If you chose to form a society which had no absolutes – what kind of society would you have? Well with absolutes to guide you what you would be left with is a society based upon relativism.
Let me give you an example. Let’s say that parent “A” steals some money from parent “B” because family “A” really needed the money to provide for themselves food.
And so because parent “A” was motivated by a real need, it was o.k. for him/her to steal.
Now those of you reading this would naturally say – that’s crazy it is still wrong to steal – taking what belongs to someone else without their permission is completely wrong by any standard. Ah, but in a world where there are no absolutes it is not wrong – it is just relative.
Relative to what – relative to how parent “A” sees right from wrong. And that is where we come to Matthew 5:17-20.
In his book titled, The Interaction of Law and Religion, Harold Berman, professor of law at Harvard, develops this thought more. He writes, “…when men break away from the idea of an authoritative religion and even from the concept of God, they break away from the possibility of absolute truth.”
We Need an Anchor
A society which departs from God becomes adrift on a sea of relativism without any sure point with which to anchor itself to. There is no unmovable point of reference, if you will, only an ever changing horizon of experience from which to draw upon in making decisions.
Jesus had come rocking the boat of the religious leaders of His time and in that process had come to be thought of as being against the Law or the word of the Prophets which were recorded in the Old Testament. Here in these verses He sets the story right when He says He did not come to destroy them but rather to fulfill them. As we look at the Old Testament we see images, blueprints, of what the real thing was to look like. Through the coming of Jesus to Earth we now have a living fulfillment of what those Old Testament images were pointing to. The book of Hebrews goes into this much deeper as the author of that book ties the entire Old Testament together in the reality of Jesus.
Jesus and the Word of God are to be the anchor points both of the individual and of society; once either of those depart from that absolute they risk drifting toward destruction. May we fix ourselves upon the solid Rock of Jesus Christ and His Word and may that and that alone be the yardstick with which we evaluate our lives and our actions.