Day 156: Attempting to Enter the Kingdom by Force

Luke 16:14-18 :

The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they scoffed at him. He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts. For that which is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God. The law and the prophets were until John. From that time the Good News of the Kingdom of God is preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it. But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away, than for one tiny stroke of a pen in the law to fall. Everyone who divorces his wife, and marries another, commits adultery. He who marries one who is divorced from a husband commits adultery.

Notice that the Pharisees “who were lovers of money” were the ones being spoken to here. Jesus reminds us that what mankind thinks is great is actually horrible to God. This is very easy to see by comparing what the Bible says to what people say. People of the world praise those who can figure out how to live life successfully without knowing God. They give prizes to those who find out how to “prove evolution” or “bring peace” in the middle east by giving away God’s land. We give praise to movie stars who live like the devil and practice all sorts of strange lifestyles that God does not approve of. If we judge ourselves by men we might think we deserve the Kingdom of God because of that.

To understand this passage better, I believe it helps to pay close attention to the truth of the Gospel of Grace that had not yet been offered, but that Jesus knew He was to bring before anyone could enter the Kindom. Jesus says that people are trying to get into Kingdom but that the Law is still in full force. Then He uses an example of the law about divorce. People who divorce under the law are not allowed to ever get married again. It is important to understand this context because, I understand, that the whole point is to clarify a problem with getting into the Kingdom of God. I don’t believe that this was intended to be an exhaustive review of the law concerning divorce. There are many other parts of the Bible that need to be considered with this part. I know, however, that Jesus knew their hearts and am guessing that many of these Pharisees had had divorces and remarried and that it was clearly wrong. This would exclude them from the Kingdom of God based on the law.

No matter how hard we are “forcing” our way into the Kingdom that Jesus offers, we have this problem of sin that will continue to keep us out until this law is dealt with. Sinners can’t be in God’s Kingdom so somehow sinners have to become righteous. Force, however, was not working not working, even for the most “righteous” of those in Israel.

We know that by Jesus death, He would pay for our sins and give us a new life in Him. No more were we to be trapped in our own sin under the law. It isn’t that the law is not still there, it’s that it no longer applies to those who are saved by Jesus because its demands have been met and a new power is given. We now follow “the law of Christ” because we are already in the Kingdom. We don’t press to get into it anymore, we are to live as those who belong to it.