Weightier Matters of the Law

Dear Brethren,

What are the most significant guidelines for Christian living? When we first came into God's Church we began to learn of new matters. We learned that God said that we were to tithe ten percent. We also learned about God’s clean and unclean food laws. But, like the Pharisees of Jesus Christ’s day, we did not always learn to practice the matters of major importance. In fact, Jesus says that there are major matters that are of more gravity than the ones we had first learned. Jesus reprimanded the Pharisees:

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” (Matthew 23:23)

How well were we instructed and taught to practice the more decisive matters of judgment, mercy and faith – these ought ye to have done? Not that we were supposed to cease doing the less crucial aspects of food laws and tithing - and not to leave the other undone.

Have you ever noticed how when it comes to the weightier matters of the Law, Matthew’s list differs from that of Luke’s gospel? Why is that? It is because the messages of the gospel writers are cumulative. Notice that Luke does not mention mercy and faith, but he substitutes and adds the major component of the love required by God.

“Woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment, and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” (Luke 11:42)

We find then that practicing judgment, mercy, faith and the love of God are the weightier aspects of the Law of God. Since God declares these to be more important matters, we should focus especially on them. How do we practice judgment, mercy, faith and the love of God – the weightier matters of the Law?

How do we apply godly judgment with our fellow man? This is a most important question, because as Christians we are called upon by God to intervene in the lives of others – to help them to attain to eternal life. We are most definitely, "our brother's keeper." When a brother or sister stumbles, we must be willing to pitch in to help them regain their spiritual footing – but it requires discernment or judgment to know when to intervene. Jesus said, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” (John 7:24)

How important is it for a Christian to be merciful? Do we really know what mercy is, and realize our need for it? Does God have mercy and loving kindness for all mankind? How merciful is God? Because of our sins, justice would dictate our death penalty, but God's mercy allows us to live. What must we do to receive the mercy we need from God?

In His mercy, God forgives us – completely writing off our wrongs when we repent. “The Lord God is merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.” (Exodus 34:6, 7)

How do we practice faith or faithfulness with our fellow man? Most people have a duplicitous faith, which causes them to profess one thing and then live another way. They do not know the kind of faith of which Jesus spoke. Genuine and sincere faith is without any pretense, doubt, or hypocrisy. It is a belief system and conviction that is so real that it changes a person’s life, thoughts, and actions. The faith that Jesus Christ brings to us is one whereby we believe so whole-heartedly in His perfect way that we yield our minds and desires to the will of God.

How do we practice the love of God? Actually, the love of God is expressed in a two-fold love toward God and toward our fellow man. So, the first question then becomes, how does one go about loving God with our whole heart? And then, how do we express that love of God toward our fellow man? Where does True Godly love arise? “… the love of God has been poured forth into our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given unto us.” (Romans 5:5) “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” (1John 3:16)

When we learn to do these things – then we are living the weightier matters of the Law – judgment, mercy, faith and the love of God.


Sermon:  "Weightier Matters of the Law "
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