Did you know that Jesus actually intensified the Law. The Old Testament set an extremely high standard for how to live and act, but Jesus raised the bar higher still by revealing that people will be judged for more than just their actions. Let’s look at how Jesus made the Law even harder to keep.
1. Anger equals murder. “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire” (Matthew 5:21-22). Have you ever been angry and found out that it was unjustified?
2. Lust equals adultery. “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:27-28). Most men would admit to checking out a woman on occasion.
3. If part of your body causes you to sin, it must be punished. “If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell” (Matthew 5:29-30).
If we truly obeyed these verses, there would be a lot of Christians without eyes and hands!
If you could keep the entire Law, you would be an amazing human being.
Jesus made the Law, as difficult as it was to keep, even more difficult. Not only are you required to be perfect in your outward behavior, you also have to be perfect in your thoughts, intentions, and motives. Jesus commands, “…be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). This word “perfect” is the Greek word teleios meaning “nothing lacking, complete, perfect.” How can anyone ever fulfill this command?
The Law is impossible to keep. If you break even one of the laws, you might as well have broken every single one of them: “For whoever shall keep the whole law and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10). Once you decide to try to be righteous by keeping part of the Law, you have to keep the rest of the Law too—it’s an all or nothing venture.