At this juncture in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:17-21), Jesus is going to be revealing to us the true interpretation and intention of the law of God. By this point in time in the history of the nation, the rabbinical and oral interpretation of the law had become the “orthodox” interpretation. Not only is Jesus going to provide for us the correct interpretation, He is going to reveal to us that He Himself is the fulfillment of all of the Old Testament types and shadows. The Holy Spirit tells us that the Old Testament priests and sacrifices were but a copy and shadow of the heavenly things (Hebrews 8:5). The inability of the law to save a person or make them righteous in the sight of God is further revealed in Hebrews 10:1, where we read that: “The law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect”.
Concerned that legalism and mysticism would twist the pure gospel of the grace of God into a message of works, Paul warned the saints at Colosse to not allow anyone to judge them in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ (Colossians 2:16-17). The lie of the devil is that man can earn or deserve his or her salvation by keeping religious rituals and ceremonies. Paul the apostle was very zealous for God before he was born again. He would write about his impressive religious “resume” to the church in the Roman province of Philippi, in Philippians 3:5-6. But he would go on to make the glorious proclamation that he counted “All things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith” (Philippians 3:5-9).
Many people are seeking to establish their own righteousness before God while apart from faith in The Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 10:1-4). Many people think that if they have never actually murdered or committed the physical act of adultery, than they are not guilty of sin and stand right in the eyes of God, but nothing could be further from the truth (Matthew 5:21-30). May The Spirit of The Living God open our hearts and our ears to the truth concerning the saving grace of God that grants us His righteousness when we receive Jesus Christ as Lord. “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)