Jesus told them a parable: “The kingdom of God may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares also among the wheat, and went away. But when the wheat sprang up and bore grain, then the tares became evident also. And the slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sowed good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’ And the slaves said to him, ‘Do you wants us, then, to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No; lest while you are gathering up the tares, you may root up the wheat with them. Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, ‘First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn’” (Matt.13:24-30).
Tares are a grass very similar to the wheat, but fruitless and harmful to the wheat. Jesus explains that the good seed are the children of the kingdom of God, and the tares are the children of the evil one (Matt.13:18).
Men are what they think, and in this way the tares follow a certain doctrine in life, and the wheat, another. Jesus said, “Every one who hears these words of Mine, and acts upon them” (Matt.7:24). The acts and the works depend on the concepts, therefore the concepts, better saying, the doctrines, characterize the tares and the wheat. In the days of Jesus there were two basic teachings, that is, the Law and the Gospel. The Law covers the Old Testament and the Gospel the New Testament. Since the Law of Moses did not agree with the grace in the Gospel, let us consider the Law as TARES.
- The Law does not save anyone, for the apostle Paul says; “Because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin” (Rom.3:20). And the great apostle further said, “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished” (1 Cor.15:17-18). Everybody’s salvation was depended on Christ’s resurrection and not on the obedience to the Law; therefore the Law does not save. Many think that by obeying the Law they will be saved, but they are mistaken. THEREFORE, THE LAW IS THE TARES, for without the resurrection of Christ, the faithful to the Old Testament Law are lost.
- The wheat yields fruit to God, and the tares do not. When Jesus explained the parable of the tares and the wheat, he affirmed that the tares are the ones who bring scandal and commit iniquity. Now, the Law is the strength of sin, and not of holiness; therefore the Law is tares (1 Cor.15:56; Matt.13:41).
- Corruption resides in the flesh (1 Cor.15:50). The Law is tied to the flesh, and the Gospel is tied to the Holy Spirit, as Paul said, “For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh” (Rom.8:3). “However you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him” (Rom.8:9). “Who has become such not on the basis of a law of physical requirement, but according to the power of an indestructible life” (Heb.7:16). If the commandment is a carnal commandment, and the flesh opposes the Holy Spirit, the Law is tares (Gal.5:17).
- The wheat was sown before the tares (Matt.13:24-25). The gospel was also preached to Abraham before the Law. “And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘All the nations shall be blessed in you.’ So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer” (Gal.3:8-9). Jesus said about this, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day; and he saw it, and was glad” (John 8:56). Paul brilliantly closes the subject, saying, “What I am saying is this: the Law, which came four hundred and thirty years later, does not invalidate a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise” (Gal.3:17). The Law could not abolish the promise, but Christ abolished the commandments of the Old Testament, in the cross (Col.2:14-15). “For Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Rom.10:4). We conclude that the Law was the tares sown by the enemy to perturb and confuse. In the letter to the Hebrews we read that the Law of Moses is weak and useless and does not make men perfect for the kingdom of God (Heb.7:18-19).
- The Law promotes enmity between man and God. “[Jesus] by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God in the cross, by it having put to death the enmity” (Eph. 2:15-16). Now, if the Law of Jehovah made enmity between men and God, which Christ had to undo on the cross, the Law is tares.
- Men are saved trough faith, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9). “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law (Rom. 3:28). The works of the Law are the tares that make men proud, as we read in the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican in Luke 18:9-14. Paul declares that the Law does not take part in the faith, in Gal. 3:12; therefore the Law is tares.
- Christ takes men from sin, that is, he delivers from sin (Rom. 6:18). To make it very clear that the saved Christian does not sin, the apostle John says, “And you know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. NO ONE WHO ABIDES IN HIM SINS; NO ONE WHO SINS HAS SEEN HIM OR KNOWS HIM” (1 John 3:5-6). Let us read what Paul says, now: “For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death” (Rom. 7:5). And he goes on saying: “The sting of death is sin, and THE POWER OF SIN IS THE LAW” (1 Cor. 15:56). What horrible tares the Law is!
- The Law makes slaves and cowards. “Tell me, you who want to be under law, do you not listen to the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the bondwoman [Hagar] and one by the free woman [Sarah]. But the son by the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, but the son by the free woman through the promise. This is allegorically speaking; for these women are two covenants, ONE PROCEEDING FROM MOUNT SINAI BEARING CHILDREN WHO ARE TO BE SLAVES; SHE IS HAGAR” (Gal. 4:21-24). The son of Hagar, Ishmael, is the picture of the begotten through the Law, which are slaves. Paul says that these have the spirit of slavery, speaking to the believers of the New Testament. “For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, ‘Abba! Father!” (Rom. 8:15). And Jesus says that the slaves do not remain in the house forever; the son does (John 8:35). Christ wants to deliver from the tares of the Law to make you sons, as he is a Son. “AND YOU SHALL KNOW THE TRUTH, AND THE TRUTH SHALL MAKE YOU FREE” (John 8:32). “If therefore the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36).
- And we end by quoting the words of John once again, “FOR THE LAW WAS GIVEN THROUGH MOSES; GRACE AND TRUTH WERE REALIZED THROUGH JESUS CHRIST” (John 1:17). It seems that John is revealing that there is no truth in the Law—this is why it is tares; and that Jesus Christ and Jehovah have different ministries.
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira