The Weightier Matters of the Law

The Law of God is vital to our walk with Him. It’s establishment reveals to us God’s standard of righteousness. Through it we know whether we are fulfilling His divine pleasure or if we’re “missing the mark” (cp. Rom. 7:7). When God gives us His word we cannot minimize one passage while esteeming another for “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16, NKJV). Knowing such to be true, how can there be “weightier matters of the law” (Matt. 23:23)?

As Jesus was finishing His years of teaching the arrival of God’s Kingdom, many religious leaders by this point were filled with rage against Him. They believed Him to be a destroyer of the Law of Moses (cp. Matt. 5:18). They believed Him a blasphemer (cp. Matt. 9:1-3). They wanted Him killed!

Jesus had enough. He was done teaching them in parables for the hardness of their hearts. Instead, He was going to set them straight and tell them what they so needed to hear but were too dull to heed; what they so needed to understand but were too blind to see. Instead of talking to them He warned the multitudes—who could discern for themselves—about themin front of them (Matt. 23:1), before condemning these leaders face-to-face for their hypocrisy (v. 13ff). The True Judge—with Righteousness in His breath—pronounced His seven woes (v. 14 was added to later manuscripts) against these “lawyerly” hypocrites.You see, these men placed great burdens upon others—in essence, “shut up the kingdom of heaven” (v. 13)—who wished to enter. In fact, while they zealously sought for people to be added to God’s kingdom, they would “make him twice as much the son of hell” (v. 15)!

So, what was their guilt of hypocrisy? They taught, but did not practice what they taught (Matt. 23:1). Further, they were “minoring in majors and majoring in minors”. In other words, they were meticulous enough to “pay tithe in mint and anise and cumin” yet neglected “the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith.

In a nutshell, Jesus lived and taught the need to keep whole law (Matt. 5:17). He understood, however, where the greater “weight” of the law resided: in justice, mercy, and faith(fulness). Justice would be exercised (v. 14; Mk. 12:40), rather than devouring the very ones in need. Mercy would be extended to “the guiltless” (Matt. 12:1-8). Living faithfully would demonstrate consistency between the demands upon others to keep the law of God, while practicing the very same thing.

Now, consider your walk with the Lord as a Christian and be careful that you keep all of God’s word (law), but be especially mindful of the weightier matters of the law.

– Mitch


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Getting Back to Christianity as Usual (A Post-Election Rant)

I don’t know about you, but I’m so glad the election is finally over. Regrettably, my candidate didn’t win. However, that is not really a big shock. I was going third party this year, so my candidate didn’t have a chance of winning to begin with.

I’m glad because maybe now we can get back to Christianity as usual. What I mean is for three out of four years, Christians recognize they shouldn’t jump on the bandwagon with the evangelicals. In those three years, we know that what is all important is Christ’s one true gospel that can save us (cf. Galatians 1:6-9). In those three years, we preach against social gospel, entertainment gospel, recreational gospel, health and wealth gospel, etc. In those three years, we understand that what is important is getting the message of Jesus out to people so they can be saved. In those three years, we just present the gospel and try to get people to believe in and follow Jesus.

However, every fourth year all that seems to change. In that fourth year, many Christians go into a political mania and begin to hold hands with the evangelicals acting like the most important thing we can do is get a certain candidate elected. In that fourth year, one might think the reason Jesus died was to make sure the USA had a godly, Christian government. In that fourth year, Christians start passing around e-mails and petitions about candidates and their spiritual views. In that fourth year, Christians throw out the Biblical teaching on malice and slander (cf. Ephesians 4:31) and run amok running down the candidate they don’t like.

But now it is all over. Maybe we can get back to Christianity as usual. Maybe we can get back to telling people about Jesus instead of our candidate. Maybe we can actually take some of the energy with which we support our political candidate and use it to spread the gospel. Maybe we can take some of that passion we had that caused us to vote on some issue and use it to get out and actually help people live godly lives.

If you voted, I’m sure you voted your conscience. I’m sure your motivation was godly and pure. I’m sure you did what you thought was right. However, let me assure you your vote was not really some major service to God. God has never asked for our vote. Now that we have done the easy work of voting, let’s do some of the hard work and get Jesus into the hearts and minds of our neighbors and friends.

Please, remember this. God has never asked us to spread His will politically. However, He has asked us to spread His will. Now that we have voted, let’s make sure we are really doing what serves God.