Read Introduction to Matthew
Therefore whoever relaxes 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 does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments
The word “relaxes” means to loose, set free, untie. Here it carries the idea of putting aside or breaking. We cannot personally decide to abrogate any part of the Word of God that we do not prefer.
Jesus ranked commandments into “least” and greatest.
and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven,
Violation of God’s commands by teaching or practice places one at the bottom of the totem pole in God’s kingdom. This is especially true of teachers who abrogate God’s Word by systems of hermeneutics and theology.
but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Practice of the principles of the kingdom elevates one to high status in the kingdom. The issue here is establishing true principles by teaching and the application of principle to experience.
Those who teach principles of the kingdom will hold high status as well. There is a responsibility not only to do but also to faithfully teach principles from God’s Word.
PRINCIPLE: God does not give us the option to choose which commandments we want to teach or do.
APPLICATION: There is a proclivity to relax God’s standards either by teaching or practice. We want to explain them away in order to justify our sin. The “least of the commandments” is vulnerable to this thinking.
This passage does not sponsor legalism. Legalism functions by operation bootstraps, by self-effort. However, living under the principles of the kingdom is a way of life gladly embraced by grace. Christ ended self-effort to gain God’s approbation by personally fulfilling the law.
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believes. Ro 10:4