Did I Contradict Jesus?

Christian, the keeper of the blog Free Thinking Joy, has accused me of contradicting Jesus:

In my remarks about the Ten Commandments, I have come to the conclusion that their real content can be summarized as “Treat others as you would like to be treated by them”, also known as the Golden Rule. Jesus, as quoted in Matthew 7:12, has put it like this: “Always treat others as you would like them to treat you, this is the law and the prophets.” By the way, “law and prophets” means not only the Ten Commandments but all the holy scriptures of the Jews at that time.

Surprise, surprise. Was Jesus a freethinker? In the eyes of the Pharisees, he certainly was. Now compare his “law and prophets” statement with Cory’s claim of the Ten Commandments as God’s absolute rules that have to be followed word by word. He seems to contradict his own master in this respect. (source)

I have not contradicted Jesus.  Christian has changed his assumptions.  I thought that we were dealing specifically with the Ten Commandments.  In that regard, they are Commandments, not suggestions, to be followed to the letter.

In the broader Christian theology, we are in an age of grace–we have considerable latitude in applying these practices to our lives.  Righteousness is not obtained by works of law, but by faith.  In that sense, the Ten Commandments can become the Ten Suggestions.  We follow God’s law to show Him honor, not because we are compelled to in order win favor.  Following the Commandments is the right thing to do.

About Cory Tucholski

I'm a born-again Christian, amateur apologist and philosopher, father of 3. Want to know more? Check the "About" page!

Posted on April 16, 2008, in Apologetics, Bible Thoughts, Theology and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I came across your discussion about the Ten Commandments with respect to Christians today. I believe we are not exempted from the Ten Commandments and they are not mere suggestions. This is not a theological or academic discussion. I would like to base the reasoning on the Bible itself and its authority for those who believe in it.
    Jesus Christ said He didn’t come to nullify the law but to fulfill it (Mathew 5:17). He reiterated the summary of the law by restating Deut 6:5 in Luke 10:27.
    Jesus Christ, in fact, did make the law more strict e.g. Matthew 5:27-30;
    “You have heard that it was said, ‘You must not commit adultery. But I say to you, anyone who stares at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
    So if your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into hell.
    And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away from you. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body go into hell.”
    Grace does not exempt us from righteous living. Jesus Christ said that not everyone who calls Him Lord, Lord will enter His Kingdom but only those who do the will of God. Matthew 7:21., Lk 6:46.

    Paul tells us in Romans 6 about changing our nature. Under the law, people
    did or did not do in order to become (or to please God) – it was all their effort
    and it failed. Under grace, we are and therefore we do or do not do.
    Paul starts verse 1, by asking shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?
    He answers “God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”.
    We ARE (supposed to be) dead to sin therefore we should no longer live in it.
    He further elaborates that (paraphrased)
    “Likewise we should reckon ourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
    And therefore we should not sin therefore reign in our mortal body, lest we obey the lusts thereof. ”
    We are saved by grace when we acknowledge Jesus as the Son of God, who received judgement on our
    behalf, and we also acknowledge His Lordship or His sovereignty in every aspect of our lives. His sovereignty implies
    our obedience and our trust in Him. Truly if we are in this state, we cannot sin intentionally. In fact the Bible (1 Cor 10:13)
    says that God will not allow a temptation above our ability to handle to come to us , and that He will always provide a way of escape. There may be unintentional sin e.g. If I tell you something that I believe to be true, which turns out to be false then technically, I would have sinned but since God judges the heart and therefore one can say that I have not sinned in principle.
    Let me conclude with Paul’s conclusion:

    “Rom 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?”
    “Rom 6:17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. ”
    “Rom 6:18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. ”

    The Ten Commandments are not mere suggestions. Under grace, they are the minimum standard. Look at what Jesus Christ said:
    “Mat 5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven”.
    The scribes and the Pharisees believed in upholding the Ten Commandments, therefore logically what does that mean for us?

  2. Jesus fulfilled the Law so that we don’t have to.

    I never suggested that grace exempts us from righteous living. What I said was that now we follow the moral code of the Law by choice rather than compulsion. It is an act of worship rather than a curse on us.

    On your parade of verses, you leave out Romans 10:4-10–

    For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?'” (that is, to bring Christ down) or “‘Who will descend into the abyss?'” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

    Also Paul writes in Romans “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (15:4).

    Have you ever read the book of Galatians? This passage is of particular interest:

    . . . yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. (Gal 2:16)

    And, “if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose” (Gal 2:21). Then:

    For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith. (Gal 3:10-14)

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