16 "The law and the prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and every one enters it violently. 17 But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away, than for one dot of the law to become void. 18 Everyone one who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery."
Meditation: Do you view God's law negatively or positively? Before Jesus came and preached the good news, the law and the prophets were regarded as the final word of God. Jesus' good news brought freedom to the most unlikely of people-- tax collectors and public sinners. The scribes and Pharisees, however, had set up barriers to exclude such people.How did Jesus reconcile law with grace? For the people of Israel the "law" referred to the ten commandments or to the five Books of Moses, called the Pentateuch, which explain the commandments and ordinances of God for his people. The "law" also referred to the whole teaching or way of life which God gave to his people. The Jews in Jesus' time also used it as a description of the oral or scribal law. Needless to say, the scribes added many more things to the law than God intended. That is why Jesus often condemned the scribal law. It placed burdens on people which God had not intended. Jesus, however, made it very clear that the essence of God's law — his commandments and way of life, must be fulfilled. Jesus taught reverence for God's law — reverence for God himself, for the Lord's Day, reverence or respect for parents, respect for life, for property, for another person's good name, respect for oneself and for one's neighbor lest wrong or hurtful desires master us. Reverence and respect for God's commandments teach us the way of love -- love of God and love of neighbor. What is impossible to men is possible to God and those who have faith in God. God gives us the grace to love as he loves, to forgive as he forgives, to think as he thinks, and to act as he acts. The Lord loves righteousness and hates wickedness. As his followers we must love his commandments and hate every form of sin. Do you love the commands of the Lord?
Jesus teaches that righteousness involves responding to every situation in life in a way that fulfill's God's law, not just externally but internally as well. Jesus says that evil desires spring from the heart (Matthew 15:19). That is why the sin of adultery must be dealt with in the heart first. God's intention and ideal from the beginning was for man and woman to be indissolubly united in marriage as "one flesh" (see Genesis 2:23-24 ). That ideal is found in the unbreakable union of Adam and Eve. They were created for each other and for no one else. They are the pattern and symbol for all who were to come. Moses permitted divorce as a concession in view of a lost ideal (see Mark 10:2-9). Jesus sets the high ideal of the married state before those who are willing to accept his commands. Jesus gives grace and power to those who seek to follow his way of holiness in their state of life -- whether married or single. If we want to live righteously we must understand the intention of God's commands and decide in our heart to obey the Lord. The Lord writes his law on our hearts and gives us his power to live his way of righteousness and holiness. Do you trust in God's love and allow his Holy Spirit to fill you with a thirst for righteousness and holiness?
"Lord, begin a new work of love within me. Instill in me a greater love
for your commandments. Give me a burning desire to live a life of righteousness
and holiness. Purify and transform me that I may be fully conformed into
the likeness of Christ."