Jesus, The Fulfiller Of The Law


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Matthew 5:17-20 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus Is The Fulfiller Of The Law

As Jesus speaks from the mountain to His Church He now addresses “The Law”. Our Lord is speaking of the Mosaic Law, the Law that God gave to Moses for Israel from Mount Sinai. As Messiah and the One Mediator between God and Man:

1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus

It is Jesus’ responsibility as God’s Representative to “fulfill” (πληρόω plēróō, pronounced play-ro’-o), but NOT “destroy” (καταλύω katalýō, pronounced kat-al-oo’-o) the Law of God. Over the years the Scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees have stood in the place of mediator, telling Israel “when God said this what He really meant was that“. The Scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees took God’s Law and twisted it, presenting it to the people in their image. As Jesus speaks from the mountain He says:

“I have not come as Messiah to dissolve or destroy God’s Law. I have come to (plēróō) “fill it up to the brim”, to give you not a humanist interpretation of God’s Word, but to tell you what the Godhead is saying.”

It is important that every person understand the Laws of the country they are inhabiting. The Law of any country

establishes standards
maintains order
protects the liberties and rights of citizens
and punishes offenders

Matthew 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

The Law was not redefined by any human teacher, whether liberal or conservative. Jesus said not one jot or tittle shall pass from the Law till all be fulfilled. The Law was written in the Hebrew language. The jot is the tenth and smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet, and it looks much like an apostrophe. The tittle is a tiny extension of a pen stroke, the addition of which changes the letter into another letter. What Jesus is saying is that not one tiny bit of the Law will cease. The Law of God must be fulfilled – and Jesus is the fulfiller. Jesus said:

Luke 16:16-17 The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it. 17 And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.

God told the Old Covenant believer:

Deuteronomy 6:1-7 Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it: 2 That thou mightest fear the LORD thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged. 3 Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey. 4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: 5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. 6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

The Jew was expected to DO the Law, not to redefine it.

But over time religion took God’s Law and twisted it, making it into that which God never intended. Jesus said the Law was until John the Baptist – the redefined Law of the religious leaders. That old redefined Law is no more. Christ now comes to fulfill – to give the most clear and truthful presentation of the Law – a Word from the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Jesus said:

Matthew 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Why Did God Establish The Law?
Was Anyone Ever Saved By Keeping The Law?

God gave the Law to Israel at Mount Sinai specifically because they would not follow Him by faith and love. God loved Israel and rescued Israel

Israel the nation actually began when a man named Abraham believed God – and God counted this for righteousness:

Romans 4:3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

There was no written Mosaic Law to follow when God saved Abraham (see Genesis 15:6). A person is saved not by keeping the Mosaic Law, but by believing in and surrendering to The God of Heaven. The Apostle says:

Galatians 3:6-8 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.

It was God’s intention from the beginning of time to save whosoever would believe in Him. No one is saved by keeping any Law. The Apostle Paul in quoting Habakkuk 2:4 said:

Galatians 3:9-14 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. 10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. 11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. 12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. 13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

The Law was given to an Israel who had hardened their hearts to the leading of God. The Law was given as a mirror to show us that we are sinners. The Law was given to convict us that we needed a Savior. Now the Savior has come. The Savior is speaking from the mountain. He is not erasing the Law, but He is fulfilling it.

Matthew 5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

The Law spoke to the Jewish nation declaring “You all need the Messiah, the Savior”. Rather than hear the message the scribes and Pharisees used the Law as a means toward salvation. They redefined the Law, but did not see Christ in the Law. The Law, with it’s animal sacrifices and circumcisions, reminded Israel daily that the nation as a whole needed the Messiah, the Christ.

Religion took the true nature of the Law
and remade it into man’s image.
Pharisees missed the point of the Law.

The Law said “You are a sinner”.
The Law said, “God loves you”.
The Law said, “You need a Savior, and God is sending One”.

When Jesus healed a crippled man at the pool of Bethesda, saying:

“Rise, take up thy bed, and walk”
(John 5:8)

Did the Pharisees praise God the Son for this wonderful miracle? No. They told the healed man:

It is the Sabbath day: It is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed!”
(John 5:10)

When a man with a withered hand needed to be healed, were the Pharisees pleased that Jesus healed him? No, for the Scripture says:

“{The Pharisees} watched {Jesus}, whether he would heal {the crippled man} on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him.”
(Mark 3:2)

When a woman with a spirit of infirmity for eighteen years comes to Jesus while He was teaching in the Synagogue, Jesus:

Luke 13:12-14 And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity. 13 And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. 14 And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day.

This poor woman was relieved of her suffering. God was glorified. The Messiah was revealed. And the Pharisee was indignant because Jesus healed on the Sabbath. Jesus told the Pharisees:

John 7:22-24 Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision; (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers;) and ye on the sabbath day circumcise a man. 23 If a man on the sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the sabbath day? 24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

Religion made the Law of God into a cold, heartless thing. The Law was given by a Loving God to a people that should have loved Him and one another. The heart of the Law of Moses is love to God, and love to others. The Apostle said:

Romans 13:8-10 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. 9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Our Jesus Fulfills The Law Of God

Matthew 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.

  • How does Jesus fulfill the Law? The animal sacrifices provided a teaching and a temporary atonement for sin. When Jesus came:

Hebrews 9:11-15 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; 12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. 13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: 14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

The Old Testament believer under the Law had to sacrifice an animal “without spot or blemish” to cover his or her sins. This was a shadow of the perfect and complete sacrifice of Jesus Christ. He came to this earth to be the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29, 36). Jesus fulfilled the sacrifices of the Law in Himself. We who believe in Him have our sins covered so that we can, with clear consciences, serve the Living God.

  • How does Jesus fulfill the Law? The Jew had a High Priest who made sacrifices for them. But Jesus fulfilled the Law in that He is our High Priest forever:

Hebrews 3:1 Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;

Hebrews 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.

Hebrews 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

The High Priests of Israel were sinners – as you and I are. But Jesus Christ is no sinner. He is God incarnate, the Son of God Who ever lives before the Father, representing us as His people.

  • How does Jesus fulfill the Law? The Mosaic Law had food laws that set Israel apart from the other nations, clean and unclean foods. The Bible says that with Christ coming these Laws are no more:

Mark 7:18-23 {Jesus} saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; 19 Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats? 20 And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: 23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

Are You Under The Law Of Christ
Or The Law Of God?

Our Lord Jesus fulfilled the Mosaic Law. However, this does not make the Christian lawless. We are under the Law of Christ, a law based on love. We are to love one another as Christ loves us. The Apostle said:

Galatians 6:2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

We who are saved are under the law of liberty. We are to obey God, to love God with all that we have, and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

James 2:8-13 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: 9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. 10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. 11 For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. 13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.

We who are born again by faith in Christ follow the leading of the Holy Spirit of God and love. The Scripture says:

Romans 8:1-4 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Beloved, you are either the Law of Moses or under the Law of Christ. If you are living your lives under the Law of Moses you will never see God. If you are living your life under the Law of Christ then you too, just as Abraham, will one day be with Christ in eternity.

Salvation is of the Lord.

Salvation is not of my works, but of Him Who loved me and gave Himself for me. Oh Beloved, if you are not loving as Christ demands, then you are not saved. But if He has saved you by His love, then He has planted love for God and love for others in your hearts. This is the proof of salvation. May we all have a real, saving faith in Jesus Christ our Lord!

In His name and for His glory. Amen!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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