Fulfilling the Commandments

Key Verse: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.”
—Matthew 5:17

Selected Scripture:
Matthew 5:17-48

IN OUR LAST LESSON, our Lord outlined the various ways of being supremely blessed. Evidently some interpreted some of his remarks as doing away with the Law of Moses. The disciples may have remembered the words of Joshua where he said, “Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left.”—Josh. 23:6

In Jesus’ answer of our key text, he said his mission would be to ‘fulfill’ the Law. Not the least ‘jot or tittle’ of the Law would pass away without fulfillment. He then warned his disciples that if anyone was to break even one of the least commandments of the Law, and teach men so, would be called least in the kingdom, but those who kept and taught the Law would be called great.—vs. 19

Our Lord knew that only a perfect man could keep the Law inviolate, and that he was that man. Why then did he warn his disciples not to break any commandment of the Law lest they receive a penalty? It wasn’t, thereby, in the keeping, but in the teaching to violate God’s Law, that would bring a penalty.

Jesus warned against the self-righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees. True righteousness comes from a humble recognition of one’s self, and a leaning upon God for guidance. Only those of such character can expect to enter into his kingdom.

In God’s commandments it was forbidden to kill. (Deut. 5:17) Jesus, however, warned everyone not to become angry with a brother without a cause, because it was equivalent to murder, and judgment would be meted out. (vs. 22) The laws given to the Jewish nation were so exacting that one could be brought before the Sanhedrin, (Jewish Court) and sentenced to death for certain violations. Jesus also gives the formula for forgiveness. (vss. 23,24) Go first to the one who has erred against you and be reconciled to him, then go to God with your sacrifice of forgiveness.

Adultery was an infraction against the Law, punishable by death. (Lev. 20:10) However, the spirit of that law for those in Christ goes so far that even looking after a woman to lust is a violation of God’s law. We are to eradicate all impurity lest it cause spiritual destruction. (vss. 27-30) Marriage is sacred. In the Law of Israel, man could give a bill of divorcement to his wife if the woman was found to be unclean. (Deut. 24:1) Our Lord said one should only divorce in case of fornication. (vss. 31,32) He explained the matter in more detail on another occasion. (Matt. 19:3-12) He gave rules for the making of vows. (vss. 33-37) One must not commit perjury, but to promise to the Lord only those things he can keep.—Deut. 23:21-23

The receiving of persecution without retaliation is enjoined upon Christians. One must walk the extra mile and not turn away even from those who borrow. To fulfill God’s laws will mean love in the highest degree. The aim is to become the children of God. It is all this that will make one perfect even as the Father is perfect.—vs.48

Dawn Bible Students Association
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