Today's Reading: Romans 13:8-14
What might make you uncomfortable:Christ's standard is not lower, but higher than the Old Testament Law.
In the Old Testament, God gave the Hebrew people a list of rules. The law was "It was given alongside the promise to show people their sins" (Galatians 3:19, NLT). The law was EXTERNAL. It dealt with actions, not attitudes. It brought no personal transformation but instead served as tutor, teaching people through punishment the right and wrong way to live.
When Jesus arrived on the scene, He said something interesting. "I have not come to abolish the law but fulfill it" (Matthew 5:17). Today, in the New Covenant, we live under a different standard, Jesus' standard.
Jesus removed the EXTERNAL standards of the Law after He fulfilled it. Acts 15 describes the Council of Jerusalem, in which the early church decided that all the law but some key points were no longer relevant to Christians. Today, we live by a different law. The law of love.
Jesus flipped the law upside down and challenged people on their way of living. Rather than focusing on actions, He focused on intention, on attitude, on motive, on the thoughts and meditations of the heart. He said that to lust was the same as adultery and that to be angry was the same as murder.
Jesus' impossible rule was this: "Love your neighbor as yourself." Sounds easy right? Think again.
The call to love is impossible to accomplish without Christ. We no longer have permission to fake spiritual maturity and produce a counterfeit holiness. Instead, now God judges our every intention.
Thankfully, the Bible says that we are able to "clothe ourselves with Christ" (13:14). Just as Adam and Eve were clothed of their nakedness by sacrifice in Genesis 3, today we too are clothed by the sacrifice of Christ. His sacrifice is the way of love. Accepting His gift of salvation is the way to achieve this impossible standard.