February 19 I Friday
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them.” —Matthew 5:17
What did Jesus mean when He said He came to fulfill the law? We would have to look into the Old Testament, where there are two prophecies about the New Covenant that Jesus would establish. The first is in Jeremiah 31:33, “I will put My law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people.” The New Covenant is not going to involve a revision of the law because the law is the moral character of God, which is perfect. Instead, the New Covenant will involve relocating the law, from being external, on tablets of stone, to internal, on the hearts and minds of those who are receptive to the New Covenant.
The second is in Ezekiel 36:26-27, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit in you and move you to follow My decrees and be careful to keep My laws.” As the Lord promised, the Spirit indwells believers, beginning at Pentecost. From that moment onwards, every person who professes faith in Jesus Christ receives the Holy Spirit as Ephesians 1:13 says, “When you believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit....” As a result of receiving the Spirit, we are moved to follow God’s decrees and keep His law. In other words, it will no longer be the imposition of the law from the outside, but the working of an appetite from the inside to “...hunger and thirst for righteousness” (Matthew 5:6).
We will have a new desire, will, appetite and ambition for the holiness of life and to do what is right. We are enabled and empowered to do this by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. This is why we cannot talk about the law simply in the Old Testament context of stone tablets, but we have to understand the New Covenant in the context of the Holy Spirit indwelling men, women, boys and girls to produce and express the character of God.
When we grasp this, things that used to be commands become promises. A response to a command is to do our best to implement it, but a response to a promise is simply to stand back and say, “Thank You. This is Your business in me by the Holy Spirit.” This does not mean we go into passivity like zombies; instead we are actually brought to true life with His Spirit shaping and guiding us into His glory.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank You for being the fulfillment of the law and establishing the New Covenant. Your Spirit in me is what produces and expresses the character of God. Praise You!