Monday, September 29, 2014

Jesus Christ Fulfilled the Law. We Don't Have to, Nor Could We.

This is the third post in my series on poor interpretation of the Old Testament and its impact upon the church.

In Matthew chapter 5 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. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished" (Matthew 5:17-18).

Is Jesus telling his followers that they are supposed to keep the OT law? Is Jesus saying that the law still applies? Is Jesus instructing his disciples to keep just part of the law? What is going on?

What is going on is that Jesus is saying that he has come into the world to fulfill the law. He is going to do what no one else has ever been able to do. He is the only one who could perfectly keep the demands of God's law. He did this because we cannot.

Throughout Jesus' life we see obedience to an infinite degree. He did not sin - ever. The only reason his sacrifice of himself was acceptable to his Father is because he was perfect. This allowed his atonement to be a substitutionary one.

When on the cross Jesus said several things. One of them (likely spoken in Aramaic but written down by John in Greek) was tetelestai. This word is usually translated "It is finished." While it means this, it also carries the idea of "It is accomplished." One of the primary things Jesus did was accomplish the perfect fulfillment of the OT law. He was the first and last person to do this.

As followers of Jesus, we are freed from the demands of the law. Because the law doesn't apply to us, we do not have to follow any of it. It has no impact on how we live church life today. The law ought not affect our church practice, principles, or forms. Instead, Jesus has freed us to live as his New Covenant followers. We've been shown much in the New Testament to instruct us in how church life should look today.

Many of today's traditional church practices stem from faulty interpretation of the OT. This ought not be. We have no need for the Old Covenant. It is a relic, a thing of the past. To follow it in any of our practices is to go backwards. Christ has given us something far better.

Our Lord perfectly fulfilled the OT law for several reasons. One was so that we don't have to. Praise the Lord for this gift!

Friend, if you are trying to fulfill any parts of the OT law, please let me encourage you to stop. You don't need to. God doesn't expect you to. Embrace the freedom of the New Covenant.


Randi Jo :) said...


Goblin said...

While I agree with everything you say, there is one objection to this interpretation that I do not know how to answer. In the verse you quoted Jesus said "For truly, I say to you, UNTIL HEAVEN AND EARTH PASS AWAY, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished." SO, if Jesus is referring to all being accomplished as when he calls out "it is finished (accomplished)" on the cross, why did he use the words 'Until heaven and earth pass away'? Surely that points to him referring to the accomplishment of all things at the end of the world?? I don't know how to counter this argument.


Aussie John said...


Spot on!

"Poor interpretation". Yes!

Originally; deliberate glossing of texts to keep people under the thumb.

Eric said...

Randi Jo,


Eric said...


I believe Jesus is saying that His fulfillment of the law fulfills the requirements of the law for his followers until the end of time. In other words, the Gospel is in effect until the return of Christ. Salvation in Christ will be available to all people until Jesus comes back the second time.

I don't know whether or not you find this argument compelling, but it is what I believe Christ is saying.

Eric said...


Thank you!

Goblin said...

Hi Eric
Here's a quotation from a website of ex-Adventists explaining their take on these verses.
'Some important words of explanation are added in the interview found in Luke 24:44 — "concerning me," "law of Moses." Thus Luke 24:44 is seen to be supplemental to Matt, 5: 17, 18. Matt, 5: 17, 18, therefore, in the light of Luke 24:44, would read as follows: "Think not that I am come to destroy the law of Moses or the prophets or the psalms: I am not come to destroy the law of Moses or the prophets or the psalms, but to fulfill the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law of Moses or the prophets or the psalms till all things written me in the law of Moses and the prophets and psalms shall be fulfilled."

Thus was the law to stand, as surely as heaven and earth stood, until all the things that had been written in them concerning Christ should be fulfilled; and since he fulfilled all the things that had been written in these documents con­cerning himself, as surely as heaven and earth are standing; the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms passed away.'
Is this the same interpretation as you are explaining?


Eric said...


I can't say if what I believe is exactly the same as what you have quoted. However, if they believe that the key is Jesus' fulfillment of the law (thus releasing us from it), then yes we must believe the same.