Some of you know that my fiance and I are intent on reading through the whole bible together. The current plan is to read one book of OT then do an NT book then a Psalm then back to OT and so on and so on. We've already done the first OT book which was a really instructive and edifying time (including the initially intriguing chapter 38).
More recently we've been looking at Matthew's gospel and I must confess that it has been somewhat hard-going given its unfamiliarity (of the 4 gospels I'm only barely au fait with Mark and know John's gospel a little bit and, I've been to theological college!).
In addition to my struggles of unfamiliarity. Another area where I have been challenged is in the way Matthew presents our adherence to the law as a good thing - something to be diligently embraced. Think for example of
Matthew 5:17-20 - "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. I tell you the truth, 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. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same 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. 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.
Matthew 7:12 - So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
Matthew Matthew 22:36-40 - "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" 37Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
Verses such as these have led me to wonder if evangelicals whilst trying to reiterate that salvation is all of grace alone, have unwittingly abandoned a key motif of Scripture namely, that nomos ("the law") is good?