A right attitude to the law

In a lengthy section that runs through to the end of the chapter, Jesus points out that it is not good enough merely to follow the teachings of the scribes and Pharisees. Realizing that people may think he is


in some way opposed to the law of Moses, Jesus explains at the outset that this is not so. He does not abolish the Old Testament or overthrow its authority. On the contrary he gives it fuller meaning. He is its goal, and it finds its fulfilment in him (Matt 5:17-18).

Jesus does not teach anyone to ignore the instruction of the Old Testament, but he makes it clear that even if they keep all the commandments (as the Pharisees claimed to do), they still will not gain entrance into the kingdom of God. Salvation is not by works. The righteousness that God desires cannot be achieved by keeping rules and regulations. It can result only from an inward change that starts with faith and repentance and is developed through genuine love and submission to Jesus (Matt 5:19-20).

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