Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Jesus Didn't Come to Destroy the Law

Jesus says in Matthew 5:17: “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill” It is assumed that because Jesus didn’t come to “destroy” the old law, it can still be used as a source of law alongside the law of the New Testament. But this is an incorrect interpretation of Matthew 5:17.

The key to understanding this verse is the word “fulfill.” The Greek word is pleroo and it literally means, “satisfy, complete, finish.” In Matthew 5:17, Jesus is basically referring to the Law of Moses as a contract, and He came to satisfy and complete the terms of that contract.

Consider this illustration. When you purchase a car, you are given a contract with terms and conditions. When you make the last payment 60 months later, you fulfill the contract; the terms have been completely satisfied and you are now free from the bond of that contract.

Jesus didn’t come to disregard the terms or conditions of the Old Testament law. Rather, He came to fulfill it, and He did (Luke 24:27, 44). Because He fulfilled the contract in every way, we are no longer bound to it—we can gather valuable principles from it (Rom. 15:4; 1 Cor. 10:11), but it is no longer a valid source of law (Col. 2:14-16).