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I have to admit, I don’t think much about the law apart from knowing the ten commandments. In Jesus time the law had become a pretty extensive set of rules to follow, some God-given, others man-made, but all with the purpose of making one “right” before God. As Christians, we know that following the law doesn’t save us, and that Jesus paid the penalty for our inability to keep it.
But this short passage is a sharp reminder that we shouldn’t simply dismiss the law and the Old Testament.
“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 that 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.”
I doubt that Jesus is talking about the overly legalistic set of rules the Pharisees imposed upon people. I think instead He is speaking of the spirit of God’s law–the law intended to show us how to live, and the law we know we can never live up to on our own. Realizing how impossible the standard of the Law is for us to follow should compel us to confess our need and seek Jesus’ righteousness.
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