Jesus Fulfills the Law: Bible Survey for New Christians

March 16th, 2009

Matthew 5:17–20; Romans 8:1–4

He came to fulfil the law.
They that are in Christ, are free from condemnation.

 5:17.  "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.
 5:18.  "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.
 5:19.  "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.
 5:20.  "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.

 8:1.  There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
 8:2.  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
 8:3.  For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh,
 8:4.  that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.


From the scripture from yesterday, we see how Jesus rocked the boat of religion, and one of the dearly held laws of the ten commandments. Doing work on the Sabbath. Jesus didn't come to tear down the old laws. He didn't come to set up a new religion. He came to complete what was layed out in the laws. In fact, the laws, and the sins it define are all valid and relevant for as long as there will be humans. Strive to keep as many of the laws as possible to be considered high in the kingdom of heaven.

The Scribes and Pharisees were the ones who spent their entire occupations in studying the law. As much as they knew the law, they also were some of the most criticized by Jesus in not following the law, or in getting priorities twisted. Still, as disciplined as they were, to get to heaven on our own means we need to have an even higher knowledge, understanding, and practices than even those Scribes and Pharisees. A high price indeed.

Jesus came to complete the law. We all fall short, but he came to fill in the areas where we have gaps in following the law.

Side note: Think of yourself building something. You saw off a board so it falls short. You can't saw it again and expect it will grow longer, back to the condition it was before. As we live life, we can only become more and more worn down. Jesus is able to use our short board, and bridge any gap. He stands in for our shortness so we can get to God. Back to looking at the scripture...

For those people who follow the law of Jesus, living according to his ways, there is no condemnation. Put in another way, there is no judgement that forces us to be put to death. Live in a way that is spiritual, not in ways that serve only fleshly desires. To take care of only fleshly needs may offer temporary pleasure, but in tending to spiritual needs, the body is also satisfied in a more healthy way.

People have a habit of being at church and for example, opening a curious eye, to see if God really does make some kind of mystical appearance during a prayer. People figure that since God is something that can't be seen, felt, or otherwise experienced with our tangible sense, that he doesn't exist. God is spirit. From day 1 in the beginning of the creation story, he has made it known that he is spirit. We also have that intangible spiritual nature placed in us.

When we strive for having good spiritual health, all the needs of the physical body are met, not ignored. Spiritual living elevates us above the limits of a physical law that can only drag us down and cause our phisical and spiritual death. To live in the ways of Jesus is to get to the underlying spirit of why the law was written. What is the underlying emotion that drives that physical act? That emotion that can't be seen itself, but demonstrates itself in our actions, or even body language. Strive to control the spirit, under a law of the spirit, and any laws that govern the body just fall into place.

The old testament law, the law of sin and death, defines all the ways we humans fall short. We have areas in our lives that are missing and can never fill in the gap to reach God. All we can expect is that we will only become more and more worn down, and have bigger and bigger gaps that need filling. But this new law, the law of the spirit, this law of life in Jesus, sets us free.

Jesus fills in everywhere we are short. We need a physical atonement. Animal sacrifice doesn't cover our sin, just reminds us of our sin. In Jesus, God sent the perfect sacrifice that holds the power to not just cover us, or remind us of our sin, but he completes us and fills in for our weakness.

This freedom we can claim comes when we learn to live a spiritual life. The needs we have for our fleshly living will take care of themselves when we focus on our spiritual side.

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