Read Matthew 5:17-20.
Many people today want to believe that morality can be democratized, that if enough people believe some perverse action is acceptable that it will no longer be immoral. But that is not how the universe works. In the end, there is only one opinion that matters. There is only one Judge. His name is the Lord God Almighty. And He requires nothing short of perfect obedience to His laws and commandments.
Thankfully, righteousness before God is not a matter of legalism.
Friends, this is why Jesus came. He came to authenticate, to fulfill, and to complete the Commandments (see Matthew 5:17). Jesus is the only man who was able to keep all of the Ten Commandments all of the time. He came to show us that the Law actually points to Him. In fact, the entire Old Testament directs our gaze to Him. From Genesis all the way to the book of Malachi, everything that has been written points us to Jesus.
You may be thinking, But if Jesus came to fulfill the law, then why do we still need it? You wouldn't be alone. There are many people today who would like to do away with the Ten Commandments. They want to focus, instead, on the love of God.
That sort of thinking breaks my heart. It is an incomplete picture of the Gospel. You see, all of God's law is a mirror that tells us we are sinners whose eternal destiny is separation from God in hell. It tells us we are in desperate need of the only true Savior, who obeyed God the Father perfectly and who, because of His great love, died a horrifying, gruesome, lonely, and shameful death on the cross to atone for our sins. He is the only way we can make it to heaven—by His blood shed for our forgiveness.
Jesus said, "Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven" (v. 20). At first, this is a terrifying statement, for we all know the Pharisees were meticulous about the commandments of God—so exacting that they even tithed from their spice rack (see Matthew 23:23). Thankfully, righteousness before God is not a matter of legalism. Instead, it's a gift flowing from the grace of God. It's a righteousness that can only be imparted to us by God's perfect Son, Jesus Christ.
Prayer: Jesus, thank You for fulfilling the law for me—for giving me Your righteousness. I know it is only by pleading Your blood over me that I am made new and can enter the eternal presence of God in hope and joy. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them" (Matthew 5:17).
Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef's sermon series Appropriating the Happiness That Is in You: WATCH NOW