Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | April 3, 2018

“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. … not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.”

Today’s devotion comes from Matthew 5:17-20.

“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets;  I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.  For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.  Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven;  but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

“For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:17-20.

——————-

Christ fulfilled the Law for the elect by being the destination of the Law, so that we may be justified by faith.

“Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.  But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.” Galatians 3:24-25.

“For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

For Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on law shall live by that righteousness.  But the righteousness based on faith speaks as follows:  “DO NOT SAY IN YOUR HEART, ‘WHO WILL ASCEND INTO HEAVEN?’ (that is, to bring Christ down), or ‘WHO WILL DESCEND INTO THE ABYSS?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).”  But what does it say?  “THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;  for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”  Romans 10:4-10.

“For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did:  sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”  Romans 8:3-4.

“For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.”  …

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.  For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh;  for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.  …  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;  against such things there is no law.”  Galatians 5:14 and 16-18 and 22-23.

The meaning of verse 20 (“For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.”) is explained by Paul, a Pharisee, who achieved the highest righteousness based on the Law, and yet it was insufficient for salvation as shown by his following testimony.

“although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh.  If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more:  circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews;  as to the Law, a Pharisee;  as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless.

But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.  More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,”  Philippians 3:4-9.

The Law will keep leading the elect to Christ until its role as tutor is fulfilled and all the elect arrive at Christ and are justified by faith.

The Law also will “… keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment,”  2 Peter 2:9.

“But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.  …

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.”  2 Peter 3:7 and 10.

“Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God;  because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight;  for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.”  Romans 3:19-10.

Thus, in summary, the two purposes of the Law will be accomplished.  The Law will lead all the elect to Christ, so they can be justified by faith, and the Law will keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment as is stated “until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.”  Verse 18.


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