Well, praise Jesus today everyone. There is a question that I've got asked a lot, and that is in regards to the law that is the Old Testament, or the Old Covenant, sometimes known as the law of Moses as it is referred to scriptures. I want to read to you what Jesus said in Matthew chapter 5. I'm starting in verse 17, Jesus said, “do not think that I came to destroy the law or the prophets. I did not come to destroy, but to fulfill.” It seems a lot of people don't understand what Jesus meant when He said that He came to fulfill. They talk about Him not destroying. And so they say all the Old Testament laws still apply, that you need to be keeping all of the laws of Moses, that is all 613 laws of the Old Testament, the Levitical law. And if you don't keep these laws, then you are disobeying Jesus, and you are disobeying God. So look at what Jesus says Here. I'm in Verse 18, Jesus says, “18For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. 19Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20For 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.”
Now, as all the parables Jesus taught and all of the difficult sayings to understand, they can be taken in multiple ways, and they are multi-layered. Jesus was speaking to a Jewish audience, and often there were people in the crowds who were Pharisees, Sadducees, religious leaders, lawyers, people that believed themselves to be justified, because they knew the law of Moses, they knew the scriptures very well, and they believed that they were going to get to heaven because they were close to God by keeping the Ten Commandments, keeping Torah, keeping 613, and that they were in line with the law.
So if you wanted to be as good as they were, as a teacher of the law and a keeper of the law, you would have to first study the law and know what it says and then apply that to your life. If you read some of these Old Testament laws, they're so incredibly difficult to keep, that it is not only virtually impossible, it is impossible. We know that there are dietary laws on what you can eat and can't eat. And it's not just pig. It's other things as well. Certain things in the ocean, also, things that have, the law describes what kind of hoof on an animal that is not edible. It also talks about things like rabbits not being edible and many other things that in the West people eat all the time.
So the question arises for people that were not originally Jewish, or if they were Jewish that backslid, is in order to get to heaven, do I have to keep the Old Testament law? Do I have to keep the law of Moses? Because it appears that in these verses in Matthew chapter 5, that Jesus is saying that whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so shall be called least. So it appears that He is saying, you need to keep all of the Old Testament laws. So you can take what Jesus is saying in one or two ways. You could interpret this and say Jesus is saying that you need to keep all of the Old Testament, not just the big laws, such as, thou shalt not murder, you know, don't have any other gods before me. But you should also keep all the other dietary laws, the laws about not mixing fabric. In other words, you're sinning if your jacket has a couple specific mixed fabrics in them. And many, many other laws about purity, you know, how you wash your hands before you eat, how you prepare your food, and all of those things.
So if you think that you need to be keeping all of these laws, Jesus is saying that you need to keep it better than the Pharisees. Your righteousness has to exceed them. And we also know, if you look throughout the scriptures, that if you are going to keep some of them, you better keep all of them, because you're going to be judged according to the law. Now, I believe a lot of modern day Pharisees, even Christians, that buy into the Jewish Gospel, they put themselves under the law of Moses, or the Old Testament law, because they really think that they are going to be justified by their works. We know that, the covenant that came to Moses and the children of Israel was the first covenant that was, as Hebrew speaks of, as shadow pictures of what was to come, that Jesus fulfilled.
But see, they don't see it that way. They don't see Jesus as the fulfillment. They don't understand Him as the fulfillment. So when they read this Matthew chapter 5 the only thing that they can understand Jesus saying is that they need to keep all of the Levitical law that is the law of Moses, and unless they are keeping it more accurately than the lawyers, they will not inherit the Kingdom of God. This is going to damn many Christians, because they listened to the words of Jesus, but they heard this parable in the light of keeping the law of Moses that is the first covenant. It will damn them because there is no possible way that you're going to find true forgiveness and true justification through keeping the law, that would be the true salvation by work’s gospel, thinking that you can achieve everlasting life or an entry into God's Kingdom by keeping the law perfectly.
The Jewish people that are Judaizers and also still continue to uphold the law. Their argument to this is, do you think Jesus nailed to the cross murder so you don't have to murder anymore? Do you think He nailed to the cross adultery so you can commit adultery? And so the argument is, if you think that you can go out and commit adultery, then you would be wrong. Therefore you need to keep all the other parts of the law, like the dietary laws and all those others, otherwise you're disobeying God in all of it, and will be damned. So of course, this has brought a lot of Christians a lot of condemnation and confusion, wondering if they are bound to the Old Testament law, or are they not? Are they under the New Covenant?
Now, the second way you can understand what Jesus was teaching is in the light of the New Covenant. And I want to read to you from Hebrews, which, if you haven't read the whole book of Hebrews, I encourage you to read all the way through this, because it speaks very specifically in regards to the difference of the Old Testament, that is, the old covenant, and the first Covenant that was given to Moses, and how it was shadow pictures of what was going to be fulfilled. And comparing that to the New Covenant that Jesus made. But what I want to read to you is the crux of the matter, found in Hebrews. This is chapter 10. I'm going to start in verse 11, “11And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12But this Man (which we know is Jesus), after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 13from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. 14For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.”
Are they being sanctified through the 613 laws of Torah? No, but through the blood of Jesus Christ.
“14For by one sacrifice He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.
15But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before,
16“This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts.”
So what laws are we talking about when Jesus says these from Matthew Chapter 5, if you interpret it in light of the New Covenant, these commandments that men teach will be the laws of the New Covenant that are put on our hearts. So listen to what this scripture says.
“I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” 17then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” 18Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.”
In other words, we’re not bound by the Old Testament, rituals of purification, all the laws of, all the dietary laws and the laws of what we can wear. But we know the difference because the truth of God is on our conscience. And this is what Jesus taught. Jesus did not go around teaching the old Covenant, the law of Moses. He wasn't condemning people for wearing mixed fabrics, or for eating pork. But what He was condemning was hypocrisy. And what Jesus was teaching was the New Covenant. He wants us to enter into the New Covenant, and that is how we surpass the righteousness of the Pharisees.
So it's interesting, because this parable, if you will, or this hard saying of Jesus in regards to Matthew Chapter 5 verse 17 through 20, you can take in one or two ways. You can take it to mean that you need to keep the whole old covenant, and in so doing, you're going to try to be surpassing the righteousness of the Pharisees, and you will condemn yourself, because there's no way you can keep it. Or the second way you could interpret it is in the light of the New Covenant which Jesus made for you and for all of those who would accept the New Covenant. Does the New Covenant mean that we can just forget about righteousness and that we don't need to really repent? Of course not. Does it mean that we think we can murder people or commit adultery? Of course not. The laws of God still exist, but they are on our conscience. And Jesus taught more specifically what it means to keep His laws.
At the end of the day, Jesus is not glad that people can just keep the law of Moses without knowing Him. It's like how Jesus said to those religious Jews, that you search the scriptures, for in them you think that you have eternal life, but you refuse to come to me. Many Christians are trying to work out their salvation by keeping the Torah. They have taken on Jewish attributes. And I've watched this for years, and this has been a phenomenon especially on the Internet, where Christians have tried to obey the law of Moses by keeping the feast days and the different scriptures from the Old Testament. But they fail to understand what the New Covenant is all about. They failed to understand what receiving the Holy Spirit is about. These people that tried to justify themselves by their works of the Old Testament or the Old Covenant, think they will be saved by their many works. And they also think that the Bible itself, that is the Torah, is the greatest law on Earth or in Heaven, which we know that's not true.
One time, when I was talking to one of these Christians that was trying to become a Jew and find justification through the Torah, I asked him, “what do you think the greatest law is or the greatest authority in heaven or on Earth?” And he answered me quickly, “it is the Torah.” And I knew at that moment that he was lying and deceived. Because we know from Matthew chapter 28 that all power and all authority is given to Jesus Christ. And then He says, “go and make disciples of all nations, baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And lo or behold, I am with you always, even to the very end of the age.” The things that Jesus taught were the parables of the Kingdom of Heaven. He taught the New Covenant. We are sanctified by the blood of Jesus Christ. That doesn't mean we go on sinning and forget to repent. It doesn't mean that we just believe that Jesus did things and believe that He died on the cross, but true belief means actions. That is why James says that faith without deeds, or faith without works that is works of righteousness is dead. As the body without a soul or a spirit in it is dead, so faith without works is dead also. The works that James was speaking of are the works of righteousness, that is love, joy, peace, patience, self-control, the things that God writes on our conscience to do after we have received His Holy Spirit. But as far as trying to be justified by the law and getting circumcised, making sure that you don't eat pork and all those kinds of things, that will not sanctify any men. There are plenty of Muslims who live by those sorts of dietary laws. And they hate the true God. They hate Christians. They hate the New Covenant. They don't believe in anything about Jesus Christ. They only believe in their tradition and their religion.
If you want everlasting life, it is about obeying the words of Jesus Christ. I encourage you to come into the New Covenant. Jesus is our high priest. He has made the way for you to enter into the Holy of Holies by His blood. And if you ask Him to cleanse you from your unrighteousness, to give you a new heart and a new mind, He will wash you clean, and He will give you those new clothes of righteousness. And He will purge you and purify you and make you holy before your God. There is no other way into everlasting life, into heaven, other than getting to know Jesus personally, accepting Him into your heart, and then living for Him every single day to the very end of your life.
I hope this helps someone to come out of deception. I hope this helps someone not to fall into the false works-based Gospel. And I also want to encourage people not to fall into the hyper grace Gospel that confuses the works of the law Gospel with the works of righteousness. So put your faith in Jesus Christ. Honor Him and please Him. Live according to your conscience, and you will do good. Of course, our conscience isn't the Holy Spirit, but God gave us each a conscience, and our conscience is like our spiritual ear. And with our conscience, we can hear the Holy Spirit speak to us. And when He puts something on our conscience that we know is right, we need to do it quickly. And when we know something is against God and evil or wrong, we reject it and cast it out immediately. If we learn to listen with the ears of our conscience, then we can learn to hear God, and we can learn to trust Him and obey Him and walk into everlasting life with Him. May the grace of Jesus be with you.