Saturday, December 13, 2008

Jesus Fulfills the Law

[A few days ago my daughter Amber asked me “How did people go to heaven before Jesus died”. The answer I gave her was simple, the same way we do by faith in God. We have faith that Jesus is the savior, who delivered us from the judgment of the law. The Old Testament saints had faith that God would provide a way to fulfill the law. But the transition from the law to grace is actually a wonderful look at how God worked out his plan for us.]

Matthew 5:17-20 (New King James Version)

17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.

[It easy to think of the Law as the beginning of God’s relationship to men but that is not the case.

Galatians 3:17 And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect.

430 years before the law there was the promise God made to Abraham “I will be your God, and you will be my people”. The Law did not replace the promise, but established a standard of righteousness that Jesus would have to live up to.]

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.

[The smallest part of the smallest letter (Greek iota) of God’s law was guaranteed to be fulfilled.

Luke24:44 Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.”

Colossians 2:16 So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, 17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.

The substance of the Law, what the law was really teaching us was that we need Christ. We need the savior, we cannot be reconciled to God by our own works within the Law.]

19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

[Jesus turns his attention to teachers warning those who fail to uphold the righteous standards of the Law will lose any reward they had earned as teachers.

Mark 12:38 Then He said to them in His teaching, “Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces, 39 the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts, 40 who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.”

On the other hand he elevates those who practice and teach righteousness.]

20 For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

[The Pharisees considered themselves to be the standard for righteousness concerning the Law. But in Mathew 15 Jesus condemned them for substituting their traditions for God’s Law. So here Jesus is illustrating the need for redemption to enter the kingdom heaven. In other words man’s attempt to be righteous by his own efforts is not enough.]

Galatians 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.”{Deut. 27:26} 11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” {Hab. 2:7} 12 Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.” {Lev. 18:5 } 13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree” { Deut. 21:23}), 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

[So here we see God’s plan laid out for you from the Promise, to the Law, to Grace. Jesus completed the promise God made to Abraham “In you shall all the nations of the earth be blessed”, he fulfilled the Law in his body, then he sacrificed that body for us that we might inherit his righteousness by Grace. But whether you lived under the Promise, under the Law, or under Grace; your connection to God was always by faith.]

<< Ephesians 2 >>
® Translation

1 You were once dead because of your failures and sins. 2 You followed the ways of this present world and its spiritual ruler. This ruler continues to work in people who refuse to obey God. 3 All of us once lived among these people, and followed the desires of our corrupt nature. We did what our corrupt desires and thoughts wanted us to do. So, because of our nature, we deserved God's anger just like everyone else. 4 But God is rich in mercy because of his great love for us. 5 We were dead because of our failures, but he made us alive together with Christ. (It is God's kindness that saved you.) 6 God has brought us back to life together with Christ Jesus and has given us a position in heaven with him. 7 He did this through Christ Jesus out of his generosity to us in order to show his extremely rich kindness in the world to come. 8 God saved you through faith as an act of kindness. You had nothing to do with it. Being saved is a gift from God. 9 It's not the result of anything you've done, so no one can brag about it. 10 God has made us what we are. He has created us in Christ Jesus to live lives filled with good works that he has prepared for us to do.

11 Remember that once you were not Jewish physically. Those who called themselves "the circumcised" because of what they had done to their bodies called you "the uncircumcised." 12 Also, at that time you were without Christ. You were excluded from citizenship in Israel, and the pledges God made in his promise were foreign to you. You had no hope and were in the world without God [atheist]. 13 But now through Christ Jesus you, who were once far away, have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 So he is our peace. In his body he has made Jewish and non-Jewish people one by breaking down the wall of hostility that kept them apart. 15 He brought an end to the commandments and demands found in Moses' Teachings so that he could take Jewish and non-Jewish people and create one new humanity in himself. So he made peace. 16 He also brought them back to God in one body by his cross, on which he killed the hostility. 17 He came with the Good News of peace for you who were far away and for those who were near. 18 So Jewish and non-Jewish people can go to the Father in one Spirit. 19 That is why you are no longer foreigners and outsiders but citizens together with God's people and members of God's family. 20 You are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets. Christ Jesus himself is the cornerstone. 21 In him all the parts of the building fit together and grow into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 Through him you, also, are being built in the Spirit together with others into a place where God lives.

[God’s plan is complete in us when we respond in faith to the work of Christ. Allowing God’s spirit to write his Law in our hearts, then doing works worthy of righteousness. Demonstrating God’s Love to the world, by becoming witnesses to the life changing power of God. Living together as a family of God, being built into the temple of God. helping one another, and sharing Christ with those who are willing to listen.]

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