The law and Jesus(JCOT, part 7)

As I begin the post I am reminded of the many different paradigms I have held over the years concerning Christ and the law. Jesus tells us that He did not come to cancel the law, but to fulfill it. This is a very first century Jewish way of saying He came to teach us how to rightly keep the law. In those days rabbis would debate the law, when one thought the other was wrongly interpreting the law he would say, “you are destroying the law”, if they agreed they would say “you are fulfilling the law”. So, Jesus is telling us He came to teach us, authoritatively, what the law means. Jesus fulfills the ministry of the law, in that, He Himself, is the last and most authoritative teacher of God’s will. The very purpose of the law was to tell us how to walk with God, what it means to be the people of God. The problem of their day, and of ours, is that people, because of sin, cannot keep the interpretation of God’s law straight. We either add so much “do this, not that” to it that we forget God wants our hearts, or we make it so “inward” that we make it all about the “heart” excluding anything we actually do. So Jesus comes to reveal to us who God is and what He actually wants from us. It is in this context that He gives us the heart of the whole matter “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and your neighbor as yourself”.  Jesus does more than just command us though, He lives the law perfectly. In the garden of Gethsemane, He was praying before being apprehended and He asks God to change His plan if it were possible. Luke tells us he was in great agony,so much so he sweated drops of blood, but Jesus layed His own will down for the Father’s and drank the death we deserved that He may rise again and give us life. It is this act of perfect love that destroys the hardness of the sinners heart and brings Him to repentance that He may find life and, thus, keep the law. Jesus fulfills and exceeds every purpose of the law, for it by itself could not bring life. It commanded without giving the life necessary for dead men to keep the command. It tells us we are dead! Jesus gives life, writing the command on the heart. His Spirit within us convicts us and empowers us to keep the law. It is in Him we have the life the law was pointing to all along. This is what He meant when He said “woe to you… You search through the law of Moses, thinking that in it you have life… But they point to me”. Are you striving to keep the law? Have you said forget it because the law is “too hard” to keep? Let us look to Christ and find life. In Him, we can live for God and find freedom. Freedom from sin, freedom from the law, freedom to love God and our neighbor.


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