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LOVING THE LORD JESUS FULFILLS THE LAW (REJECTING HIM VIOLATES IT)

       The Lord Jesus taught something quite radical in the perception of His contemporaries: He had apparently reduced the entire Law of Moses and the Prophets down to only two commandments.

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THE PROBLEM

        This obviously drove the strict religionists, those who couldn’t see spiritually past the end of their nose, right up a wall. They were invested up to their eyeballs in their voluminous religious knowledge. By this teaching He not only seemingly bypassed the entirety of Holy Writ, or at least put the vast law checklist in dubious perspective; He also completely subverted, in their eyes, the capacious and multifaceted oral law, of which only a distinct few were aware. To their chagrin, and with this instruction, He broke down the walls of the sheepfold and made the basis of spiritual knowledge and truth available for everyone.  

         But there is something else He did then that most of the Jewish teachers and many strict Trinitarian Christians miss. He once again equated Himself with God.        

         “And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?” And he answered, “YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND; AND YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; DO THIS AND YOU WILL LIVE.” [Luke 10:25-28]

         Did you catch that? The Lord Jesus told the lawyer the same thing He told Moses:

       “So you shall keep My statutes and My judgments, by which a man may live if he does them; I am the LORD.” [Leviticus 18:5]   

         Let’s look at another passage:

         But when the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered themselves together. One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” [Matthew 22:34-40]

THE REACTION

         Of course, the Lord never eliminated any part of the Law but He did fulfill it. He continued to honor all the commandments. He opened the eyes of many and brought the Law and Prophets into proper perspective by assigning priorities. For those, however, who were unwilling or unable to be led to quiet waters and lie down in green pastures, they insisted on their own imposed status quo and it blinded them to further truth.

         Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question: “What do you think about the Christ, whose son is He?” They said to Him, “The son of David.” He said to them, “Then how does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying, ‘THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, “SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, UNTIL I PUT YOUR ENEMIES BENEATH YOUR FEET?”’ If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his son?” No one was able to answer Him a word, nor did anyone dare from that day on to ask Him another question. [Matthew 22:41-46]

         Judging by the extreme reaction of those great Pharisee teachers, something really strange took place on that occasion. One can almost see the popping and sparking of cerebral synapses and smoke coming out of their ears. They were at a complete loss and had no idea how to answer. Their vast repertoire of knowledge had nothing from which to draw. Their data base was empty of information on the topic. They had no idea, according to their own perception and understanding, how the Messiah could be both David’s Lord and his Son. They were absolutely flummoxed.

THE SOLUTION

          If one sees the Lord Jesus as God, then one will see that He must be loved with all one’s heart, soul, strength, and mind. If one sees the Lord Jesus as merely a secondary personage who is somehow less than God, then one must love Him as he loves himself. Whatever the case, one must at least apply the Golden Rule to the Lord Jesus OR BE IN VIOLATION OF THE LAW. And if one understands that the Lord Jesus truly is God, then one must love Him with all one’s heart, soul, strength, and mind OR BE IN VIOLATION OF THE LAW.

         From this there is the inescapable conclusion that our lives are arranged and bear spiritual fruit in direct relation to how we treat the Lord Jesus and whether or not we love Him exactly as He loves us. He already demonstrated His love for us by giving His perfect life as a sacrifice to pay for our sins, which we could never do, and by this He purchased our salvation. He said doing this was the greatest love. Therefore, He has already fulfilled the Golden Rule for every single human being who has ever lived or ever will live.

         But He did more than that. Though He did not need to, according to a strict interpretation of the Law, He actually applied not only the Golden Rule to us but the greatest commandment as well, in that He gave everything He had on our behalf—He loves us with all His heart, soul, strength, and mind.

         The Scriptures say God is Love. The Scriptures also say Jesus is God. Thus, the Scriptures say that Jesus is Love and He obviously demonstrated that love way back then but has also demonstrated it ever since then and still demonstrates it right now. He loves you.

         Even so, because the circumstances of this fallen world and the reality of this life are what they are, we are sometimes subjected to not so good things beyond our control. But there is no detrimental circumstance that has any bearing on His love for us. His love is greater than any such circumstance. Sometimes through faith we can overcome an adverse circumstance. But the first thing we do by faith is accept the possibility of real relationship with Him and move toward it. We take Him at His Word. We establish trust with Him. To complete the relationship-with-God transaction we love the Lord Jesus as He loves us. Whatever He did for us we must be willing to do for Him.

         Follow His example—Love and obey Him with all your heart just as He loved and obeyed “the Father.” That is the answer, my friends.

         Love never fails. [1Corinthians 13:8] [1]   

         © 2018 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

 

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10 or 2? The Greatest Commandments and You

        Some American Christians are metaphorically up in arms over a curious issue. Representations of the Ten Commandments have been removed from public places, court houses, etc, and removal of these icons is threatened elsewhere. A great fight has ensued with either side casting the other in a not too pleasant light.

        On one end of the spectrum, secularists claim the Ten Commandments is an ancient outdated list of dos and don’ts that has no place in a country in which church is divided from state. Christians counter that the nation was founded on the Ten Commandments and that our entire system of jurisprudence is based upon them. The latter consider the disagreement as an attack against the Christian moral code by anti-Christian government-first authoritative bigheads, atheists, statists, and secular humanists. Those against the posting of the TC consider its supporters as backwoods half-brained ninnies living in the past.

         Both parties might step back from the fight for a while to consider what the New Testament actually says. While the Ten Commandments have indeed been foundational in Christian circles, it is only because Christians have stopped at a place in their development and did not apply the actual teachings of Jesus:

         “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” [Matthew 5:17-20]

         Well, this statement certainly seems to support the traditional keeping of the Ten Commandments. For the record, though, the Lord is actually referring to the entire Torah, which is composed of 613 commandments. However, as did the Pharisees, so do many Christians. There is a higher mandatory standard that many in both camps fail to keep which keeps them out of the kingdom. That’s why the Lord continued His teaching on the subject by adding caveats:

         “You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.” [Matthew 5:21-22]

         “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” [Matthew 5:27-28]

         “It was said, ‘WHOEVER SENDS HIS WIFE AWAY, LET HIM GIVE HER A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE’; but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” [Matthew 5:31-32]

         “Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT MAKE FALSE VOWS, BUT SHALL FULFILL YOUR VOWS TO THE LORD.’ But I say to you, make no oath at all…” [Matthew 5:33-34]

         “You have heard that it was said, ‘AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.’ But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.” [Matthew 5:38-39]

         “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven…” [Matthew 5:43-45]

         Only two of the preceding six statements refer to one of the Ten Commandments. The point here is that there is much more than the mere celebrated ten that so many people are willing to fight about. To add to the above caveat list wherein the Lord makes the proper amendments, we also have an even more curious teaching on the opposite end. Whereas the Lord got into fine detail regarding what the Torah actually states, He also pares down all of that detail into a prima facie foundation with reference to not only the Law of Moses but His own voluminous teachings:

         But when the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered themselves together. One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” [Matthew 22:34-40]

         Jesus said the remaining 611 commandments of the Torah and the entirety of all prophetic writings are suspended from the strong upper framework of the two greatest commandments of all. And guess what?

         Only one of the two greatest commandments is listed among the Ten Commandments.

         There is obviously then, much misunderstanding and misapplication of the Ten Commandments themselves and the true teaching regarding them. Can anyone find a single quote by the Lord Jesus in reference to the ten? How about among the apostles? The fact of the matter is that the Ten Commandments are not mentioned one time in the entire New Testament. Not even once.

         This means there was a different standard among the early believers than is among most of us. It means their Christianity was a completely different Christianity. They were not hung up on lists and they did not give but partial commitment. They knew that if they properly obeyed the two greatest commandments, they would also be fulfilling all the rest of the applicable commandments that had not already been fulfilled.

         Therefore, what we should be posting are the Two Commandments, not the Ten Commandments.

         In addition, the early believers knew that wearing one’s religion upon one’s proverbial sleeve was anathema to real Christianity, and that obeying the commandments did not mean posting a select few on the walls of buildings and the institutions of man, but on our hearts.

         We are the building. We are the wall. We are the medium the Lord has chosen to advertise Himself to the world.

         You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

         Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

         But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was, how will the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory? For if the ministry of condemnation has glory, much more does the ministry of righteousness abound in glory. For indeed what had glory, in this case has no glory because of the glory that surpasses it. For if that which fades away was with glory, much more that which remains is in glory.

         Therefore having such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech, and are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel would not look intently at the end of what was fading away. But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ. But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

         Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. [2Corinthians 3:2-18]

         As stated here, the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of our Lord Jesus whose love has been poured out within our hearts if we have indeed been filled with His Spirit. It is He to whom the greatest commandment is applied. And it is to each other that the second is applied. These two living commandments (not suggestions) make the entire curriculum of the Lord work properly and bring it to life. They are based on love for Him and love for one another.

         Obeying the Two supersedes obeying the Ten.

         “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” [John 14:15-18] [1]

            © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.