Did Jesus tinker with the law in Matthew 5 - and if so, how so?

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Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Hello,

Many baptists adhering to "New Covenant Theology" assert that Jesus gave a new law and expanded and modified/abrogated it in Matthew 5 ("But I say unto you...) instead of merely restoring the law to its spiritual nature and fighting against the additions of the pharisees.

But is the best quotes, links or arguments to counteract this way of thinking?
 

Poimen

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Note the difference between "it was said" and "it is written." The former is used in Matthew 5 to contrast Jesus' explanation of the law with the Pharisaical (oral or spoken) tradition. This is confirmed when we read the "it was said" statements coming on the heels of Matthew 5:20 which denounces the Pharisaical understanding of righteousness (instead of the law's understanding of righteousness).

The latter is never used in Matthew 5 to refer to what Jesus speaks against: He always uses it with the highest respect and love, as He says in His own words that He came to fulfill the law and not to destroy it (Matthew 5:17).
 

Bill The Baptist

Puritan Board Graduate
Jesus was not changing the law, he was simply pointing out it's true extent because his audience believed that they had kept the law. It is interesting to note that Jesus also did the opposite when he condensed the law down to just two commands. The point is that obedience is in the heart, not in actions, so if your desire is to gain favor by keeping the law, Jesus demonstrates that you have not even come close. On the other hand, if you truly love God and that is your motivation for obedience, then Jesus makes it simple for you.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Here is another response from them:

...although you do not specifically say Matthew 5:17-19, I assume that must be what you are referring to in saying that Dale Ratzlaff says that Jesus cancelled or abrogated the law.

What he actually says is that Jesus fulfilled the law and the prophets in His life, death, and resurrection.

If you read where he goes through all the verses in Matthew using the word "law", you see that the word "law" in these verses has to mean all of the Torah, not just the Ten Commandments, so if you hold that we must keep the law it would have to mean that we must keep all of it, including circumcision and animal sacrifices.
So, it seems that this person asserts that I must throw out all the law or else keep the ceremonial laws as well.

How would you answer?
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
Here is another response from them:

...although you do not specifically say Matthew 5:17-19, I assume that must be what you are referring to in saying that Dale Ratzlaff says that Jesus cancelled or abrogated the law.

What he actually says is that Jesus fulfilled the law and the prophets in His life, death, and resurrection.

If you read where he goes through all the verses in Matthew using the word "law", you see that the word "law" in these verses has to mean all of the Torah, not just the Ten Commandments, so if you hold that we must keep the law it would have to mean that we must keep all of it, including circumcision and animal sacrifices.
So, it seems that this person asserts that I must throw out all the law or else keep the ceremonial laws as well.

How would you answer?
So we must ignore all of the ethical teaching of the OT Scriptures, and start afresh with the NT Scriptures?

This isn't the teaching of the NT.

E.g.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work (II Tim 3:16-17, ESV)
 

AlexanderHenderson1647

Puritan Board Freshman
Note the difference between "it was said" and "it is written." The former is used in Matthew 5 to contrast Jesus' explanation of the law with the Pharisaical (oral or spoken) tradition. This is confirmed when we read the "it was said" statements coming on the heels of Matthew 5:20 which denounces the Pharisaical understanding of righteousness (instead of the law's understanding of righteousness).

The latter is never used in Matthew 5 to refer to what Jesus speaks against: He always uses it with the highest respect and love, as He says in His own words that He came to fulfill the law and not to destroy it (Matthew 5:17).
Well spoken, end of debate!
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
Papers by Greg Welty

Pergy, Go to the link above and Dr. Greg Welty has some great articles at the bottom of the page that will answer a lot of your questions. Jesus was addressing an Old Covenant people who were under that administration of the Covenant of Grace. The anti-type was before them but he hadn't fulfilled all of the shadows that the law provided to point to Him. So there was nothing that was abrogated yet. Even so the Laws that Jesus addresses in the Sermon on the Mount are the Moral law specifically. That isn't hard to see. Jesus sets us free from the shadows which were burdens and of a dispensation which wasn't as clear but was a means of grace and truth still. But he hadn't done it nor finished it as of the time of the Sermon on the Mount yet.
 
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