Read Matthew 5
What about the law? What does it mean to us?
Contrary to some who say the law was nailed to the tree—the cross—the actual text tells us that it was our invoice of indebtedness that was wiped clean on the cross. The law was not done away with by any means. Beware of claims that begin with the law being nailed to the cross. It is sometimes used as a nonsequitur to lead people to non-biblical conclusions, noting it to be false then presenting a false conclusion that does not follow the lead.
The short version is don’t let people lead you to their conclusions. Do your own study.
There is a longer discourse on the law not to be pursued here. What is noted is that Jesus did not come to do away with the law. He came to fulfill all righteousness. He came to fulfill those things required by prophecy. He came to fulfill the law.
So, knowing that he fulfilled it, what place does it hold in our lives? For those who believe, it can only show us where we fall short and how much we need a Savior. For those who do not believe that Jesus is the Christ and who have not received him as Lord, the law condemns.
For Jesus told those listening that if they didn’t live up to the standards that the teachers of the law lived by, they would not get into heaven. If your righteousness was not better than that of the Pharisees, it was game over.
There is more to come. Jesus will hold the answer as to how to overcome our imperfection through his perfection.
I have used the analogy of training wheels before. The law like training wheels help us remain upright while we ride our bicycle. At some point, we want to go beyond what we could do with the training wheels. We want to live a life governed by love.
The training wheels did not become bad. We just graduated to the next thing.
Paul used the analogy of a guardian. A parent or guardian is essential until a child comes of age to live on his own.
I have used the analogy of headlights. If you are driving from here to Cordell at midnight and some clown has his lights on high beam or just hose new lights that illuminate up to three counties is approaching, his headlights are blinding.
If you make the same drive the next day at noon and the same vehicle is coming at you with his headlights on, you hardly notice. The brightness of the sun surpasses the brightness of the lights.
The law did not go away or become bad. It was simply surpassed by the glory of God that we know in Christ Jesus.
God gave us his decrees and directives for our own good. They did not go away, but God expects us to graduate to living by love.
Do you remember last month’s memory verse? Romans 13:8
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.
Jesus summed up the law with two commandments. Love God with everything you are. Love your neighbor as much as you love yourself. Before he went to the cross, he raised the bar and said love each other as much as I have loved you.
The law was given for our own good. The law did not go away. It is not bad. Jesus fulfilled the law. The law can still serve us as a guardian. It can still show us where we fall short of the glory of God.
We can never measure up to the law by our own effort or merit but in the blood of Jesus we are made right with God and by our love we can fulfill the law.
That’s a lot to chew on but as we do so, let us always remember we are on our way to living by love. Jesus was the only person to fulfill the law in the flesh. Living a life governed by love fulfills the law for us.