In today's study from Matthew 5:1 we continue looking at the Law as it pertains to our Lord, the Jew, and the church.
The Law of the Kingdom
v.1 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: Some today have wrongly called this section of Scripture, “The Sermon on the Mount or the Beatitudes.” They are neither. It is no sermon at all; instead it is a giving of the law by the new King. It should be called “The Law of the Kingdom”. In chapters 5-7, Jesus is giving the Law of his kingdom. If you study the Old Testament, all kings were defined, good or bad, by their relationship to the Law. A good king, kept the Law of his own Kingdom (cf. Deut. 17:14-20).
The First King
Speaking of kings, “Who was Israel’s first king?” Deuteronomy 33:1-5 says that it was Moses. So, just as Moses gave the Law, and every king thereafter reiterated that Law, so Jesus is doing the same. However, Jesus is going a little further and expanding upon it a little bit.
Just as an Aside
Just as a side note, the Pharisees did not attack Jesus for abandoning the Law but for running counter to their interpretation of the Law (cf. 5:21-22, 27-28, 31-32, 33-34, 38-39, 43-44, etc…). Jesus referred to it as the Traditions of the Elders (cf. Mark 7:5, 8-13).
Jesus had no problem with the Law; only the interpretation of the Law as given by the Pharisees. Sometimes, we ourselves can be guilt of dismissing the law to our own interpretation. The Law still stands until it is completely fulfilled, especially as it pertains to the House of Israel (cf. Matt. 5:17-18).
Internal vs. External
Jesus’ problem with the leadership of his day was their focus on the external and not the internal. The Jews felt that the law could be kept to the tee and bring about ultimate justification. However, we know that it’s impossible. Why? External vs. Internal (cf. Matt 19:16-20; 5:21-22, 27-28).
Law Never Meant to Bring About Salvation
We must understand that the Law was never meant to bring about salvation. Paul said in Galatians 4:1-2 Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. Paul is comparing the heir to someone who is under the Law because the heir is really no different than a slave in that he really has no rights to speak of as a child. He has no control over the estate. Thus, he may be “lord of all” one day, but not until he has come of age. Until that day comes, he is in the same condition as a servant.
In Galatians 4:3 he says that even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. The point is that under the Law, the Jew primarily, but us secondarily were in infancy. Not yet mature like the heir.
In Galatians 4:4-5 he says but when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. In God’s timing He sent Jesus to redeem us from the Law. The phrase, “made under the law”, means that Jesus was raised under the Mosaic Law.
In Galatians 4:6 he says, And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. The proof that Jesus has redeemed us from the Law is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit within us is proof of our salvation. Ephesians 1:13-14 says, In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
However, it is also proof that we are no longer servants under the Law, but sons under Grace. Through Jesus and his fulfilling the requirement for us, we have come of age! Jesus said in John 15:15, “Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.” He goes on to say in Galatians 4:7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. We are no more a servant because we have matured. We are no longer infants under the Law.
Paul said in Romans 8:17, And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” In other words, we are going to share in Christ’s inheritance. Revelation 3:21 says, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.”
Paul goes on to tell the Galatians in 5:1, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” In other words, don’t be tempted to go back under the Law. Let me ask you this at this time, “Why does Paul spend so much time talking about the Law? - Because we have a tendency to place ourselves back under it!
With that in mind, he warned the Galatians 4:2-6 “Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.” In other words, if you are keeping the Law to find your justification, you’re trusting in the wrong thing. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”