Freedom Day 10 Law & Inheritance: Digging Deeper

Digging Deeper Days...are a pretty big deal at GT!

We search God's Word together, ask questions as we read, dig around to find the original intentions at the time of writing, and then make some applications to our everyday lives.
Along the way, we hope you'll pick up some new tools to study Scripture and you'll see truth in a new and accessible way!
Dig In!

The Passage

Fridays are 2-for-1! Check out the other Journey Post, Law & Inheritance!

Matthew 5:17-20 English Standard Version (ESV)

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

The Questions

1) Why was Jesus being questioned as “abolishing the Law and Prophets”?

2) In what ways does Jesus fulfill the Law (what does that mean for me?)

3) What is meant by “least and greatest” in the Kingdom of Heaven and how does one attain “greatest”?

4) Verse 20 sounds like no one can enter Heaven. How is this true?

The Findings for Intention

1) Why was Jesus being questioned as “abolishing the Law and Prophets”?
Jesus was not a popular figure for the Pharisees and Sadducees, who were the ruling order for the temple. Jesus regularly called them out and saved His harshest words for them, accusing them of leading His people astray and holding them up to an impossible standard. The Pharisees and Sadducees were the upholders of the Jewish Law and the Prophets; they were the “law police” you could say. Because there was so much conflict between Jesus and these 2 groups, there arose the idea that Jesus had come to abolish Jewish Law and go against Jewish Prophets, which would have undercut Jesus as being God as He claimed.

2) In what ways does Jesus fulfill the Law (what does that mean for me?)
Jesus fulfilled every aspect of the Old Testament law when He lived on earth in human flesh; He followed every single letter of the Law and He did it flawlessly. There was no hint of mistake or error in the manner in which He lived out the Law. By living life perfectly according to the law, He fulfilled every single requirement with zero balance owing. You can think of it as 2 Lego pieces (sorry, #momofboys J) of the same color fitting flawlessly together. No apparent seam, one mold, one perfect filling of it. We could not fulfill the Law, but Jesus did. Eternal salvation is ours when we accept His fulfillment of the Law on our behalf.

3) What is meant by least and greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven and how does one attain “greatest”?
Verse 19 is admittedly a tricky one to understand. The “therefore” cues us in to what Jesus had been previously discussing about the Law and His fulfillment of it. Some cross-references here can give us a broader understanding of this passage, so check out 1 Corinthians 3:12-15 and Galatians 3:10. Jesus is saying that if anyone decides to build their life by attempting to reach the status of “righteous” by fulfilling the Law, then they will be the “least”. In other words, the Kingdom of Heaven will not even belong to them. They will not be saved. In contrast, Jesus goes on to teach that whoever upholds the Law and the fulfillment of the Law (Jesus Christ), and whose life matches what they teach about the full gospel, those are the “greatest” in the Kingdom. Those are the beloved of God. Those beautiful ones who neither ignore the Law nor their sin, but see Jesus as that perfect fulfillment of it. They accept Jesus as their Savior and teach others of the rich grace they have received.

4) Verse 20 sounds like no one can enter Heaven. How is this true?
This verse sounds so depressing at face value, but it shrieks with giddy freedom for the believer! Allow the cross-references (those little, italic letters next to the words in the verse) to bring greater understanding. For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.” (Romans 10:3) The Pharisees (and us, if we are honest), tried to establish their own righteousness, this resulted in not submitting to (accepting) God’s righteousness. We neither keep our souls safe nor reach righteousness, and in the process, are eternally condemned to hell. But, as Philippians reads, “in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith.” (Philippians 3:8-9). Praise God! We gain Christ, we gain salvation for our souls, we gain righteousness, and so much more by submitting to (accepting) that gracious fulfillment of the Law through Jesus by faith in Him!

The Everyday Application

1) Why was Jesus being questioned as “abolishing the Law and Prophets”?
As beautiful as grace is to the believing Christian, if we ignore solid truth in the process, ignore that there is a Law (and we fail it), ignore that Jesus does indeed call us to a life of sacrifice and deep love, then we have missed Jesus entirely. We have missed that He came to fulfill the law and the prophets, not go against them. One of the most crucial steps in going deeper in your relationship with Christ is seeing the Old Testament, the Law, and the Prophets as one, fluid, incredible story of redemption that ties flawlessly to the Cross, the New Testament, and yes, to you today! A great resource to explore this big story is Max Lucado’s “The Story”.

2) In what ways does Jesus fulfill the Law (what does that mean for me?)
Jesus didn’t have to pay a debt to the Law because He upheld it perfectly, but the same isn’t true for us. We owe a debt to the law because we cannot keep it. James 2:10 says that when we break one part of the Law, we become “lawbreakers”, guilty of breaking all of it. He offers to pay our debt with His un-ending perfection if we claim Him for ourselves, acknowledging our sin and hopelessness without Him. When we become His, the debt has been paid in full and we are no longer tied to fulfilling the obligation of the law, instead we are given a New Law that sums up every single other law: LOVE. What’s more is that we are given the power to fulfill this law through the gift of the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of us. There is Freedom here. No more impossible standard of perfection, but rather a call to radical love, fueled by a relentless God!

3) What is meant by least and greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven and how does one attain “greatest”?
“Attain”. The word is out of place when we talk about “greatest” in the Kingdom of Heaven. The only thing we must “do” for salvation is surrender to His grace and say “Yes!” to the endless love that paid our debt inflicted by our sin! The status of greatest in the Kingdom is given to those who simply say yes to Jesus, acknowledging the serious offense of our “lawbreaking” hearts, and then allow the Holy Spirit to make our life match our doctrine (what we have come to believe about Jesus). Does the rhythm of your life reflect radical grace? Are you extending that embrace of both truth and grace to others? Are you allowing the Spirit to access and transform your heart, mind, soul, and strength?

4) Verse 20 sounds like no one can enter Heaven. How is this true?
There is no greater “good news” than this….You, precious Sister, ARE SET FREE through the shed blood of a Savior who loved you enough that He REFUSED to leave you stuck in the mire of your sin or hopeless attempting to make your own righteousness day after tired day. No, He called you to more, He breaks your chains, He sets you free to dance in His love, His grace, his righteousness. Take this incredible truth and apply it to the weary, broken spots of your life and watch Him make you new!

Don’t miss today’s other Journey Study,Law & Inheritance!
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I Can Do That!

1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read through it (always more than a verse or two).
3) Write down your questions as you think of them.
4) Ask specific culture related questions and be ready to dig around for your answers. Google them, use www.studylight.org, or look them up in a study Bible and read the footnotes (click on the little letters next to a word and it will show you other related verses!). (www.esvbible.org)
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God in your everyday!

The Community!

Thanks for joining us today as we journeyed into Freedom Week Two!
Don’t miss out on the discussion – we’d love to hear your thoughts!

The Tools!

We love getting help while we study and www.studylight.org is one of many excellent resources.  Just type in the verse you’re looking at and Boom! It’s right in front of you in English and Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament), which are the original languages the Bible was written in.

Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Find super awesome stuff like “origin”, “definition”, and even all the different ways that single word has been translated into English! If you want to be geeky, you can even click the word and hear its original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!

Want to get more background on a word or phrasing or passage? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))

The Why!

Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.

In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!

Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.

Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus.
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Looking for other journeys from this theme?
See all past studies in Freedom!