The Sharia of Christ in the GOSPEL
STATISTICS ON THE COMMANDS AND COMMANDMENTS OF JESUS
|Commands of Christ||Statements related to the Law|
He, who reads the commandments and instructions of Christ in the four gospels, and in the books of the New Testament, finds a beautiful variation in the recognition and expression of the judgments of Christ.
Matthew hew reported the doings and sayings of Christ, especially for his Jewish nation. He particularly emphasized Christ’s answer to Moses’ Law, and clarified that Jesus did not abolish, but fulfilled the law of the Old Testament. Thus, Jesus deepened and examined the commandments, which were revealed to Moses. He enlightened our subconscious with the spiritual law of Christ, and examined the designs and sources of sins, and consequently made clear to us that acts are not alone sins and transgressions against the law of God, but man is entirely disobedient to God and to his commandments, for out of the heart proceed evil thoughts.
Mark, who recorded the accounts and testimonies of Peter, wrote a little of the legal statements of Jesus, for Peter was a fisherman who was not familiar with the provisions of the law, but was an expert in the sea, in tempests, and in fishing. This is why we do not find in the gospel according to Mark but a little of the commandments and legal terms of Christ, or evidences of the development of the Mosaic Law.
Luke the Greek physician inquired about Christ’s reply to the Roman law and to the Greek conception of human rights. Luke the physician was particularly interested in the birth of Christ from the Virgin Mary, and his healing the sick with his brief commands. He attached great importance to Jesus’ attitude toward social problems such as poverty, wealth, the sin of the rich, and the poverty of the poor; searched for Jesus’ answers and parables about his judgments and orders concerning such questions, and recorded them.
Contrary to those three evangelists, John the mystic evangelist of the disciples of Jesus, was not only concerned with the provisions of the law, but he also recognized Jesus, his divinity, and his perspective concerning man in a spiritual way, and he kept many conditional clauses from the mouth of Jesus, such as:
"If you love Me, keep My commandments.” (John 14:15)
“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already… etc.” (John 3:18)
John did not put down the legal statements of Jesus as direct instructions, but he emphasized how Jesus made man responsible for his decision. In Jesus’ words about himself, we find the strongest tacit directions, like: "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life." (John 8:12) Therefore, he who follows Jesus shall have the light of life, and he who does not follow him shall wander aimlessly into darkness. We find in these words final judicial decisions without any plain instructions or commandments.
According to these truths in the four gospels, we emphasize in the above list:
First, the more than 1000 commandments and instructions of Christ, which are identified with the imperative. Besides these clear instructions, we add the legal statements, which are void of plain instructions and commandments, but include conditional sentences and spiritual judgments that are the borderline. Thus says Jesus in his beatitudes, as in his statement: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
He says, “Blessed are” about a group of people. He, as the eternal Judge, beatifies all those who become troubled in their hearts, repent, and ask God’s forgiveness. To those Jesus says that they belong to the kingdom of God as their legal right. This verse, as the following ones, contains the legal statements of Jesus, both tacit and plain, at the same time, for him who hears.
He, who examines carefully, observes that the legal statements are three times more than the commandments and instructions of Christ. Christ does not only make man a servant of him, demanding implicit obedience of him, but he also makes him responsible and free. He urges him to love him, or refuse him; to believe in him, or be hardened towards his love.
In the six pamphlets of the Law of Christ, we could not put down all the commandments and instructions, or conditional statements of Jesus. Yet, whoever wishes to find them may open the New Testament using the above lists.
The same events and the same words of Jesus are referred to in the three gospels of Matthew hew, Mark, and Luke. It is good to mention these truths in statistics, and to deduct them from the complete number of Christ’s commandments. But he who scrutinizes with care the sayings and sermons of Jesus within the three gospels finds that the expressions are utterly different that it can be said that Jesus had given these sermons repeatedly, using various expressions. As we consider these lessons about the law of Christ a first humble step towards presentation of the ordinance of the law of Jesus, we call all the readers, and those that are interested in this subject, to provide us with their information and experiences, also with the blessings they enjoyed through the law of Christ; and we are prepared to learn from all the brothers and sisters who committed themselves to the leadership of the spirit of the merciful Christ.
We emphasize, as we have already done in the first issue of this series, that the presentation of the law of Christ, and the knowledge of his commandments, do not, and will never save man, but on the contrary, they lead him into self-brokenness. The law of Jesus educates us, and leads us into sincere repentance. Our supposed self-righteousness must fall down, and our pride must die. This is the end and the knowledge of the law of Christ.
Our salvation from the judgment of God is accomplished in accordance with the law, through the atoning death of Jesus in our place. He could present his law in detail and in depth because he was, from the beginning, prepared to lay our sins on his shoulders, and bear our punishment in his own body; therefore, the depth of the law of Christ becomes clear by his atoning death, and his great love.
Jesus did not bring out his law, and ask us to observe it, that he might clarify to us our inherited sin and uncountable lawless deeds, nor did he die for us only to wipe out our iniquities; but he died for us to accomplish a certain purpose for us, and he gave us his Holy Spirit as a blessing and a result of his atoning death. By this dwelling, he gave us the power to give practical effect to love, to live for what he asks of us, and to comprehend the truth of God. The Holy Spirit is the heavenly power for walking in love and truth, as the Apostle Paul writes: “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:2) He who understands this verse in depth understands the end and aim of our serial lessons about the law of Christ.
Jesus did not throw a new law on us, and bind us with an inapplicable law, but he lived what he said, and fulfilled his law in his speech, in his behavior, in his atoning death, and even in his resurrection that the disciples might eye the meaning and application of the law. Thus, we do not follow a law written with dead letters, but Jesus himself is our law and our measure with which he will measure us in the last day. He is at the same time our Savior who draws, brings, and grafts us into his spiritual body that we may receive from him power and guidance to walk in his law and in communion with him. How wonderful that he put his new commandment and the constitution of heaven, through the Holy Spirit, in our hearts that the promise of the Old Testament might be accomplished in us: “I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more." (Jeremiah 31:33-34)
The Holy Spirit who dwells in those who are justified in the name of Jesus creates in us a living conscience that we may walk circumspectly, overcome continuously the selfishness, which dwells in our blood, and abide in the love of Christ. The Holy Spirit is the power and the law of God at the same time. This is why we find in the law of Christ our righteousness and our everlasting life. Blessed is he who walks simultaneously in the power and the law of Christ, for he lives in heaven though he is still on earth.