Where the Scriptures Point

The Apostle John gives an account in his Gospel about how Jesus responded to those who had criticized Him for healing a lame man on the Sabbath (John 5). It’s a great illustration regarding the difference between His critics, those who live life looking to the law, and Christians, those who live life looking to Christ. The critics negatively responded to this particular healing because no work was to be done on the Sabbath, which is what the law teaches. However, Jesus (who is God) taught that the law (along with the prophets) depends on love (which is who He is, 1 John 4:8)…

Matthew 22:34-40 (HCSB)
“When the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they came together. And one of them, an expert in the law, asked a question to test Him: “Teacher, which command in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “ Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.””

Not only is love what the law depends upon, but love is that which fulfills the law…

Romans 13:8 (HCSB)
“Do not owe anyone anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.”

This is exactly what Jesus was demonstrating by healing a man on the Sabbath. He was demonstrating love, which does not break the law…

Galatians 5:22-23 (HCSB)
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

So, this raises a question…

Does this mean that the law is of no use?


When we violate the law, we then violate that which the law depends upon… LOVE!

When we steal, we violate love. When we commit adultery, we violate love. When we sin, we violate love (which is a violation of who Christ is). Since the law identifies ways in which love is violated, the law is still incredibly important! This must never be forgotten. However, we run into problems when we start to focus solely on living according to the law, rather than living according to that which fulfills the law… Christ (who is love). This is what Jesus rebuked, regarding his critics, after He healed on the Sabbath…

John 5:38-40 (HCSB)
“You don’t have His word living in you, because you don’t believe the One He sent. You pore over the Scriptures because you think you have eternal life in them, yet they testify about Me. And you are not willing to come to Me so that you may have life.”

The critics looked to the law for eternal life, rather than to Christ Himself. What they should have realized is that the scriptures pointed to Christ, not morality, because living a moral life alone does not give one eternal life. Only trusting in Christ does…

John 3:36 (HCSB)
“The one who believes in the Son has eternal life, but the one who refuses to believe in the Son will not see life; instead, the wrath of God remains on him.”

I came across a great quote which drives home this point, while listening to a Question and Answer session given at the University of Utah, conducted by Ravi Zacharias. Here’s what he said to the audience when describing why Jesus came…

“Jesus didn’t come into this world to make bad people good. He came into this world to make dead people live. We are dead to God. Being more moral is not going to… (he then paused)… D.L. Moody used to say, ‘If a man is stealing nuts and bolts from a railway track, and you send him to college, at the end of his education he will steal the whole railway track.'”

He concluded…

“Giving absolutes, is not going to change a person’s life. What we need to do is under the basis of the absolute, and that is where I think true communication of absolutes presupposes a worldview that needs to be in place.”

That which undergirds those “absolutes” is love (Christ Himself).

Paul would again remind the Romans about love and what it fulfills…

Romans 13:10 (HCSB)
“Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Love, therefore, is the fulfillment of the law.”

May we (Christians) always demonstrate love as Christ demonstrated love…

1 John 3:16-17 (HCSB)
“This is how we have come to know love: He laid down His life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has this world’s goods and sees his brother in need but closes his eyes to his need — how can God’s love reside in him?”

Godspeed, to the brethren!

The Q &A can be found here.

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