So it goes ...
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17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
To me the answer is in the last lines:What is the Christian way of reconciling these
For me, I interpret that as saying that the Pharisees taught "the law", but weren't good in keeping it.For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
I’m not a Christian, but I have a response to that. Jesus was not saying that the Jews had to abandon their law, but other people don’t have to follow it to enter His kingdom.And then there is this passage of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:17-20)
Which I've always wondered about, since Peter's vision of eating food that's not pure by the commandments, and Paul's mission to the Gentiles seem to go counter this teaching by Jesus himself.
What is the Christian way of reconciling these?
Like @RJM, I've always seen is as a 'spirit and letter' thing.What is the Christian way of reconciling these?
Matthew concludes this saying slightly differently:" 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
So it's about being righteous (by the law) in spirit rather than letter. I imagine the challenge to Christians throughout the ages is where to draw the line between letter and spirit?Like @RJM, I've always seen is as a 'spirit and letter' thing.
I think Paul is making a pastoral point here, it's not about the meat, as such, it's about 'scandalising your brother' ... he's making a rule for the good of the community. He also hints at the injunction against meat being hardly the thing that will decide whether or not we get to heaven ... but that's my aside and I'd have to research that ...
..but God does not condemn anybody .. we wrong our own souls...if God is God then He is God of all, and it's a tough God that promises everything to the Jews and consigns the rest of the world to perdition!
Almighty God rewards the sincere .. in this life, and more importantly in the life hereafter.Also, of course, as a good Jew, you can't help wondering on the justice of a law that seems to condemn people who may be gentile, but are clearly honest, good, God-fearing folk!
What is meant by "the law"?
I think that this is the important question.
Also, of course, as a good Jew, you can't help wondering on the justice of a law that seems to condemn people who may be gentile, but are clearly honest, good, God-fearing folk!
Yes, I know what you were referring to.Regarding "the law", I was asking about the Torah Commandments, in the context of Jesus' teaching to fulfill them and to be "righteous" (a word with a specific set of meanings in the old testament) regarding them. Later developments in Christianity, such as the vision of Peter in Acts, and Paul's teachings on which meat was unfit for consumption by Christians, seem on the face of it to lead away from this teaching of "fulfilling" the law and being "righteous", and Roger and Thomas pointed out how fulfilling the law in spirit rather than letter was what Jesus was teaching his followers.