In Matt. 5:17-20 Jesus was explaining that he did not come to abrogate but to fulfill the law—to unfold its true spiritual meaning. In verse 19, the thing spoken of, as commentators explain, is not "the practical breaking or disobeying of the law, but annulling or enervating its obligation by a vicious system of interpretation and teaching others to do the same; so the thing threatened is not exclusion from heaven and still less the lowest place in it, but a degraded and contemptuous position in the present stage of the kingdom of God—in other words, they shall be reduced, by the retributive providence that overtakes them, to the same condition of dishonor to which their false system of teaching has brought down the eternal principles of God's law." On the other hand, those who so teach that they exalt and honor God's authority, shall be honored in the kingdom in due proportion. It is therefore a rebuke to the outward and formal righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, who neglect the inward, vital and spiritual.