“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.” (Matthew 5:17-19)

Jesus did not come to change the law but to show men that He was the Son of God and how we should live in the law of God. That He, the Christ, was the Word of God, (John 1:1) and that He came to testify to the Word which is the truth. As He spoke these words of testimony to Pontus Pilate, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” (John 18:37) As you study the prophecies about Jesus in the Old Testament you will see that most every action that He took, every word that He spoke, and every event in His life was a fulfillment of prophecy. The Law of God given through Moses is seen as to hard and impossible to live by but through Jesus Christ the grace and truth of the law became visible to mankind. “For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17)

The scribes and Pharisees, the Jewish leadership, miss-understood between the Law and who Jesus was. They mistook the spiritual interpretations of the law and viewed it in a physical aspect and not in its spiritual context. They lived their lives as righteous before men for their own personal selfish recognition but missed the truth that sin is deeper than the flesh but was born of the corrupt heart from within. That their added traditions were a misinterpretation of the meaning of the Law of Moses. “Then some Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, “Why do Your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.” And He answered and said to them, “Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?” (Matthew 15:1-3) It is the spirit of a man that must be sanctified and made holy before a righteous God not the flesh that is passing away.

Jesus came to fulfill the law by living a life of righteousness that others might see the truth through Him. Because of His righteousness Jesus was the perfect sacrifice to pay the debt of man’s sin that through Jesus man could be freed from his bondages to sin, and by the resurrection of Jesus man could have eternal life with the Father in Heaven. They missed the meaning of animal sacrifices that they could know the true meaning that Jesus was the true and only worthy sacrifice for the sins of the world. As John the Baptist, the New Testament Prophet testified of Jesus, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) Jesus was the only worthy sacrifice to make atonement between God and man as all others were spotted and blemished. Out of His love for us, Jesus, God Himself paid the debt of our sin that we could be freed. “Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.” (Isaiah 53:4-6)

Man by his rebellion to the Word of God is an enemy of God and is at war with Him. “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” (James 4:4) People who are at war with God have no real peace within their spirit, will always have hunger, will always have thirst, and will never find satisfaction. Jesus offered Himself as our peace offering between us and God that we can be reconciled and our relationship can be restored unto God our Father. “But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall.” (Ephesians 2:13-14)

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth and finished His labor in six days and then rested on the seventh. The seventh day is a Sabbath unto the Lord and man is to rest and keep the Sabbath holy unto God. (Exodus 20:9-11) As we go through our lives laboring for the Lord in our reasonable service Jesus is our rest. “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) We are to be as the Apostle Paul fighting the good fight, running the race of the course that the Lord has set before us, and we follow that course in faith that our Lord will lead us through to the end where we will receive our recompenses. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:7-8) Through our faith in Jesus we will overcome the world and accomplish the work that He has set before us to the glory of the Father. And as He had promised we will enter into our eternal Sabbath. “So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.” (Hebrews 4:9-10)

Jesus during His time here amongst men fulfilled over 300 hundred prophecies. The Disciples of Jesus were witnesses to the fulfillment of these prophecies of Jesus during His ministry. “For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.” (2 Peter 1:16)

Our righteousness is not established by our own efforts, as it is impossible for us to keep the Law of God. We are burdened with the inherited sin nature from man’s fall in the Garden of Eden and are entrapped in a cursed world prone to our own sinful nature. Our adversary who prowls to and fro seeking to destroy us is ever relentless in his deception and temptations. We may think that we are good enough but the measure of our righteousness is that of our Lord Jesus Christ. We do stray and we do stumble and we are guilty before a Holy God. “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.” (James 2:10) For those who seek to live a righteous life by their own good works is apart from God’s grace. “You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.” (Galatians 5:4)

The only righteous behavior that we can have and is pleasing to God is the righteousness that we receive through Jesus Christ for only He is, “the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6) Our righteousness is based upon our faith in Jesus Christ as God sees us through the righteousness of His Son Jesus and not our own stumbled attempts. Only through Jesus is the law fulfilled in us. “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” (Romans 10:4)

In the love that God has for each of us He placed upon His Son the sins of the world that He would pay the wage of sin on the cross where His life was sacrificed for each of us. Therefore by our acceptance and faith in Jesus Christ we share with Him His crucifixion. He went to the cross for us and our sinful lives were crucified with Him that day on Calvary’s hill. “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20) God’s Son came down from His throne in Heaven and lived a righteous life that God could place our wicked sin upon Him that we could be spared the wrath of God and have everlasting life in His Kingdom. This is the incomprehensible love of God. “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

In this new relationship that we have with God through Jesus we are equipped and able to do the good work that is pleasing to Him. “For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13) Jesus fulfilled the law that we may abide in Him in forgiveness from the consequences of the law broken by us. That we may serve Him who first served us. That we love Him who first loved us. That by His grace we have been made complete. “For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority.” (Colossians 2:9-10)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, March 23, 2016

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