“If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments” (Matthew 19:17).
Are we saved by keeping the Old Testament Law? By keeping the commandments?
In our earlier installments on this chapter, we pointed out that if all we had on the subject of divorce were these words–especially Matthew 19:9–we would conclude that anyone divorcing “without cause” is an adulterer, the only remedy for which would be another divorce. However, no scripture is of private interpretation, the Bible itself says, meaning among other things that we should not build our doctrine on one verse in isolation. Take the full teaching of Scripture on a subject.
And we tried to point out that the whole of Scripture makes it clear that a sin forgiven is gone forever, and adulterers are no longer such when the benefits of Calvary are applied. “Such were some of you,” says I Corinthians 6:11. A most blessed phrase!
In the same way, if our Lord’s instructions to the “rich young ruler” were all we had on the subject of the Old Testament Law, we would gravitate to His saying “If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments” (Matthew 19:17) and be sentenced to a lifetime of endless frustration in our attempts to do something that cannot be done. But we have the rest of the Lord’s teachings as well as the epistles to the Romans and Galatians. And of course, we have the 15th chapter of Acts where that very question was on the table before the church leaders.
To keep our discussion here brief–always a good idea but one which I struggle with at times!–I want to reference just one Old Testament text which knocks this out of the park.