Law • Devotion 1

Thank You
Dr. Randy T. Johnson

“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

The Law was not enough. However, the Law is not irrelevant. The Law had and has value.

In Matthew 5:20, Jesus said, “For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” When Jesus said this, I believe several in the audience had a “jaw-dropping” moment. How could anyone be more righteous than the scribes and Pharisees? They tithed everything including spices (Matthew 23:23). Yet, it was not enough. In Mark chapter 10, a man asks Jesus about eternal life. Jesus responds by referencing a few of the Ten Commandments. The man confidently answers that he can check all those off on his list. Yet, Jesus then challenges him to sell his possessions and give to the poor. The man threw in the towel. He could not (or would not) live by that standard. Jesus even challenged Nicodemus (John 3) to be born again even though he was by all accounts a very godly man. While Nicodemus might have thought he was running the final lap, Jesus told him that he needed to start over.

Paul’s letter to the Galatians references the Law about 27 times. Galatians 2:16 says, “Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.” The Law was not enough and one cannot be saved by keeping the Law. Galatians 2:21 adds, “I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.”

Louis Barbieri wrote, “Jesus said He would fulfill the Law by obeying it perfectly and would fulfill the prophets’ predictions of the Messiah and His kingdom.” The Law set a standard that only God Himself could keep. Jesus did it and in doing so announced that He was the promised Messiah and Savior.

The Law was not enough. However, the Law is not irrelevant. The Law had and has value.

Jesus said, “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). Jesus fulfilled the Law. He did not ignore or demean it. The Law was not His enemy or even a hindrance for Him.

I like how Warren Wiersbe addressed the topic, “Jesus made it clear that He had come to honor the Law and help God’s people love it, learn it, and live it.” We too are called to holiness, but not as a means to salvation. Our good actions should be as a thank you to God for saving us (by grace through faith) and as a testimony to others of the changed life that Jesus offers.

“So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.” Galatians 3:24

Recent

Archive

 2022

Categories

Tags

no tags