Sunday, September 13, 2015

Missing Letters

Missing Letters
September 14, 2015
Matthew 5:18  "For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished."

Jesus said He had come to fulfill the law, not remove it.  Jesus promised that all of the pen strokes used to write the law would remain in effect until Heaven and Earth disappeared.  Since Earth is still beneath us, it stands to reason the Lord's laws remain in effect.  Those laws are the irrefutable instructions left to us by which we are to live our lives.  If you recount the law, though, what specifically are we required to follow?  The law started with the instructions the Lord gave through Moses, which included items like: don't commit murder, don't worship other gods, don't lie or steal, etc.  Then those laws were expanded to requiring sacrifices for our sins, bringing offerings to the temple, and not having physical relations with someone other than your spouse, especially close family members.  Since we don't sacrifice animals anymore, are there other rules we can put by the wayside?

True, we don't sacrifice animals anymore, but only because Christ was the ultimate sacrifice, which fulfilled that portion of the law, not abolished it.  So, are there other things we can factor out of the equation?  If you want to live like a sinner and still receive the reward of a saint, then you may certainly not remove anything from the Lord's requirements of you.  You have to obey the full letter of the law; Scripture says to a better extent than the Pharisees.  This sounds tough but Jesus said all the laws of the Lord could be summed up by loving the Lord your God with all your heart and by loving your neighbor as if you were loving yourself.  This sounds way easier but must be interpreted within light of the full scripture.  If loving yourself means you indulge in sin and promote your neighbor to do the same then you are missing some letters from the law.

Scripture says if you truly loved the Lord with all your heart, then your actions would prove it; you would do what He has asked of you, which includes taking care of the least important person among you as well as honoring the Lord with all you have.  Jesus said we would implement this lifestyle with the same fervor that the Pharisees implemented in following their rules.  I'm confident none of us loves his neighbor with the same fortitude that the Pharisees implemented when they counted how many steps they could take on the Sabbath day before it could be defined as working.  I say this to suggest you and I are probably missing some letters from our law.  I do not weigh all of my decisions against the two most important guidelines (loving the Lord with all my heart and loving my neighbor as myself), but I should.

If I am going to implement the Lord's instructions with more strength than the Pharisees, then I will naturally weigh everything against His guidelines.  You and I are free to do what we want, but must ask ourselves before we do something if it demonstrates love for the Father and love for our fellow man.  If it does, then we are free to participate.  If it does not, and we do it anyway, we are missing some letters from the law.  Marriages would be different if people thought this way when considering their own happiness--they would probably lay their pride down more often than not for the other person.  Your relationship with your employer would be different if you weighed everything against the two most important guidelines, too.

If you are going to follow the Lord, then it means obeying the full letter of the law, the law which Jesus summed up nicely.  But it takes great intent to apply it at all times.  Scripture says if you do, however, you will be known as the greatest in Heaven.

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  Matt 5:17-48, Matt 22:36-40

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