In one sentence...twenty-three words, Jesus sums up the entire Law of Moses, which consisted of 613 commands.
Included in these 613 commands where the Ten Commandments and two great commandments, which were to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and to Love others as you love yourself."
In this one sentence, all of the Law of Moses is summarized. This sentence, spoken by Jesus, is found in Matthew 7:12:
“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”
What an amazing teacher Jesus was!
He takes the entire Law of Moses and the Prophets and summarizes them into one simple sentence. We know this sentence as The Golden Rule.
A simple sentence, yet not so simple to live by...
...actually impossible to live by!
This one sentence sentences the entire human race to death.
It is because we fail to measure up to the Golden Rule. We fall short of it...every single day.
Think about it.
Since the Golden Rule summarizes the Law of Moses and the Prophets, including the two great commandments and Ten Commandments into one sentence, and the Bible teaches that we have all broken the Law of Moses, and the punishment is death...then then Golden Rule condemns us all to death.
Let’s take a closer look at this.
First, let’s look at the two great commandments and then the Ten Commandments to see how well we measure up to the requirements of the Law of Moses.
Let’s start with the two great commandments. Two questions:
Questions #1: Do we really love God with ALL our heart, soul, strength, and mind?
Questions #2: Do we really love others as we love ourselves?
If we are honest, the obvious answer is “No”.
Some may say they try to obey the two great commandments. But that is not the requirement. That would be like saying to the police officer after being stopped for speeding in a school zone:
“Well I try to drive the speed limit.”
However, trying is not obeying. Trying does not fulfill the law. Trying is failing to obey...which is failure to fulfill the law.
Someone may try to obey the two great commandments, but he will fail...and fail miserably.
We all fail miserably.
We do not even come close to obeying these two commandments. We are all guilty...deserving of death on these two commandments alone.
Now let’s move to the Ten Commandments. One question:
Do we obey the Ten Commandments?
If we are honest, the answer is “No”.
According to the Bible, all of us have broken the Ten Commandments in our hearts (desires), head (thoughts), and with our hands (deeds) (Romans 3:9-20). Consequently, we are deserving of death
We put other things before God...that is breaking commandment #1.
We covet in our hearts through jealousy and envy...that is breaking commandment #10.
By breaking commandment #1, we break the entire law.
By breaking commandment #10, we break the entire law.
The truth is, we are law breakers! We lie, we cheat, we dishonor our parents, etc...
Jesus said if we have anger in our hearts toward another person, we are murderers. He said if we have lust in our hearts for another person, we are adulterers (Matthew 5:21-28).
Someone may say, “Well I try to obey the Ten Commandments.”
But if that person is honest, he would have to say he fails at obeying them. As a matter of fact, he would have to say that the more he tries to obey the commandments, the more he sins (Romans 5:20).
If this person sincerely tried to obey the commandments of God in his heart...that is his desires, in his head...that is his thoughts, and with his hands...that is his deeds, he would come to the same conclusion of the man in
"The more I try to obey the law, the more I sin. Who will rescue me?"
And that is exactly what the Ten Commandments were designed by God to do...convince us of and condemn us to death for our sin for the purpose of leading us to Jesus for salvation (Romans 3:21-25; Galatians 3:19-26).
So if the Golden Rule is a one-sentence summary of the Law of Moses, then, according to the Bible, we are all guilty of disobeying...breaking the Golden Rule. The Golden Rule condemns us to death.
The Golden Rule seems simple...it is. But the problem is that we can’t follow this one simple rule. We fail at treating people the way we want to be treated.
At our core, the human race is selfish. Every day we treat others differently than how we want them to treat us.
Consequently, the Golden Rule renders us all guilty.
So why did Jesus give the Golden Rule?
To understand the purpose of Jesus saying, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets”, we must understand the context in which he said it.
Jesus was speaking to Jewish people who were awaiting the arrival of the Messiah and the establishment of the Kingdom of God (Heaven) on earth, which the Law and the Prophets foretold were to come.
The people understood that to enter the Kingdom, righteousness was required, and the standard for righteousness was the Law of Moses, which included the great commandments and Ten Commandments.
Jesus told them that the righteousness required to enter the Kingdom of Heaven must surpass that of the Pharisees (the self-righteous religious people of Jesus' time), by going beyond external righteousness behavior to internal righteousness of the heart and mind.
The righteousness required was the very righteousness of the Father. The great commandments and Ten Commandments were the perfect reflection of the righteousness of God (Matthew 5:20).
To simplify to his Jewish audience the great commandments and the Ten Commandments, Jesus told them, “So
in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”
Look closer at Jesus’ summary of the Law of Moses and the Prophets...perfection is required when Jesus said, “...In EVERYTHING you do…”
This means everything...every desire, every thought, and every deed must be exactly how we treat others based upon how we want to be treated by them if we have any hope of entering the Kingdom of God.
No room for failure!
This one-sentence summary of the Law and Prophets must have shocked the Jewish people.
With this one sentence, Jesus was dashing the hopes of his Jewish audience, and ours too, of ever entering the Kingdom of God based upon morality and religious activity. Their only hope of entering the kingdom would be God’s grace freely given in Jesus.
So who entered the Kingdom of God?
It was the prostitutes and tax collectors. They were the "poor in spirit" who entered the kingdom of God (Matthew 5:3; 21:31).
They recognized their sinful condition and received God’s grace by trusting in Jesus.
And who failed to enter the Kingdom?
It was the Pharisees who rejected Jesus' assessment of their sinful hearts. They refused to admit their sinful condition, but instead prided themselves on their self-deceived obedience to the Law and the Prophets, which was no obedience at all.
So what have we discovered about the The Golden Rule?
It condemns us all to death.
The question is will we admit our sinful condition and accept God’s grace through faith in Jesus or will we pride ourselves in our self-deceived morality and religious activity by thinking that following the Golden Rule will somehow gain us entrance into God’s kingdom.