Sunday, March 1, 2015

Understanding the Book of Matthew

We are going through the book of Matthew in the Chat Room. There are some things that I needed an entire post so I can explain this important book better. I learned this information about the book of Matthew from Michael Pearl who I think is an awesome Bible teacher. His clear teaching taught me why we are no longer under the Law and made this book much easier to understand. As a a highly intelligent Christian man who is a Jew by birth, Michael has spent many hours every day for many years studying the Word of God. He believes the KJV is the best version of the Bible because it best tranlates the words of the original languages in as similar a word order as possible to what was originally written.

Matthew was written to the Jews who were still living under the Law since Jesus hadn't died yet. One of the main purposes of Matthew was to show the people their need for a Savior. We must take it in the context that it was written.

Jesus teaches many very hard things. He told the people that God would not forgive them if they refused to forgive others. He told them to cut off their hands and feet and pluck out their eyes if these things caused them to sin. He commanded them to forsake their families so they "shall inherit eternal life." If we don't sell all that we have and give to the poor, we won't inherit eternal life, as Jesus told one young man. He said that lusting after someone was the same as adultery and that being angry with your brother is murder. He narrowed the Law to the extreme so people would see their desperate need for a Savior and how far every single person is from the perfection a Holy God demands. He wanted them ALL to understand that they had sinned and couldn't possibly fulfill "every jot and tittle" of the Law, so He fulfilled it for all who believe.

There are people that tell me they only live by the red words in the Bible, Jesus' words, because He only talks about love. Yet, many of Jesus' words have no grace in them, no forgiveness of sins, just the Law and a very narrowly defined interpretation of the Law. If they really obeyed what He said, there would be a lot of people walking around with missing eyes, feet and hands, no family and no possessions. Paul is the one who thoroughly explains all that Christ's death and resurrection accomplished in his writings; mostly in Romans and Hebrews. Context is vital to understanding God's Word, and many of the Words of Jesus were showing our incapacity to fulfill the law apart from a Savior. 

Yes, Jesus wants us to forgive others but if a mother saw her child brutally murdered by the Nazis and could never forgive them but loved the Lord dearly, she would go to heaven. If our hands, feet or eyes cause us to sin, we have a Savior who paid the price for our sin. ALL of our sins {past, present and future} have been forgiven. Jesus wanted them to understand how much God hates sin. No, we don't have to sell all we have to gain eternal life but we must worship God and Him alone by believing in Him in order to have eternal life; for with God ALL things are possible. If lusting was the same as adultery, every man would stand guilty of adultery. If being angry with a brother was the same as murder, we would all be murderers. Jesus wanted them to know that God cared about their hearts and that even their thoughts and condition of their hearts condemned them. They needed a heart transplant. He came to give them a new heart! Everyone who calls upon His name can be His disciples without forsaking their family. He calls us to love and care for our families, but we MUST believe in Him for eternal life. 

He made a way for all of us by showing us that there was NO way we could ever attain eternal life without Him. When He was crucified, we were crucified. When He died, we died. When He rose again, we rose with Him. {Colossians 2:11, 12} He has put His Spirit within us. We have everything we need for life and godliness. His commands aren't burdensome. ALL of our sin is forgiven. Wow! What a Savior. All that He calls us to do is to believe in Him and His finished work, for He said, "It is finished." Now, walk with Him. He died to free us from sin and the Law, walk in the freedom that He has provided for us. 

For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, 
one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, 
till all be fulfilled.
Matthew 5:18