Monday, September 10, 2012

Jesus Did not Abolish the Law -- or Did He?

"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil." (Matthew 5: 17)

So said Jesus to His hearers while He was delivering the Sermon on the Mount.

Then Paul writes:

"Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;" (Ephesians 2: 15)

So what's going on? Did Jesus abolish the law or not?

The translation creates the confusion.

In Matthew's Gospel, "abolish" should be "break up", or "destroy"
kataluó: to destroy, overthrow

Original Word: καταλύω

He did not come to get rid of the law.

For the law is good:

"For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 16If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. 17Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 18For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me." (Romans 7: 14-20)

Yet our flesh cannot measure up the demands of the law, as we are dead in our trespasses.

The law is but a shadow of the good and eternal substance:

"For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect." (Hebrews 10: 1)

So, the law has not been thrown out altogether.

Then what did Paul really say when the King James Translators wrote "Abolish"?

katargeó: to render inoperative, abolish
Original Word: καταργέω

In effect, Jesus took upon Himself the curse of the law and its demands, fulfilling them in His death, and by receiving His righteousness we are now free from the law and its demands, as they are forever fulfilled in Christ.

Better than "getting rid" of the law, Jesus made the law "of no effect" or "inoperative" -- in other word, Satan can damn us for things that we have done, do, or will do in the future, but the law cannot be used against us, because Jesus Christ our righteousness has more than fulfilled the law.

Everything has been paid for in full, and therefore we owe nothing to the law:

"Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.

"For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.

"But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter." (Romans 7: 4-6)

We serve in the newness of the Spirit, which is in effect in us by faith:

"For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith." (Galatians 5: 5)

The Spirit of God does better, leading us and guiding us by God's grace, as opposed to our feeble attempts to obey God through our own effort:

"The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen. " (Philemon 25)

Jesus fulfilled the law that we would rest and receive His Spirit, and let Him live His life through us!

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