Matthew 5:17-20

Matthew 5:17-20

Words affect us. The same words can cause joy and sorrow. A couple of weeks ago several hundred million people watched a football game called the Super Bowl. Late in the game the announcer proclaimed one word that caused happiness and despair. He said “Interception.” All those rooting for the team that got the interception rejoiced. All those rooting for the team that gave up the interception mourned.

Or say a politician’s name in a group of people. Some might moan. Some might light up. Some might scowl. Some might get excited. The same word or phrase produces different responses. So let’s try this with another word today. I’d like to pay attention to your reaction when you hear this word. You might not react outwardly but inwardly you might experience a response. I’d like you to be aware of this response because it can affect how you hear this message today and your entire Christian walk.

So here’s the word. “Law.” How do you respond to law or a rule? Some of us might respond positively. We maybe have a cooperative nature. We might be quick to conclude that if someone came up with a law or rule, they likely put thought into it. Or we don’t like confrontation so we’ll just go with the rules. Or we think that laws help people get along and keep things in order. So we see value in them.

But others of us might respond quite negatively to law. We hear “law” or “rule” and conclude “that restricts me. I don’t like restriction!” Or “I don’t like following other people’s rules.” Or “rules were made to be broken.”

How do you personally respond to law – Positively? Neutral? Negatively? Now each of these responses could be appropriate in certain situations. But following each response to an extreme point can lead to problems. People who are positive toward law can become legalists. They strictly adhere to a law emphasizing more its letter than the spirit or intention behind the law. They love obeying rules and like to ensure that others do the same. Christians who trend in this direction may even believe that as long as you follow the rules or laws of God, you are right with Him.