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Matthew 5:17-18

The Eternal Law

17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.


"On one of his European tours, the master magician and locksmith Harry Houdini found himself locked in by his own thinking. After he had been searched and manacled in a Scottish town jail, the old turnkey shut him in a cell and walked away. Houdini quickly freed himself from his shackles and then tackled the cell lock. But despite all his efforts, the lock wouldn't open. Finally, ever more desperate but completely exhausted, he leaned against the door--and it swung open so unexpectedly that he nearly fell headlong into the corridor. The turnkey had not locked it."(Harold Kellock, Houdini.)

Houdini was not unique in assuming that the door was locked. I'm afraid that we are all prone to make similar assumptions. Often those assumptions will prevent us from doing what needs to be done, just as Houdini's assumption kept him from leaving his cell.

Jesus' followers must have been making some assumptions about the nature of His ministry, but He understood their thoughts. Many might have been setting their minds against Him, because He spoke of seeking God's righteousness and denounced their self-righteous attitudes. To the legalists it might have sounded like He was saying that the law of Moses and the prophets, the Old Testament scriptures, were no longer to be obeyed. These men would close their hearts and minds to His message. To others it may have sounded like they were going to be free to commit sin. Both assumptions are like Houdini's. They are not true and they keep us in bondage to sin.

This is not so strange. There are many cults today, who claim that, since we are now under God's grace, we can do whatever we want. They claim that the Old Testament is only of value for its historical treasures and for those prophecies that are yet unfulfilled, but such assumptions keep us from receiving God's grace. They bind the heart to sin and prevent any kind of true repentance.

Jesus said that He had not come to destroy the teachings of the Old Testament, but to fulfill them. Indeed, He was the completion of the prophesies found there. He has become our High Priest and has assumed the responsibilities of the same, but now He serves in the holiest of places in heaven, not in its earthly model. The sacrifices were all fulfilled in His wounded body, and the ceremonial cleansings are completed by the washing of His blood.

No law in the Old Testament has been abolished. The Ten Commandments still stand as our permanent guide for Godly living, and even circumcision is still required, i.e. not the circumcision of the flesh but of the heart. (See Romans 2:28-29)

God does not change! If there is one wonderful thing about knowing Him, it is the fact that He is consistent. He will not tell us one thing in the beginning of scripture and then change His mind somewhere else. We can learn His word, rely on it, and never have to fear that we have missed a change in it.

The heavens and the earth represent the most permanent and stable things that men are able to picture, while the jot and title are the smallest most insignificant little marks in the Hebrew alphabet. Jesus' analogy shows us that the weakest, smallest points of God's law are more stable than the heavens and the earth.

We should not assume that we have been given any license to commit sin. We have been removed from the condemnation of God's law because Jesus suffered our punishment, not because the law has been done away with. Sin binds us into slavery, whereas the freedom to follow God'slaw is the greatest of all freedoms.

Before The Throne

Confess your sins before your Father today. Pray for the removal of temptation. Ask for the ability to resist sin and to live in obedience. Praise Him and worship Him for the grace that He has bestowed on you in spite of your failures. Encourage and lead others to be obedient Christians by setting the example for them. Ask God to help you with that.

For Further Study:

(v.17) ** to destroy the law. Luke 16:17; John 8:5; Acts 6:13; Acts 18:13; Acts 21:28; Rom 3:31; Rom 10:4; Gal 3:17-24; ** but. Matt 3:15; Ps 40:6-8; Isa 42:21; Rom 8:4; Gal 4:4-5; Col 2:16-17; Heb 10:3-12;

(v.18 ) ** verily. Matt 6:2, 16; Matt 8:10; Matt 10:15, 23, 42; Matt 11:11; Matt 13:17; Matt 16:28; Matt 17:20; Matt 18:3, 18; Matt 19:23, 28; Matt 21:21, 31; Matt 23:36; Matt 24:2, 34, 47; Matt 25:12, 40, 45; Matt 26:13-14; Mark 3:28; Mark 6:11; Mark 8:12; Mark 9:1; 41; Mark 10:15, 29; Mark 11:23; Mark 12:43; Mark 13:30; Mark 14:9, 18, 25, 30; Luke 4:24; Luke 11:51; Luke 12:37; Luke 13:35; Luke 18:17, 29; Luke 21:32; Luke 23:43; John 1:51; John 3:3, 5, 11; John 5:19, 24-25; John 6:26; John 6:32; John 6:47; John 6:53; John 8:34; John 8:51; John 8:58; John 10:1; John 10:7; John 12:24; John 13:16, 20-21, 38; John 14:12; John 16:20, 23; John 21:18; ** Till. Matt 24:35; Ps 102:26; Isa 51:6; Luke 16:17; Luke 21:33; Heb 1:11-12; 2Pet 3:10-13; Rev 20:11; ** pass. Ps 119:89-90, 152; Isa 40:8; 1Pet 1:25;

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