Welcome to the Kingdom of Heaven

The Law That Sets Us Free

The Law that Sets Us Free - Proclaiming a Better Law

My Catholic mother-in-law said you can prove anything you want with the Bible. “The same book that says, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,' also says, 'Do not resist an evil person' and 'Turn the other cheek.’ How can we possibly know what action to take?

Are you confused by these contradictions? Did God change His mind?

The answer is no. Both laws were meant to accomplish the Father’s will, by using different methods.

We believe that God's purpose for His creation has not changed. No, it remains the same. God still desires to separate unto himself a peculiar people who will love and obey Him. He sent His Son for that purpose. What Jesus did is modify or upgrade the way God's purpose is achieved.

Instead of just addressing the outward actions, such as, "Do not commit adultery," or "Do not kill," Jesus goes right to the root of the problem - changing our heart from within. A heart that does not lust is not likely to commit adultery. A person who is not angry would not have a reason to kill.

In centuries past, a candle gave us the ability to see at night. It was glorious in its day, but something better than a candle is here. We now use lightbulbs. And, as to the law, a greater than Moses has appeared. And just as the candle is obsolete and fading away, so is the law of Moses. (Hebrews 8:13)

Jesus Christ is greater than Moses and He has given us six updated commands. We call them the Revised Statutes of Jesus. And they upgrade and replace what Moses taught. And all of them are contained in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew, Chapters 5 - 7.

These commands are not about outward obedience. They go deeper. They aim right at the heart. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34). Whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. (Matthew 5:19).

Let's get right into what Jesus said about the law in the Sermon on the Mount beginning at Matthew 5, verse 17. He's about to make some big changes.

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Matthew 5:17-18

There's plenty of people who outwardly obey the law, like the Pharisees, but their hearts are far from Him. Those people need to up their game if they want to enter the Kingdom.

I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matt 5:20)

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is not abolishing the law, but He is showing how it can be fulfilled. By revising the law, He is raising the bar for those who want to enter His Kingdom. Jesus is also going to liberate us and provide something better.

The following six revised statutes of Jesus all begin with a reference to the law of Moses. Jesus introduces them with words like "You have heard that it was said,” or "It has been said." That is your clue that Jesus is upgrading the law of Moses.

First Revised Statute of Jesus
on Murder

You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell. Matt 5:21-22

Notice that Jesus introduces the law of Moses by saying "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago." That phrase gives us an indication that he is going to replace the law. Then he revises that statute by saying you cannot even be angry with someone or you will be subject to the judgement. Nor can you call them a fool or treat them with contempt.

What remedy does Jesus offer if you are angry? Go and reconcile before offering your gift at the altar. In other words, make peace with them before you come before God. And if someone is taking you to court, settle matters quickly, while you are still on the way with them, lest you find yourself thrown into prison.

Second Revised Statute of Jesus
on Adultery

You have heard, in the law of Moses, that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5:27-28

Under Moses, a married individual committed adultery by having sexual intercourse outside of marriage. But for followers of Christ, we cannot even look at a woman with a desire to be intimate with her. First you think it, then you do it. Stop sin at its inception, while it is still only a thought.

Christ's remedy against lust is to gouge out the offending eye or if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away.

"It is better for you to lose one part of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell." Matthew 5:29-30

This is an extremely harsh remedy, but it shows how important it is not to lust. If you continue lusting, at life’s end, you’ll be thrown in the lake of fire, instead of inheriting eternal life.

Lusting is the beginning of sexual sins. Looking at pornography can quickly become addictive and, if continued, will destroy your soul. Cry out to Jesus in your weakness, confessing your sin, asking for forgiveness and praying, “lead us not into temptation.”

Third Revised Statute of Jesus
on Divorce

It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the grounds of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. Matthew 5:31-32

This is a major deviation from the law of Moses which allowed divorce because of the hardness of their hearts. But from the beginning of creation, God intended that two people become one flesh for life. “Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Matthew 19:6

Divorce cannot always be prevented and sometimes it is done without your consent. But you do have control over making the decision to remarry. And if you remarry someone while there is at least one living spouse between you, then you are living in a continual state of adultery.

Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery. Luke 16:18

Fourth Revised Statute of Jesus
on Oaths

People swear informal oaths every day without realizing it because the whole world lies under the control of the evil one. (1John 5:19) Don't get snared. Here's what Jesus says about oaths. He begins with what the people have been taught by Moses, starting at Matthew 5:33.

Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black.

Oaths today are an essential function of courtrooms and the military. There are also hidden oaths that are required by people in the matrix. Tax forms, loan payment agreements, licenses and registrations often hide oaths with your signature. When you sign a document, "under the pains and penalties of perjury" you are swearing an oath and the courts treat it as an oath.

We cannot make any promises for the future because the future is in God's hands. Jesus’ remedy is to simply let your "Yes" be "Yes," and your "No," "No." Anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

James, the brother of Jesus, thought this teaching against oaths was of paramount importance. He said,

Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear--not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. All you need to say is a simple "Yes" or "No." Otherwise you will be condemned. James 5:12

Today, many people live in voluntary slavery because they have signed up for loans and credit cards and have sworn to make payments. No one can be free if they are in debt. "The borrower is servant to the lender." Proverbs 22:7 Getting out of debt is one condition for living in true liberty.

Fifth Revised Statute of Jesus
on an Eye for an Eye

Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.Matthew 5:38-42

Here is a total reversal of an eye for an eye. There is no equalizing the wrong by allowing an eye to be taken for the eye that was lost. Instead, we are not to put up a fight against an evil person. Let them do their evil to us, turning the other cheek so they can slap that cheek, too.

If they demand that we go one mile, we volunteer to go two. And if they want to borrow, we don't turn them away. If they want to sue us, we don't just give them what they are asking for, we give them even more. This is lovingly losing our life to someone who may be harming or taking advantage of us. And what good does it do? Sometimes it softens their heart and awakens their conscience.

Sixth Revised Statute of Jesus
on Loving Our Enemies

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. Matthew 5:43-48

Jesus expands our love, not just for our neighbors, but for our enemies as well. This one command, if obeyed, would put an end to war. Jesus calls on us to be perfect in our love, no matter who it is, or how much they hate us. Everyone we come in contact with is to be loved, without regard to whether they are enemies or not.

Sometimes it is harder to love the ones we live with than it is to love a distant enemy. The one who is being ornery and disagreeable is most in need of kind and tender encouragement. I tell my wife, “Love me the most when I deserve it the least.”

Jesus explains the reason he could not mix the old law of Moses with His new commands:

No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse. Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” Matthew 9:16,17

Christ is calling men and women everywhere to turn from their worldly ways and seek a new life. For those who are governed by the Heavenly Kingdom, He has set forth the two greatest commandments and all the other laws depend on these two.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 22:37-40

If we use governmental terms, the two Greatest Commandments are the Constitution for citizens of Heaven and the statutes made in pursuance to this Constitution are contained in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew, Chapters 5 - 7). This is our Code of Conduct. Jesus expounds further on the nature and character of His Kingdom in parables, especially in the book of Matthew.

Eternal life is in the Son. In Him we pass from death to life. We are incorporated in Christ. He is the vine and we are the branches. Only in Christ can we be set free to live in perfect liberty.

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 that Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 2 Corinthians 3:15-17

May His Kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven.

Wake up and repent. The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.