Today's Word of Encouragement
JESUS AND THE LAW
Friday, June 05, 2020
Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them (Matthew 5:17).
This is not the venue for a detailed study of Jesus and the Law, the Law and grace, or the Christian and the Law and grace. The Christian would do well to understand the relationship between the Law and grace in Scripture and in his/her own life.
The ‘Law’ refers to the Torah, the Pentateuch, the five Books of Moses, Genesis through Deuteronomy. The ‘Prophets’ refers to the written words of the men God sent to reveal Israel’s sins, to compel the people of God to repent and return to Him, and to announce judgment upon those who refused to do so. Together, the Law and the Prophets constitute the authority of God in the entire Old Testament (the Law came first, the Prophets came last, hence the whole of the Old Testament).
Jesus said He did not come to ‘abolish’ (loosen down, take down, destroy) God’s authority as revealed in the Old Testament. Rather, He came to ‘fulfill’ (fill full, complete the design, accomplish what was intended) in them.
There are three aspects to the Law of God: ceremonial (religious), judicial (civil; governing), and moral (natural law; the principles of the Ten Commandments). Scripture shows that Jesus completed the design of all three. Jesus appeared to two disciples walking to Emmaus, and, beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself (Luke 24:27). The ceremonial and judicial aspects of the Law were realized in Jesus. These are no longer binding upon Christians (the ‘shadow’ has been consumed by the ‘reality’).
The moral aspect of the Law, however, was confirmed and remains unchanged and applicable. Why? Because 1) it exposes our sin and unrighteousness, 2) it restrains the sinner from being totally consumed in his evil, and 3) it reveals the process and progress in sanctification.
The Law was never meant to save a person. It was intended to point a person to his/her need for salvation. That’s why Jesus concluded this section with the words (v. 20), For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Righteousness from our complete obedience to God’s authority doesn’t exist. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). That’s why God’s grace is so necessary. Only grace through faith in Jesus Christ, who fulfilled God’s Law, can save the sinner from sin, judgment, and hell.
“Father, thank You for Jesus who completely surrendered to Your authority, fulfilled Your Law, and performed Your will in offering His life as a sacrifice for my sin. Thank you for Your gifts of grace and faith, without which I could never know Your or Your salvation. Amen.”