March 30, 2011

Matthew 5:17 and Its Historical Importance (Part 3)

If you've followed my blog for some time, then you've seen this graphic before, so I'll ask you to excuse the repetition, but it's probably the most important notion I've posted.  In a nutshell, what it says is this: The intent of Matthew 5:17 was not to affirm the Mosaic Law, since Christ countermands it in several telling passages that follow the verse.  I also believe it's clear from the discourse, that although He doesn't destroy the Ten Commandments, Christ does render them obsolete. 

In addition, by comparing His gospel to the requirements of Leviticus, Jesus actually implies three laws: One that conforms to the Mosaic Law, one that conforms to the gospel and another that conforms to neither standard.  This is how they shake out.  (Please read them in the context of what Matthew chapter five says). 

As I've said before, to assume that the Ten Commandments are all we are required to observe misses the point of what Christ tried to say.  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 crucial, but I've never heard it 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?  In my next posting I'll try to show how our Christian fundamentalist culture has primarily ignored the higher law. 

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