filled with anger and hatred. You need to repent and seek reconciliation in the broken relationship. Then He addresses Adultery and Marriage. Adultery is more than just being physically unfaithful to your spouse. It begins with looking on someone with lust in your heart. Get radical about maintaining a pure heart. Jesus elevates the sacredness of marriage and rejects just getting divorced for just any reason. Then He forbids swearing and encourages just being truthful. Let your yes be yes and your no be no. The point Jesus is making is that the law is not just a list of requirements to be checked in order to seem externally righteous, but rather motivated by love flowing from the heart.

    The truth is that we are unable to do this by ourselves. This is why we need Jesus. The gospel produces an inside out obedience motivated by love. Jesus said in John 14:15, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” Then Paul says in Romans 5:5, “The love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” The daily relationship with Jesus, through prayer and the word, develops a love for Him that is empowered by the Holy Spirit, resulting in an inside out obedience.

    All governments have laws and Jesus elevates the law of God, which has always been about love, as an essential part of living the Kingdom life now. And as we grow in love as citizens of His Kingdom, He now shows a sign that we have matured in His love in verse 39…

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