Fulfilling the Law and the prophets
In the last of our mini-series on the Christian’s standing in regards to Old Testament law our key text is found in Matthew 5.17-18;
“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.
Clearly Christ had not come to rubbish all that had preceded him. However, by the same token, Jesus had not come to simply rubber stamp the Old Testament law making himself nothing other than a disciple of Moses. Through his life, death and resurrection Jesus had fulfilled the law and so, ever after, his people would stand in a new and different relation to the Law than they had done previously.
This is manifest in the six examples which Jesus latches on to show how his teaching compares with the law. For the sake of time we will just look at a couple of examples. No 1; “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire”.
Here Jesus takes the Law given through Moses and does something pretty radical- he massively extends it by redefining what murder is. It is no longer merely the act but the attitude behind the act!
No2; “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell”.
Here again Jesus is not content with simply stating that the act goes to the heart of the matter- adultery begins in the heart! Therefore whatever you need to do to avoid adulterous lust then you NEED to do and cut those temptations, as much as possible, out of your life.
I have no idea about you my reader but as I read Jesus’ words I know that in my heart I am a sinner. In my heart of hearts I am an adulterous murderer who has lusted and hated more times that I want to remember. As I write to you today I am so thankful that the Gospel tells me that God’s forgiveness is free and total for all who will come to Jesus in faith-
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”, 1 John 1.8+9
It is this forgiving and cleansing power of Jesus that I wholly trust in for time and eternity.