Think Not That I Am Come To Destroy The Law
Do not think that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For amen I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot, or one tittle shall not pass of the law, till all be fulfilled. (Matthew 5:17-18)
The outward ceremonies of the law, had to do with circumcision, the passover, and all the various services of the temple, etc.
These were fulfilled in the spirit and true substance when Jesus Christ was nailed to the cross as a vicarious sacrifice for all who are willing to follow Him with all the divine knowledge and power they are able to attain. Paul and Barnabas steadfastly withstood those who taught that none could be saved except through circumcision. (Acts 15:1-2) After much disputing over this serious question in the church at Jerusalem, Peter, moved by the Holy Spirit, made it clear to them all, as we can see in this same chapter. And not only these three but all the other apostles also who were present at that conference agreed with the resolutions.
But the Church teaches the law of morals applies to all dispensations.
The Ten Commandments which Moses received from the Lord Himself on Mount Sinai are in force today, and tell us what the Lord asks of us.
But we have an indwelling sin, and are unable to keep the law to the letter; even with our best efforts, we cannot keep it in full, and it condemns us, so we need a Redeemer who has fulfilled the law for us, but has not destroyed it. It is ever present to tell me that I am condemned if I am not in Christ, so that I may esteem Christ higher and love Him more, because He first loved me.
Nowhere in the New Testament do we find the Ten Commandments repeated word for word, but the basic principles are all upheld, with the exception of the commandment concerning the Sabbath. There also can not be no doubt about the Sabbath as well. God Himself is the author of both the old and the new covenant. In the Old Testament it says: “Six days thou shalt do thy work, but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord, your God, on this day thou shalt do no work.” The origins of Sabbath comes from the Greek word sabbaton. Sabbaton itself traces to the Hebrew word shabbāth, meaning “rest.” not “7th day”. With this in mind, the New Testament says to seek first the kingdom of God. On the seventh day of the week the King of the kingdom lay all day long in the dark sepulcher, and the high hopes of His disciples went into the grave with Him; but thanks be to God, on the first day of the week He arose and came forth with new life. And as the King of the kingdom took His throne in heaven, and also, on the first day of the week he sent His Holy Spirit from heaven to testify of His divine Kingdom, and has authorized His holy apostles, through the Holy Spirit, to institute the first day of the week as the Lord's Day. From then on the Church observed the first day instead of the seventh. The Lord's Day was dedicated as an act of true adoration and was observed to the honor of God. But we have no sympathy for the idea of becoming righteous before God through the works of the ten commandments. Roman 10:4 says “For Christ is the end of the law, that everyone who believes is justified ”. He does not say “will be justified” as though he needed some works to fully establish his righteousness with God, but it “is justified” to the extent that he now stands under grace, and if he should die he would be saved with the penitent thief on the cross. Now this thief was condemned to die for his deeds and so will everyone who builds on his good works with the hope of being justified therewith, and still lives in sin and carnality; he is not justified. He may boast about his own righteousness as much as he wishes, yet he is not standing under grace. Once a person is justified by grace through faith, the love of God is shed abroad in his heart though the Holy Spirit, and he follows Jesus because of pure love. And all the good that he can do is not done with the view of becoming justified by it; he does it because he is justified, and already stands under grace, and does not wish to fall from grace.
We do not keep the commandments to become the children of God, but we are devoted to it because we are the children of God.
Good works does not make the Christian, but the the Christian does good works. Whosoever is void of works is an unbeliever, and cannot boast of having grace through faith.
In theses words we recognize the full value of good works. Jesus did not come to destroy the law or the Prophets, but to fulfill them.
It is just as wrong to steal now as it was under the dispensation of the law. At that time a thief was required to repay his theft from one-to five fold, as a slave until he could work it out. (Exodus 22:1-3). We do not find this requirement in the New Testament but the substance of it is there. Yes, right in the sermon on the mount. “All things therefore whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do you also to them. For this is the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 7:23). But now if we didn't have the law we wouldn't know what God required of a thief. Paul wrote: “He that stole, let him now steal no more” (Ephesians 4:28). That is the first step that the thief must take toward receiving pardon, but it is not the only thing that he must do to be prepared for a home in heaven. God, who is the author of both the Old and New Testaments has left it to the Old to tell us what we must do further to become sanctified for a mansion in glory, for heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people, and for no other. God has sent His Son to prepare people for heaven, and no thief can enter the kingdom of God (I Corinthians 6:10). Now as long as a thief has not made full restitution, as far as that is possible for him, he still stands as a thief in the sight of God. Jesus said “this is the law and the Prophets” And we have shown what the law required of a thief; now let us further consider what the Lord teaches us through the Prophet Ezekiel (33:10-15): “And you, son of man, say to the house of Israel, Thus have you said: ‘Surely our transgressions and our sins are upon us, and we rot away because of them. How then can we live?’ Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel? “And you, son of man, say to your people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him when he transgresses, and as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall by it when he turns from his wickedness, and the righteous shall not be able to live by his righteousness when he sins. Though I say to the righteous that he shall surely live, yet if he trusts in his righteousness and does injustice, none of his righteous deeds shall be remembered, but in his injustice that he has done he shall die. Again, though I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ yet if he turns from his sin and does what is just and right, if the wicked restores the pledge, gives back what he has taken by robbery, and walks in the statutes of life, not doing injustice, he shall surely live; he shall not die.” Notice he said: “if the wicked restores the pledge, gives back what he has taken by robbery”; then all the sins he had committed shall not be remembered. Is this not a gracious God who will forget the sins of the wicked if they truly repent of their sins? But I must again mention the fact that this promise is conditional. The thief has more to do than to “steal no more”. He still cannot be used to accomplish the purpose of God until he makes full restitution for his past wrongs when ever possible.
And it is also just as wrong to curse under the New Testament as it was under the Old, where the curser was stoned to death. (Leviticus 24:11-23) We do not read that this man had a habit of cursing as many have today; many curse cold-bloodedly as a common expressive slang. Under the New Testament men shall give an an account of every idle word (Matthew 12:36).
I fear I may be misunderstood; perhaps I have not made this clear enough.
The Old Testament is only the key to the New.
The Old is the tree of knowledge of good and evil. By the law comes the knowledge of sin. The New is the tree of life. In the Old we can see that it leaves us lying by the wayside (Luke 10:30-37). The New Testament comes along with the oil of grace and pardon for our sins, if we believe, and repent of our sins. But remember that this man had lain there completely helpless. That is the exact condition of the sinner without Christ. This man who had fallen among thieves, and was lying mangled and calling for help could not excite the emotions of the priest and Levite; and just so is the law: it demands a perfect righteousness, and says: “Cursed is everyone that continues not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them” (Galatians 3:10)