“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
What a contrast Jesus makes here. He fulfills the Law; He does not abolish it. He accomplishes the Law; He does not do away with it. He embodies the Law; He does not throw it out.
How often do we so easily disregard Old Testament Law because we are under the New Covenant? The Old does not apply to us, right? Jesus ushered us into the New Covenant so why should we pay attention to the Old?
This is why: because Jesus fulfills it. It is not bad, done away with, abolished. It is fulfilled. Jesus takes the Law to the extent that it was designed to be. Jesus Himself by his actions and teachings, embodies what the Law was purposed for. He shows us how to live.
Take a look at these passages and note how they describe exactly what it is that fulfills the Law:
“And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.’”
Romans 13:8, 10
“Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”
“For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
It sounds ultra simple but it is in fact incredibly hard to do. To love. To consider our neighbor over ourselves. To dedicate our whole selves to our Creator. Yet there we will find the Law’s fulfillment. The only One who embodied this perfectly is Jesus. And His Spirit resides in us who believe! It isn’t merely an act of the will to love someone difficult but it is an act of surrender to the Spirit who will bear that fruit in our life.
Perhaps today you take a few minutes to read through the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20), paying attention to any commands you have purposefully or unintentionally disregarded (or in a sense abolished) in your own mind. Think on how you can show love to a neighbor (a spouse, a child, a stranger, a pastor, a friend) today? Then pray that the Holy Spirit will aid you in taking action and so fulfill the law of Christ.
By Ellen Rosenberger