SOAP Devotional 2015-04-29
Scripture – Observation – Application – Prayer
“Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved. So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. “But I warn you—unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven! (Matthew 5:17-20 NLT)
The laws of the Jews are common!y divided into moral, ceremonial, and judicial. The judicial regulated courts of justice that were adapted to their civil codes. When their political structure collapsed, so did their judicial system. Jesus fulfilled the ceremonial law that imposed sacrifices to immune righteousness through the blood of lambs. What is left is the moral law or what could be called principles of morality. Christ in his resurrection empowers those who believe to live according to God’s moral law. We obey and teach others to do this, if we ignore these laws we minimize our effectiveness.
How could it be that our “…righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees…”? It is because we take on His righteousness by faith in His blood atonement for our sins. It is not that we keep His moral law, however, we will because he changes us and enables us to do so. Jesus fulfilled the ceremonial law, kept the requirements of the judicial law (although it was abused against him), and in keeping of the moral law himself fulfilled the moral law. With all that said, He, by His grace, continues to fulfill the moral law within the members of His body as we yield to Him in obedience.
Father, I thank you that you have imputed to me a righteousness that neither the teachers of the law, the Pharisees, nor myself could ever gain on my own. You have also empowered me to live within your moral code for mankind. Help me to live within your moral laws and for those times I have failed, I pray for your grace to continue to cover me.