𝚂𝚘 𝚒𝚜 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚕𝚊𝚠 𝚋𝚊𝚍 𝚘𝚛 𝚗𝚘𝚝?
“I didn’t come to get rid of the law. I came to make it complete.”
This is a paraphrase of what Jesus said in Matthew 5:17. Most of the preachings and teachings I had heard about the law was negative, so my brain couldn’t wrap itself around what Jesus was saying. What does that even mean?
𝚂𝚘, 𝚒𝚜 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚕𝚊𝚠 𝚋𝚊𝚍 𝚘𝚛 𝚗𝚘𝚝? Because just a few sentences after Jesus said he wasn’t getting rid of the law, he furthered that statement by saying
“So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Matthew 5:19 NLT
I was one of those people who taught negatively about the law, but I knew, for example, that following the commandments was important. I couldn’t reconcile that, so I knew there was something I wasn’t understanding.
I would read verses like 2 Corinthians 3:7 where Paul says,
“The old way, with laws etched in stone, led to death…”
and just 2 verses down Paul would say that the law led us to a ministry of condemnation.
But my error was that I’d stop reading the verses there because it said what I thought was right. I was not reading those passages in full context. I was reading them from a lense of what I wanted to prove to be right.
The more I learn about the culture of Biblical times, the more discoveries and revelations I receive of the depths and profound truths that Jesus was teaching.
While I honor Paul, love his writings, and teachings, what Jesus said in Matthew 5 felt like a contradiction. I now can clearly see how they are not, but at the time, it didn’t make sense. I’ve heard people explain it by saying that the new covenant hadn’t yet been ushered in, but by saying that we are placing more weight on Paul’s words than Jesus’ – and I have issue with that.
So, it was one of those topics that I needed Divine wisdom to understand and would just have to wait for Holy Spirit to reveal it to me. Until that day would come, using my understanding and common sense would have to do; breaking the commandments is bad,Jesus is the superior way, and until the contradiction I saw was resolved, I would no longer speak or teach on this matter.
I can’t say exactly when, but at some point a few months ago, I suddenly saw with clarity what Jesus meant when he said he came to fulfill the law and not break it. It was crystal clear and it baffled me that I was unable to see it before.
Jesus didn’t come to get rid of the law, but to make it whole and complete. The areas of the law that were lacking, he made it perfect. It’s not that we don’t have to follow the law, per se, but that in Jesus the law was made perfect. There were areas of the law that were “placeholders” until its fulfillment, which was Jesus. There were areas of the law that have always been clear, like honor your parents, don’t kill, don’t steal, and don’t covet.
But there were some laws that were failing because of its dependency on humanity. For example, love your neighbor as yourself. It’s dependency of the person loving themselves well caused a flaw in this law. So, what did Jesus do? He made it whole. He said “love as I have loved you.”
The law didn’t go away. It was just perfected by Jesus. On the days I don’t love myself very well, I have no excuse to poorly treat my neighbor because Jesus wants me to love as he loves. I know. That’s a tall order. It’s definitely not easy, but in Jesus, it’s possible.
I anticipate sticking with Matthew 5 for the next devotional because I’d like to share another important message Jesus was sharing about the Kingdom of God. But, for today, let’s stop here.
God did a beautiful thing when he gave Moses and his people the law. It was for their benefit and out of love. I know that the popular teaching of the Old Testament doesn’t lend itself to seeing that clearly, but for now, know that God is a good God and he gave the law out of His goodness.
Jesus came to make it whole and perfect it. During Moses’ time there was a veil. Not because God wanted it that way, but the people did. When Jesus came, the veil was torn. Unfortunately, some still live their lives veiled because they choose to keep their focus on sin instead of life.
Focus on Life. When you do, the veil lifts.
with love, Andrea