Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
The law always condemns. It certainly does more than condemning us, but it always condemns. Jesus, in Matthew 5:17-26, speaks highly of the Law of God. It will not pass away. Jesus’ role is to fulfill the Law, not to destroy it. God’s Law is great. However, lest we make any mistake in this regard, Jesus goes on to show some of the implications of God’s Law.
Murder is bad. It’s a terrible thing. It not only ends another person’s life, but it does so willingly and places the murderer in the role of Gd, who gets to decide when life begins and ends. The vast majority of people on the planet will affirm that murder is a bad thing and will be able to say quite honestly that they have never murdered anyone.
Jesus shows that our internal attitude toward others can be an act of murder. If we wish someone were dead, if we are hostile toward someone, if we are insulting, we have placed ourselves in the role of God as the judge over that person. In effect, we have done the very same kind of sinful thing that is done in murder, except the person’s life isn’t irretrievably lost. It may, however, be lost to us and to others who value our opinion, in a practical sense, because a reputation and social interactions are critical pieces of life.
So how are we doing at keeping God’s Law? Jesus keeps turning up the heat and telling us the underlying implications of the Law. And the more he does it, the more quickly we fall under condemnation.
What’s the point of all this? Jesus tells his hearers to repent and to seek peace with those they sin against. The same applies to us and, no doubt, one of the people we have sinned against is God himself. As we seek reconciliation, and as we realize that Jesus is the one who has reconciled us to God, we are declared not guilty. By God’s grace, though the Law would convict us, the Gospel has set us free, free to live at peace with God and with others. The call of God’s Law is to turn to the Gospel, since we realize our need.
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