Messiah vs. Moses

Feb 07, 2016 By: Pastor Joseph LoSardo Series: Messiah in Matthew Scripture: Matthew 5:17-18
Perhaps the most disputed, misconstrued and damaging debates in the Christian realm is that of law verses grace. The debate has been summed up with the terms “Legalism vs. Antinomianism,” both of which have ship-wrecked the faith of many professing Christians. While many Christians would try to argue the virtues of one or the other, few realize the great peril that both of these false doctrines impose. In a recent book review Dr. Joel Beeke so affectingly wrote, “… legalism and antinomianism are not opposites, but evil allies in Satan’s bitter war to dishonor the great name of Jesus Christ.” Arguments from both camps must grapple with the text in Matthew 5:17-48, where Jesus emphatically and radically contrasts His teaching with the law of Moses. In this text we will see Jesus use six illustrations or antithesis (“You have heard it said” …“But I say unto you” vss. 21-47), wherein He reveals what true kingdom righteousness ought to look like. While the law given through Moses commanded primarily an outward conformity to a righteous standard, Jesus is teaching his disciples that such righteousness is far from enough; He raises the bar calling His disciples to an internal standard that exceeds the external one embodied in those keeping the law of Moses. But before He does this, He wants it to be absolutely clear that He is not contradicting, altering or nullifying the law, but fulfilling it. He affirms the validity and absolute authority of every single word of Scripture, even down to the smallest components of individual words. Not an iota will pass away from the law until all is accomplished (v. 18).