Matthew 5:37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.
I was visiting another country and noticed heavily armed police standing on almost every block. To me it was a bit alarming, but the friend I was visiting saw it completely different. When I asked him how he felt about armed police being almost everywhere he said it made him feel safe.
Both our views show an underlying reality about law and the enforcement of law: it is evidence of corruption. My friend was comforted because he felt protected from the threat of harm. I was alarmed because I was among people who must have officers with shotguns standing on every street to keep them from committing crimes.
This is Jesus’ point when He said, “for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.” He was speaking of the need to make people seal an agreement with a solemn oath to keep them honest. This need is evidence that “evil” is prevalent in a culture not the opposite. The culture Jesus was living in was proud of their extensive laws and brutal law enforcement, but Jesus was proving to them that righteousness is not at the end of that path.
Some folks think the more laws and enforcement we have the better our society will be. But that is upside down thinking. This thinking is evidence that serious corruption already exists, not the opposite. It is also evidence of a fatalistic view that the people we live among cannot be restrained by any other means, and therefore our culture is heavily slanted toward corruption. I am not arguing that it should or can be different, just pointing to the truth Jesus was communicating. The idea that law will bring a culture to righteousness is evidence of a deeper corruption: a misunderstanding of who God is and how this world works.