Jesus : Sermon of the mount and the Law

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Mayflower

Puritan Board Junior
Sinds iam studying again the issue of the Law, i need some help to understand the follow qoutes from Jesus Christ on the sermon of the mount, and the relationship towards the Holy law of God.

You have heard that it was said, "An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth."
But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.

You have heard that it was said, "You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy."
But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

We know that Jesus does not contradict the Law of God, but if i read these two example's does it not look like, that Jesus is coming with a new Law. I don't believe it's a new Law, but i still don't understand why Jesus takes a different explanation of the law ? These verses has been used by dispensantiolist and John Reisinger against the moral law as binding.

Any help would be apreciatted !
 

jambo

Puritan Board Senior
When Jesus quotes the OT concerning an eye for an eye he is talking about the Law in terms of legal justice. When he talks to the listeners about tuurning the other cheek he is talking about them personally about not seeking revenge. Likewise with adultery, murder etc. They may not have broken the letter the of the Law by committing adultery/murder but lusting after someone in the heart or having such anger and resentment towards someone then the spirit of the law had been broken.

In terms of loving and praying for your enemies Jesus goes onto explain why in the following verses. It is all examples of the Christian being different from the worldling around him. A different set of values. Was it John Stott who spoke about this sermon as kingdom life in a fallen world?

Jesus did not come to abolish (or change) the law but to fulfill the law. Everything the law demanded, Christ met. Every error the Pharisees made in interpreting the law was corrected by Christ as he explained how the law was to be understood.
 

DTK

Puritan Board Junior
i need some help to understand the follow qoutes from Jesus Christ on the sermon of the mount, and the relationship towards the Holy law of God.

You have heard that it was said, "An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth."
But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.

There are several places in the OT where we read, "An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth." (e.g. Lev. 24:19), what we call the lex talionis, or the law of retribution. It was actually given to restrain the wickedness of men, so that one might not extract more from the offending party than what justice required. It was given to the nation of Israel as a whole as a foundation for justice. It was to be executed not by individuals seeking revenge, but by the judicatory seeking justice. But the Pharisees had corrupted the original intent of the law, and were using it as a tool for revenge. This is what our Lord is correcting, not giving some new law.

These words have indeed been misunderstood by many. I think it was Count Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) who believed on the basis of these words of Jesus that there should be no policemen, no law makers, no military, and that we are never to resist people who are wicked. But our Lord is not teaching pacifism, but rather giving us a prohibition against personal retaliation. Remember, scripture must be interpreted by scripture. We learn this from Romans 12 and into chapter 13, where Paul says, Repay no one evil for evil....Beloved, do not avenge yourselves! Yet the Apostle proceeds to tell us in chapter 13 and v. 4, without any hint of contradiction, that the state is the God ordained means for the restraint of evil, But if you do evil, be afraid; for he (i.e., the State, the Magistrate) does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. The Lord Jesus is taking his audience back to the original meaning of God's law. He is dealing with inward attitudes of the heart with its propensity to harbor grudges.

The key words of our Lord Jesus in this passage are the contrast He makes repeatedly, “You have heard that it was said....But I Say to You.” This is not a contrast between law and grace, but rather the removal of the externalization of God's law and to deal with inner attitudes of the heart, which was always God's intention.

You have heard that it was said, "You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy."
But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

The command to love your neighbor is a continuation of God's law from the beginning (e.g. Lev. 19:18, ‘You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.’). But no where in the OT were the people of Israel ever commanded to hate their enemies - that was an addition of the teachers of Jesus' day who had corrupted the original intent of the law. As Lev. 19 goes on to tell us, they were to be kind to the poor and the stranger, leaving the edges of their crop fields unharvested to provide for these. The teachers of Jesus' day had said, "love your neighbor," but had omitted the words, "as yourself." They were to be kind, generous, and merciful to the poor and the aliens from the covenant people of God. Jesus was correcting the corrupt tradition, of "hate your enemy," which is no part of God's original law. An example would be Ex. 23:4, “If you meet your enemy’s ox or his donkey going astray, you shall surely bring it back to him again. “If you see the donkey of one who hates you lying under its burden, and you would refrain from helping it, you shall surely help him with it.

The law of God, was crystal clear with respect to its native injunction, that God’s people were to be merciful, to be kind, to do good, to love their enemies who hated them! Our Lord Jesus was/is correcting the false interpretation of God's law.

We know that Jesus does not contradict the Law of God, but if i read these two example's does it not look like, that Jesus is coming with a new Law. I don't believe it's a new Law, but i still don't understand why Jesus takes a different explanation of the law ? These verses has been used by dispensantiolist and John Reisinger against the moral law as binding.

Any help would be apreciatted !

I hope I've shown you that Jesus was not coming with a new law; rather, He came with the true interpretation of it.

Blessings,
DTK

-----Added 4/18/2009 at 07:37:31 EST-----

Was it John Stott who spoke about this sermon as kingdom life in a fallen world?

I don't know what Stott called it, but Sinclair Ferguson has an excellent little book, titled, Kingdom Life in a Fallen World.
 

ColdSilverMoon

Puritan Board Senior
Stuart and Pastor King have pretty much said it all, but I just wanted to re-iterate that there is never a command to "hate your enemy." The Pharisees had inserted this as tradition, but it was never a part of the Law.
 

jambo

Puritan Board Senior
i
Was it John Stott who spoke about this sermon as kingdom life in a fallen world?

I don't know what Stott called it, but Sinclair Ferguson has an excellent little book, titled, Kingdom Life in a Fallen World.

Yes, it was indeed Sinclair Fergusons excellent book Sermon on the Mount that that was subtitled 'Kingdom Life in a Fallen World'. John Stott's Message of the Sermon on the Mount is subtitled 'Christian Counter Culture'. Both those books are 4 feet away from my PC. Why didn't I just stand up and look instead of relying on an increasingly unreliable memory?
 

Mayflower

Puritan Board Junior
Ralph, did you begin to listen to any of those sermons to which I pointed you in your other thread? You'd be surprised how helpful they might be, particularly concerning what Jesus means by law, fulfill, and the subjects of the divisions between moral, civil, and ceremonial.

Dear Josh,

Thanks, i will download them and i defently will listen and study it!

Can anyone explain me now the difference and similarities between the Law of Moses and the Law of Christ ?
 

Casey

Puritan Board Junior
There is a helpful lecture (mp3) by Poythress on the law and how the coming of Christ has fulfilled the law in specific ways. It's called "Theonomy and the Use of Old Testament Law." He doesn't talk much about Theonomy. It's available free on the WTS site (or try this link). I'm pretty sure this is a summary of a section of his "Shadow of Christ in the Law of Moses," which would probably be another helpful book to add to the heap.
 

Manuel

Puritan Board Freshman
Jesus is refuting wrong interpretations of the law transmitted verbally by the pharisees, scribes and doctors of the law of His time, that's why He says "you have heard that it was said..." instead of "it is written..." all these examples are an explanation and elaboration on this statement:

Mat 5:20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

The "righteousness" preached by the scribes and pharisees was a mere compliance to the letter of the law and not to the spiritual implications. Jesus taught that his interpretation was wrong, we must look beyond the letter and go to the spirit of the law, we must go beyond that which is forbidden and find that which is taught positively by the law.

Matthew Henry
Christ having laid down these principles, that Moses and the prophets were still to be their rulers, but that the scribes and Pharisees were to be no longer their rulers, proceeds to expound the law in some particular instances, and to vindicate it from the corrupt glosses which those expositors had put upon it.

John Gill
not to the Israelites in the time of Moses, but to the ancestors of the Jews, since the times of Ezra; by the elders, who were contemporary with them; and who by their false glosses corrupted the law, when they recited any part of it to the people;
Albert Barnes
But it is more probable that Jesus here refers to the interpreters of the law and the prophets. He did not set himself against the law of Moses, but against the false and pernicious interpretations of the law prevalent in his time.

John Calvin
21. You have heard that it was said. This sentence, and those which immediately follow, are connected with what we have just considered: for our Lord explains more fully, by minute instances, by what tortuous methods the Pharisees debase the law, so that their righteousness is mere filth. It is a mistake, however, to suppose that this is an ἐπανόρθωσις, or correction of the Law, and that Christ raises his disciples to a higher degree of perfection, than Christ could raise a gross and carnal nation, which was scarcely able to learn first principles. It has been a prevailing opinion, that the beginning of righteousness was laid down in the ancient law, but that the perfection of it is pointed out in the Gospel. But nothing was farther from the design of Christ, than to alter or innovate any thing in the commandments of the law. There God has once fixed the rule of life which he will never retract. But as the law had been corrupted by false expositions, and turned to a profane meaning, Christ vindicates it against such corruptions, and points out its true meaning, from which the Jews had departed.
 
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Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Ralph, you asked,

“Can anyone explain [to] me now the difference and similarities between the Law of Moses and the Law of Christ?”​

In a nutshell, the Law of God given through Moses required a perfect obedience man was unable to keep, and thus this Law, although holy and good, brought conviction of sin and was unto condemnation and death, in that it could not give life (Romans 7 and 8).

The Law of Christ, while upholding the Law of Moses (Jesus Himself rendering a perfect obedience to it), brought in the law of the Spirit of life, included in which were the substitutionary atonement, the imputation of Christ’s righteousness, the regeneration of believers, all accomplished by the grace of God through the gift of faith (regeneration preceding faith).

In other words, what the Law of Moses could not do through the inability of fallen human nature (Romans 8:3), we being made new creations in Christ, the law of His Spirit could and did fulfill the righteousness of the Mosaic Law in us (Romans 8:4).

Thus Jesus could say,

Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he. (Luke 7:28; see also Matt 11:11 ff.)​

This means that “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:2) has lifted us into a spiritual state unknown to the Old Testament saints, though they were indeed regenerated and sealed with God’s Spirit as are we, and like us they lived by faith. Yet they did not have conscious union with Christ in His death and resurrection (Romans 6), nor in spirit were they seated with Him in heavenly places, as we are (Eph 2:5, 6).

Thus (again) Jesus could say to His disciples – highlighting the difference between His law and Moses’ –

Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see:

For I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see the things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear the things which ye hear, and have not heard them. (Luke 10:23, 24; see also Matt 13:16, 17)​

Those under grace are indeed blessed, for we see in clarity what those under Moses’ law saw but dimly. And what is it we see? The King: His Person and work.
 
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Mayflower

Puritan Board Junior
Ralph, you asked,

“Can anyone explain [to] me now the difference and similarities between the Law of Moses and the Law of Christ?”​

In a nutshell, the Law of God given through Moses required a perfect obedience man was unable to keep, and thus this Law, although holy and good, brought conviction of sin and was unto condemnation and death, in that it could not give life (Romans 7 and 8).

The Law of Christ, while upholding the Law of Moses (Jesus Himself rendering a perfect obedience to it), brought in the law of the Spirit of life, included in which were the substitutionary atonement, the imputation of Christ’s righteousness, the regeneration of believers, all accomplished by the grace of God through the gift of faith (regeneration preceding faith).

In other words, what the Law of Moses could not do through the inability of fallen human nature (Romans 8:3), we being made new creations in Christ, the law of His Spirit could and did fulfill the righteousness of the Mosaic Law in us (Romans 8:4).

Thus Jesus could say,

Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he. (Luke 7:28; see also Matt 11:11 ff.)​

This means that “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:2) has lifted us into a spiritual state unknown to the Old Testament saints, though they were indeed regenerated and sealed with God’s Spirit as are we, and like us they lived by faith. Yet they did not have conscious union with Christ in His death and resurrection (Romans 6), nor in spirit were they seated with Him in heavenly places, as we are (Eph 2:5, 6).

Thus (again) Jesus could say to His disciples – highlighting the difference between His law and Moses’ –

Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see:

For I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see the things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear the things which ye hear, and have not heard them. (Luke 10:23, 24; see also Matt 13:16, 17)​

Those under grace are indeed blessed, for we see in clarity what those under Moses’ law saw but dimly. And what is it we see? The King: His Person and work.

Thanks alot for that helpfull comment!!!
 
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