On The Chosen: Jesus Is Not the Law of Moses. He is Far Better.
Recently, The Chosen posted an image of the actor who plays Christ with a line from season 3 that is supposedly a “mic drop” moment for the show’s producers. It shows the character responding to one of the Pharisees by saying, “I am the Law of Moses.” While many flocked to the post in support of the “mic drop,” many others expressed how flatly unbiblical this is. They rightly said that Jesus is not the Law, but that the Law instead reveals the righteous standard of our thrice holy Lord. Likewise, they were right to say that Jesus came to fulfill the Law in His perfect, active obedience to it all His earthly life.
Contrary to the expression of infamous pastors like Steven Furtick, the active obedience of Christ means that He in no way “violated the Law” out of love. More importantly, the active obedience of Christ is a vicarious obedience. We think of the vicarious substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ, meaning that He died in our place as our Substitute, and paid the wrath that we deserved. In the vicarious obedience of Christ, Jesus lived in perfect obedience, likewise, on our behalf. He fulfilled what we could not do: Jesus obeyed the Law, and due to His active obedience, and His passive obedience on the cross, we actually gain the benefit of being counted righteous before God. This is the doctrine of imputed righteousness, which is an alien righteousness—a righteousness not of our own, but Christ’s. This is important, so hang with me.
As we come back to the “mic drop” moment of season 3 in The Chosen, this becomes all the more nefarious. In fact, nowhere in Scripture does Jesus say to anyone, “I am the Law of Moses.” In the book of Mormon, however, you will find such a statement in 3 Nephi 15:9, “Behold, I am the Law, and the light. Look unto me, and endure to the end, and ye shall live; for unto him that endureth to the end will I give eternal life.” That alone should give people enough pause on the show, owing to the fact that Mormonism is a false religion that teaches a contrary gospel to the gospel of our Lord. In short, Mormon doctrine holds that it is your active obedience that will please God in the end, and earn your salvation.
2 Nephi 25:23 states, “For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” (emphasis mine). Often this verse from 2 Nephi is used in conjunction with Moroni 10:32 to give clearer meaning, which says, “Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God” (emphasis mine). It is quite important to notice the all-important temporal modifiers to these Mormon scriptures, because they explicitly teach that grace is a commodity earned only after one has exhausted their own spiritual muster.
The LDS Bible Dictionary puts it like this:
“This grace is an enabling power that allows men and women to lay hold on eternal life and exaltation after they have expended their own best efforts. Divine grace is needed by every soul in consequence of the fall of Adam and also because of man’s weaknesses and shortcomings. However, grace cannot suffice without total effort on the part of the recipient. Hence the explanation, ‘It is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do’ (2 Ne. 25:23)” (p. 697).
But what does the Bible say of all of this? It is bupkis. Rubbish. Ultimately, it is damnable doctrine. Romans 3:10-20 lays out the plight of mankind so incredibly clearly that it leaves anyone without a source of comfort in their own ability to earn grace. Likewise, Ephesians 2:1-10 displays not only the hopelessness of those born under the dominating power of sin—but it lifts up the reality that we are saved “by grace through faith…and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Eph. 2:8-9). The good works which we walk in were prepared beforehand for us by the Father (Eph. 2:10), meaning that even our good works are a production of this grace in us. In other words: even our active obedience to Christ is a display of the riches of God’s grace. They are not what produces salvation, but a production of salvation.