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Thread: Did Jesus abolish the law? What does fulfil mean?

  1. #1

    Question Did Jesus abolish the law? What does fulfil mean?

    I now that many christians believe that Jesus has abolished the law. And therefore they think that we don't have to keep the commandments anymore. But I can't really agree with that. In my opinion Jesus taught us to keep the law just as he did it, too. Here is an article which explains it very well: http://www.faithcatcher.com/did-jesu...-commandments/

    Any reasonable arguments against this article?




  2. #2
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    Re: Did Jesus abolish the law? What does fulfil mean?

    The word plero˘/pler˘ma is used in Matthew more than any other Gospel. Apart from Mt 5:17 it is mostly used in the context of the fulfillment of Scripture, e.g., 1:22; 2:15, 17, 23; 4:14; 8:17; 12:17; 13:14, 35; 21:4; 26:54, 56; 27:9. Mt 5:17 is no exception, for the "Law" is used in Mt 5:17 as pointing to a part of the Hebrew Bible. The context is "the Law or the Prophets", pointing to a portion of the Bible. When Scripture is fulfilled and the prophecy of Scripture comes into fulfillment, it means that it comes true; it is being completed; it comes to an end. The same is true of fulfillment in Mt 5:17. An important question is "when" does Jesus fulfill the Law and the Prophets? Only in his death and resurrection. That is when the New Covenant comes into being.

    One must thus read Mt 5 salvation-historically. At the point when Jesus speaks about the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets, the actual "fulfillment" and the "accomplishment" (5:18) of "all" is still future. The iota and dot point to the small characters in the script of the OT and not merely to the commandments, meaning that the Old Testament stays a valid basis for its fulfillment. Everyone in Jesus' ministry before His death and resurrection is thus still under the Law and under the Old Covenant. When Jesus thus speaks about specific laws and their application (in the rest of Mt 5), one must remember that it is still under the Old Covenant. For Paul writes in Gal 4:4-5 "But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, (5) to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons."

    In Christ, in the New Covenant, believers and Paul himself died to the Law, pointing to the whole Mosaic system (not only the 10 commandments), meaning that the Law has no power over them any more.

    Gal 2:19-21 "For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. (20) I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (21) I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose."

    Rom 7:1-6 "Or do you not know, brothers--for I am speaking to those who know the law--that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? (2) For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. (3) Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress. (4) Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. (5) For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. (6) But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code."

    Being released from the Law (v. 6) means one is totally free from it and under no part of it. If this is so, naturally, one would ask whether one could thus sin. Paul anticipates this same question:

    Rom 6:15-16 "What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! (16) Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?"

    Not being under the Law does not mean we can sin, it means indeed that we are empowered to do God's will and to bear the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22). But this fruit is not defined by any part of the OT Law, but by the Spirit living in us, even though it corresponds to the underlying ethos of the OT Law. In fact, the law (principle) of the Spirit has set us free from the (Mosaic) Law of sin and death (Rom 8:2) and those who are led by the Spirit are not under the Law (Gl 5:18), under no part of it.

    In important principle in the NT is that nowhere is distinguished between the 10 commandments and the rest of the Law. We are thus either under the whole Law or under no part of it. We cannot say that we are still to do the 10 commandments but not bring offerings, observe circumcision and dietary laws. It is either all or none.
    Joh 8:32 "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

  3. #3

    Re: Did Jesus abolish the law? What does fulfil mean?

    Quote Originally Posted by Astoria View Post
    I now that many christians believe that Jesus has abolished the law. And therefore they think that we don't have to keep the commandments anymore. But I can't really agree with that. In my opinion Jesus taught us to keep the law just as he did it, too. Here is an article which explains it very well: http://www.faithcatcher.com/did-jesu...-commandments/

    Any reasonable arguments against this article?



    I agree with Philip that we are under no part of the Law. The article is easily proven false, since the writer of the Hebrews stated categorically that the Old Covenant superstructure is invalid, superfluous, and replaced with the eternal fulfillment in Christ. Its worship was allowed to exist for awhile longer, knowing the ignorance of the Jewish worshipers. But Jesus said the temple, symbol of the Covenant, would fall, brick by brick, or stone by stone. None of it would remain, so that Christ could be seen to be the eternal fulfillment of the temple and the Law.

    As the brother said, Jesus ministered in the Gospels while the Law was still in effect. As such he would certainly pursue obedience to the Law. While the Law was in effect, sin was defined as opposition to the Law in Israel, because God at that time required of Israel obedience to the Law.

    But now that Christ has died, and has risen from the dead, obedience is directed to him alone--the fulfillment of the Law. Obedience to the Law is therefore no longer required, and sin is no longer defined as disobedience to the Law. The Law has been nullified.

    But sin is still defined, and is eternally defined, as disobedience to God. And since God now requires obedience only to His Son, sin is defined as disobedience to His Son.

    This is not condoning sin, but rather, redefining sin under a new covenant. It is still consistently defining sin as disobedience to God. But since God now only requires obedience to His Son, and not to the Law of Moses, sin is now defined with respect to the Son, and not to the Law. Obedience is still required towards God, but God now only requires obedience to His Son.

    Is the Law and Christ similar? Of course. But they are different covenants. One has a set of rules only for Israel, including temple, priesthood, and sacrifices, and involve Sabbath and Festival requirements, laws of purification, dietary laws, and a variety of laws concerning practical justice and morality. Christ requires righteousness as well, and yet not in the same context and not requiring the same superstructure and symbolism.

    Christ requires that we see in him a perfect righteousness--something that was not visible when an imperfect Israel observed the Law of Moses. At that time all that was seen was imperfect men, sometimes righteous and sometimes sinning, who attempted to represent the righteousness of God.

    But now that Christ has come we see in him perfect human righteousness, the eternal standard for men. And so, we don't follow the Law of Moses, but rather, the Law of following the example of Christ. Even moreso, his Spirit can be given to us eternally now, whereas under the Law God's gifts were only temporal. That's because under the Law men remained condemned to die, since their sins were covered by imperfect sacrifices.

    But now that Christ has come, God Himself is covering our sins by His own suffering--by the suffering of His Son. And so, He can give us His Spirit on an eternal basis. Thus, cooperation with His Spirit is no longer mediated by imperfect superstructure, but rather through obedience to our perfect example, Christ. It does little good to observe Sabbath Law when obedience to Christ is much better.

  4. #4

    Re: Did Jesus abolish the law? What does fulfil mean?

    Quote Originally Posted by Astoria View Post
    I now that many christians believe that Jesus has abolished the law. And therefore they think that we don't have to keep the commandments anymore. But I can't really agree with that. In my opinion Jesus taught us to keep the law just as he did it, too. Here is an article which explains it very well: http://www.faithcatcher.com/did-jesu...-commandments/

    Any reasonable arguments against this article?



    This is post #2 in response to this. I'm breaking up my argument into several parts, to avoid the length of a single post. But the problem requires detail, and thus length.

    The reason the Law was insufficient, as I said before, is that the superstructure of the Law involved an imperfect Israel and an imperfect priesthood that observed the Law. It was, in other word, an imperfect representation of divine righteousness.

    And it was made that way out of God's recognition that men could not be perfect, and had a sin nature, necessarily sinning. And so they had to be given a righteous system that acknowledged human sin and the need to deal with that sin before a holy God. As much as righteous men could do under the Law they could not depict divine perfection. They could, however, depict divine righteousness in imperfect men. It was enough to sustain a covenant with God for as long as it was needed, though as we know Israel lost their covenant with God for a time through national apostasy and foreign captivity.

    So God applied this covenant temporarily until the more perfect standard of righteousness could come through Christ. And the reason perfect righteousness was necessary to be exemplified was because God was required. Only God Himself in a time of human sin could provide the means of perfect righteousness in man and also the ability to forgive men for their sin. That's what Christ did. He was the perfect man, displaying divine righteousness in an era of human sin. And as God he could in human form forgive all sins men have committed against one another and against God.

    So Jesus was the plan and the covenant all along, and the covenant of Law was always intended to be temporary until Christ came. That's why a return to the Law of Moses is so wrong, because it always reflects the imperfections of Israel, as opposed to the perfect righteousness of Christ.

    Obedience to Christ of course is necessary. Righteous works will always be required. But today righteousness is not defined by observing the Law and its superstructure. Rather, it is defined by obedience to Christ, who calls upon his disciples not to observe the Law but to obey him.

    It can easily be confused that Jesus is still calling his disciples to obey the Law as he did while he was still under the era of Law, before the cross. But after the cross it is clear that his purpose was, as the Transfiguration event showed, to represent the Son only, and not either Moses or Elijah. As John said, the Law came through Moses, but grace came through Jesus.

    Grace comes when we accept that our righteousness comes from Jesus' righteousness, and not from the righteousness of the Law. And Jesus' righteousness was never subject to the Law because he did not need the Law, with its temporary redemption of sinful man. Rather, he was Lord over the Law, and Lord over the Sabbath. Once he had redeemed us from sin, Israel no longer needed the observance of the Law for temporary atonement. Now that he has forgiven us from sin for eternal life, we no longer need redemption. We have eternal redemption. We only need to live in his righteousness and love.

  5. #5

    Re: Did Jesus abolish the law? What does fulfil mean?

    Quote Originally Posted by Astoria View Post
    I now that many christians believe that Jesus has abolished the law. And therefore they think that we don't have to keep the commandments anymore. But I can't really agree with that. In my opinion Jesus taught us to keep the law just as he did it, too. Here is an article which explains it very well: http://www.faithcatcher.com/did-jesu...-commandments/

    Any reasonable arguments against this article?



    This is part #3 and the last section in which I wish to respond to the false call to obey the Law. Some say that the Moral Law is eternal, and that the Law of Moses must therefore also be eternal. That is false. While it is true that Moral Law is eternal, and that God's Word is eternal, it is not true that the Covenant under Moses was eternal. On the contrary, it was a "tutor" meant to lead us to Christ. The writer of Hebrews made it clear that the temple made on earth was patterned after the temple in heaven. Christ is our final and eternal temple.

    So what about the things Jesus said about the universe not being able to pass away until every jot and tittle are fulfilled? I think the universe is a symbol of God's faithful promises, in the same way that God promised Abraham descendants as numerous as the "stars in the heavens." The universe is stable because God's word sustains it. God is faithful to His people to provide for them an eternal home.

    And so, the universe represents the stability and faithfulness of God's promises to His people. These things, ie the universe, will not pass away before God brings to complete fulfillment all that He has promised to His people.

    So what do the jots and tittles of the Law have to do with God's eternal promises for His people? Under the Law the requirements of the Law represented the righteousness God's people displayed before God in the hope for eternal righteousness. They knew they could not themselves display anything but a shadow of God's perfect righteousness. But in displaying the Law of Moses they showed earnest desire to obtain a place in God's perfect paradise. Jesus could require nothing less than perfect zeal for a place in God's Kingdom.

    But this is a far cry from saying the righteousness of the Law had to be displayed in imperfect men until the end of the universe. That would merely show, in its observance, righteous men longing for an eternity that they would remain eternally unqualified for!

    On the contrary Jesus had in mind that his own righteousness be displayed in these imperfect men, as opposed to the imperfect righteousness that is displayed in imperfect men under the Law. It was much better to have Christ himself displayed, with his righteousness, than to have men display obedience to rules that only showed their ineptitude in finding eternal justification.

    And so, while the Law was still in effect Jesus obviously promoted obedience to the Law, as long as that system remained in effect. However, the goal for Jesus was to put his more perfect form of righteousness in his flawed people, which showed eternal justification. This is what had to happen before the universe itself could perish. God's people had to have eternal justification through Christ, and not remain under a system that showed their ineptitude and failure to obtain eternal justification under the Law.

  6. #6
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    Re: Did Jesus abolish the law? What does fulfil mean?

    My comments to this thread are better seen in posting #2 of the thread "under the Law or not?"

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