Have you watched the youtube video of John Bevere's preaching (which are edited excerpts of his sermon "Empowered by Grace") which I put up in my previous post? I really do not agree with a lot of the things he said in the sermon but, to be fair, the video consists of excerpts and maybe the context of what he said is not clear.
However, there is something that he said which really disturbs me. He quoted John 1:17 - "For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." and interpreted what Jesus said in Matt 5:21-22 and Matt 5:27-28 regarding the law thus: that the standard demanded by grace is higher than that of the Law.
In Matt 5:21-30, Jesus taught on the commandments of "Thou shall not murder" and "Thou shall not commit adultery":
21“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.
27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
JB says that under the Law, you have to do the deed to break the Law but under grace, you only have to want to do the deed and you are considered to have broken the Law. JB interprets Jesus' teaching this way because John 1:17 says grace and truth came through Jesus Christ, and therefore JB interprets what Jesus said as teachings under grace.
I disagree with his interpretation because the grace of God is not manifested in Jesus' birth into our world and His ministry on earth BUT rather the grace of God is Jesus' death, burial and resurrection - 1 Cor 15:2-4 "2By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. 3For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,". If Christ did not die for us, there is no grace for us. All the teaching, healing and casting out of demons by Jesus was all in vain.
The context of what Jesus preached in Matt 5 regarding the Law is that man has too low an estimation of the standard of the Law and Jesus illustrated how high that standard is; even the thought of sinning is already breaking the law but man has lowered the standard to the act itself (Matt 5:28).
That standard of the Law is so high that "if your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell." (Matt 5:29-30)
Now, if JB is to be consistent in his use of John 1:17, then what Jesus said in Matt 5:29-30 will be what is expected of us under grace! This is of course not correct! Jesus is showing us that it is impossible to keep the Law and therefore He has come to fulfill it for us, which is what He said in the very same chapter, Matt 5 in verse 17 - "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them."
Does Grace demand a higher standard than the Law? Yes, but not in the way JB interpreted. Grace's standard is LOVE and God empowers us to LOVE by filling our heart with so much of His LOVE that the LOVE overflows and we can't help but LOVE others - "We love because he first loved us." (1 John 4:19)
8Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who LOVES his fellowman has fulfilled the law.
9The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet," and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself." 10Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore LOVE is the fulfillment of the law.