Luke 16:14-18 (ESV)
The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed him. And he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.
“The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone forces his way into it*. But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one dot of the Law to become void.
“Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.”
*Or everyone is forcefully urged into it. The NKJV has everyone is pressing into it.
In the middle paragraph (verses 16 & 17), Jesus makes an important declaration of the arrival of the kingdom of God.
John heralds the end of the age of the Law and the Prophets. Since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone forces his way into it. There is endless debate about the last part and the exact meaning is unknown.
But look at the context. The Pharisees were ridiculing Jesus and He replies with, “You are those who justify yourselves before men.” They justify themselves by the strict observance of the law. Jesus is saying that their whole system of justifying themselves is passé. What they really need is to be in the kingdom of God.
Next, He may be saying that the Pharisees are trying to force their way into it. Or He might mean they are being forcefully advised to get in. It really doesn’t make much difference though.
In verse 17, Jesus makes sure to prevent one possible misunderstanding. The Law isn’t being made void. This can be confusing as Christians are not compelled to observe every dot of the Law.
But Jesus didn’t void the law; He fulfilled it.
Nowadays, people aren’t even trying to get into the kingdom of God (forcefully or otherwise). The enemy has made great strides in discrediting Christianity, and many people are now genuinely disinterested.
This is simply a case of bad soil, and the right response is to work on preparing the soil. This aspect of evangelism doesn’t get enough attention. You can’t evangelize someone who isn’t ready, and lots of folks aren’t ready. So what’s a Christian to do?
The best answer is the simplest, just be a Christian. We always seem to be in a rush. God’s timing is slower than ours. A thing rushed is a thing botched. Just live as a citizen of the kingdom.
The kingdom of God is plenty attractive all by itself.
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