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GOSPEL COMMENTARIES


 

 

OLD VERSUS NEW TESTAMENT SPIRITUALITY

(Matthew 5:17-37)

Christ said that He came not to abolish the law but to fulfill it. He came to perfect the Old Testament. The Old Testament can be compared to a coloring book; it contains the black outline of figures but have no colors. We have to fill in the colors. Christ sort of filled up the empty colors of the Old Testament, thus making it complete and beautiful. 

Since the pharisees and the scribes were well observant of the Old Testament, Christ, in announcing the beginning of the New Testament, clearly stated that to go to heaven one must surpass the righteousness of the pharisees and the scribes. Otherwise, He says, we will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 

So, in the gospel, Christ began to enumerate what was considered Old Testament requirements and then showed how we can surpass these with the New Testament requirements. 

He began to state that, in the Old Testament, to commit murder, you have to kill someone. In the New Testament, he who gets angry without good cause is already guilty of murder. Of course, we can get angry with a good cause, i.e., to do good. But getting angry because of differences of opinion or because of money is getting angry without a good reason and, therefore, is murder. 

Before, if you have done wrong to others, you must make peace with them before offering your sacrifice. Now, if they have done you wrong, you must make peace with them before offering your sacrifice. If they refuse your peace, you no longer are at fault. 

Bringing one another to court was acceptable before. Now, lawsuits are considered as coming from the devil because they distract one who is seriously seeking God's kingdom. The devil and his cohorts use lawsuits to distract souls from seeking God. If this happens, Christ tells us to return to the adversary, the devil, everything that belongs to him...which is sin. Be sure you do not find yourself before the judgment seat of God, possessing something that belongs to the devil, i.e., sin. 

In the Old Testament, to commit adultery, a man must go with a married person. In the New Testament, a mere look at a woman with the desire to commit adultery is already adultery. 

In the Old Testament, divorce was allowed to some extent because of the hardness of heart of the Jews, so that an angry husband may divorce his wife. This was allowed to protect the wife from being killed. But in the New Testament, divorce or separation is absolutely not allowed except in the case of fornication or adultery. Meaning to say, if the husband commits fornication or adultery, the wife may leave him or send him away. But neither can remarry. Psychological incompatibility, irreconcilable differences, and all the other man-made bases for annulment are not acceptable to God and cannot be used as bases for separation, more so for annulment. Christ said so...regardless of what human and fallible priests say.

If the eye or the arm causes you to sin, pluck it out. The eye and the arm are representations of those close to you, your husband, wife, friend, etc...have nothing to do with them. Though you must be careful in defining "causes you to sin." Because, ordinarily, no one can force you to sin. But parents can cause their children to sin by not teaching their children or preventing them from learning the truth on the way to salvation. 

 

(updated 03-16-02)

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