Matthew 5:17-20 – “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” (KJV)
‘Jot’ is a transliteration of
iota, the smallest letter of the Greek alphabet, and corresponding to yôḏ, the smallest letter of the Hebrew alphabet. ‘Tittle,’ in older English (.i.e., KJV) meant a stroke above an abridged word, and thus any minor (least) stroke of the pen. New Bible dictionary (3rd ed., p. 615). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
My Musing – James, in his Epistle, puts it this way: For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it (James 2:10, NIV 1984). For those of us (all of us) who consider some transgressions as more serious than others, this might seem a bit hard to understand. But think of it as using a chain with different size links to tow a car. It does not matter which link is broken (big or small), the car being towed will be separated from the car doing the towing. So goes the saying that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
Putting these two verses (Matthew and James) together then, means even the slightest transgression (sin) is enough to separate us from God. Jesus did not come to abolish that truth. If He did, what would become of God’s righteousness? Rather He came to fulfill it. Grace does not abolish, it fulfills. So then, there was no sin so small (law) that Christ did not have to die for it, and no sin so great (grace) that He would not die for it. God’s righteousness and mercy were linked together at the cross by grace and none of these links (righteousness, grace, mercy) can ever be broken. Heaven and earth may pass away, but not these. The ability of God to remain righteous and to extend mercy is made possible by grace that links them together. This was accomplished when Jesus died on the cross for our sins (big links, little links) and rose from the dead. The so-called “missing link” that scientists have been searching for is grace. What’s so amazing about grace? Just everything.
My Advice – For those that think that their sins are too small to need Christ’s forgiveness, think again. For those that think their sins are too great to receive Christ’s forgiveness, think again. There is room at the cross for all, for the ground is level at the foot of the cross. If you do not know His grace, see my musings under the section “The Born Again Experience.” The links can never be broken, but first they need to be linked.