Christ said that you can’t even enter the kingdom unless you become more righteous than the most holy men of his time. He went on to say that to be great in the kingdom we must observe and teach others to observe the Old Testament law. If we accept this as the true word of God, which it is, how is it even possible to fulfill this law?
I think a lot of people understand that faith in Christ’s sacrifice on the cross makes us righteous in God’s eyes, but how do we go on from there to observe and teach others to observe the law? It may be helpful to limit ourselves to the 10 commandments and the 2 greatest commandments that Christ referred to in his teachings. We can probably agree that the 10 commandments are a short list of standards which are holy and good, and which, if we transgress in any of them, we sin and fall short of the glory of God.
For argument’s sake, let us agree that if we break the 2 greatest commandments we also sin and fall short of the glory of God. For review, these 2 commandments are to love the Lord God with all your heart, mind, and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself.
We find ourselves in the exact position of God’s people in the Old Testament. How do we keep these commandments? My proposal is that if we surrender to Christ’s lordship, if we abide in him by keeping the faith and doing our best to walk in love, we will fulfill all 12 commands. Surrendering our lives to Christ on a daily basis for him to live in and through us fulfills the first of the 2 great commandments and the first 4 of the 10 commandments, and learning and following Christ’s instructions on how to treat others fulfills the 2nd great commandment and the last six of the 10 commandments. The whole New Testament is basically an instruction manual on how to fulfill all 12 of these prominent commands. It is not easy and is impossible with a lackadaisical attitude. It requires a fervent and whole hearted devotion to Christ and his Gospel.
To summarize: if we aim at keeping the law, we will miss Christ and also not be able to keep the law, even though we are trying very hard to keep it. If we aim at devotion to Christ, we will gain Christ and end up keeping the law, even though we are not focusing on keeping it. Our focus remains on Jesus, on pleasing him by obeying him and letting him live through us.