Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:19
In this verse, Jesus is specifically talking about teaching – and not teaching – the law. Given the discussions happening in our world about things like the mental illness of transsexuality, encroaching and expanding war, losing nationality, and two (or more) tiers of justice in our supposedly equal society, Jesus could have been speaking to us instead of to that crowd on the Mount of Olives. We mix and match wrong with right and no longer know the difference. The lie of relativism calls into question more and more long-held truths even as technology continuously improves our lives. We have more advantages at our disposal than any people ever, yet we are naked and afraid in the world because we’ve turned away from the Lord.
If we set aside God’s law and start teaching other things, we’re doomed. When our time comes, Jesus will call us to account for how we mistreated His holy laws. Until then, when we put aside God’s law, chaos ensues. First comes compromising on Biblical teachings, then comes shifts in doctrine. In the end, we will have moved ourselves far away from what Jesus said that He would seem unrecognizable: all while we happily flip the bird at His law.
Jesus’ brother, James, puts it another way. If we keep all law perfectly, we’ve kept it perfectly. If we transgress and violate only the smallest, most seemingly insignificant part of it, then we’ve violated the entirety of the law. All of it. Pin-prick a balloon with the tiniest needle and the whole thing explodes.
We need the law for boundaries.
Why don’t we adhere to things that are designed for our own benefit? That’s what God’s ancient laws did. They were all designed not to control Israel but to prosper it. God set boundaries around things that would threaten Israel’s relationship with Him. Israel, like any people, balked at that. After all, they were a free and independent people, right? Look back through all of the Old Testament history books and you see how there were very few times in history when Israel kept God’s law (and never perfectly). Most of the old kings of Israel and Judah were wicked and corrupt. Only a few even remembered that it was God who gave them power to rule. There were whole spans of Israel’s history where the law was completely forgotten, and they paid a terrible price for it.
That’s why Jesus said what He said. God will bless us when we observe the boundaries He sets for us, things like keeping His whole law intact in this Jesus-blessed age of grace.
For more reading: James 2:10, Matthew 5:20
Lord God, all praise to You for Your law, for the boundaries You set for us.