Consider the Sermon on the Mount. An important implication of this defining discourse is its claim that there are higher and lesser laws. In Matthew 5, Jesus contrasts the Mosaic Law to His gospel in five telling passages that play upon the same theme. For example, in verses 21 and 22, we read:
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
- Actions that are inconsistent with either standard—let’s call this, “The Law of the Jungle”
- Actions that are consistent with the Law of Moses
- Actions that are consistent with the gospel of Jesus
To assume that the Ten Commandments are all we are required to observe misses the point of Christ’s most salient discourse. As CS Lewis says in, The Problem of Pain:
To disobey your proper law (i.e., the law God makes for a being such as you) means to find yourself obeying one of God’s lower laws: e.g. if, when walking on slippery pavement, you neglect the law of Prudence, you suddenly find yourself obeying the law of gravitation.The implication is extraordinarily important and scarcely ever noted. During our times of honest introspection, it’s not enough to ask: Am I obedient? Human beings have no choice but to be obedient. The more useful question is: To what am I being obedient, a lower or higher law?