God's Gift of Righteousness Does Not Excuse Righteous Living
By Rick Warren
— December 16, 2010
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” Matthew 5:17-18 (NIV)
This devotional is by Jon Walker, editor of the Daily Hope Devotionals and author of Costly Grace: A Contemporary View of Bonhoeffer's ‘The Cost of Discipleship.’
"Jesus fulfills the law and, when we step into his grace, we satisfy the law because we are wrapped in the righteousness of Jesus."
Jesus looks at the law with an eye toward the end of days. He is on a mission to bring us back into community with the Father, to get us through the narrow gate into the kingdom of heaven, and his view of eternity keeps him focused on the unity of the law. He knows the whole law must be fulfilled, even to the smallest letter.
To echo the apostles, “How can anyone possibly do this? This is humanly impossible!”
But that is the very point. It cannot be done, which is why the Apostle Paul called the law ‘a school of Christ,’ where we learn that trying to earn or maintain righteousness is impossible and so, in our broken state, we come to Christ and declare our dependence on him (Galatians 3:21-19).
But, this doesn’t mean the law has been abandoned or abolished. Jesus fulfills the law and, when we step into his grace, we satisfy the law because we are wrapped in the righteousness of Jesus.
The Apostle Paul says the “law of the Spirit, which brings us life in union with Christ Jesus, [sets us] free from the law of sin and death. What the Law could not do, because human nature was weak, God did.” He sent Jesus to fulfill the law, “so that the righteous demands of the Law might be fully satisfied in us who live according to the Spirit, and not according to human nature” (Romans 8:2-4 TEV).
Our focus must always be on Jesus, the Word of God, as we live according to the Spirit.” And, within that intimate relationship, we learn to trust that Jesus take care of the details, even the smallest details of the law.