Law • Devotion 3

Law – Jesus – Law
Patrick Bicknell

A common misconception that Christians tend to believe is that we do not need the Law anymore. In one sense, this is true. We no longer need to fulfill the requirements of the Law to gain a right standing before God and be justified in the eyes of God. However, that does not mean Jesus came to abolish the Law or to contradict Himself. Instead, He teaches us a couple of principles about the Law and Scripture that is very important for us to see in this section of the Sermon on the Mount.

First and foremost, our great promise comes in Matthew 5:17 when Jesus says, “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.” When Jesus says “the Law or the Prophets,” He is speaking about the Old Testament. The Jews commonly used this phrase to encompass all of the Scripture that God had given them. Therefore, Jesus is teaching us that everything that Scripture had to say in the Old Testament was all pointing to Him. What is so amazing about Jesus saying He came to fulfill them is that He fulfilled all of the predictive prophecy, the moral and legal demands of the Law, and the penalty of the Law and Prophets. In doing this, He paved the way for salvation for all of us so that it no longer depended on our ability to be perfect, but only on His finished work.

However, He does not stop there. He does not say, “Well, I finished the work for you guys; go do whatever you want!” Instead, He emphasizes the importance of surrendering to God and obeying His Word. In Matthew 5:19, He says, “Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

The call to follow Jesus is not a call to find amazing grace, sweet forgiveness, and then continue living in our sin as if we have a get out of jail free card. The call to follow God is to obey Him out of a heart that has tasted and seen how great our Jesus is. The one who has truly been saved by the Gospel of Jesus Christ sees the fulfillment of the Law in Christ and the righteousness He provides and seeks to obey and follow the Word as He did. A quote that I read that perfectly sums up this passage of Scripture reads, “The law sends us to Jesus to be justified, because it shows us our inability to please God in ourselves. But after we come to Jesus, He sends us back to the law to learn the heart of God for our conduct and sanctification.”

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