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The Fulfilling of the Law

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
February 17, 2021 7:00 am

The Fulfilling of the Law

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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February 17, 2021 7:00 am

We have bookshelves full of self-help guides to try to fix our own problems. We ask teachers, preachers and politicians to try to fix society’s issues. The bottom line, though, is that there is no cure for sin outside of the Gospel. If we really want to be fixed, we must turn to the Word of God.

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We have bookshelves full of self-help cards to try to fix our own problems. We asked teachers, preachers and politicians to try to fix societies issues. The bottom line though is that there is no cure for sin outside of the gospel. If we really want to be fixed. We must turn to the word of God on this broadcast of the Bible study our Dr. James Boyce explains how Jesus is the ultimate fulfillment of God's law and welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically.

We often hear that Jesus was the fulfillment of the law. But what does that mean for us practically, let's listen in as Dr. Boyce explains how the law exists to point us to God's perfection with the exception of the golden rule that's found in the seventh chapter of Matthew's gospel the Beatitudes that are found in chapter 5 are probably the best known portion of the sermon on the mount look at them last week together in a certain sense only an introduction because the main portion of the sermon doesn't begin until the 17th verse of chapter 5 and then once it begins. It continues all the way through chapter 5 in section 7 of the 12 verse of chapter 7 which is the golden rule is marked off by what scholars call in and close the hour to Latin word refers to certain device used in ancient writing device in which a certain phrase or word or sentence starts off the section that is repeated again and again in order to indicate in a day when they didn't have all of the typological devices that we do that something was coming to a close. The words that are then close Io in this case are the law and the prop lecture find them in verse 17 not think that I am come to abolish the law or the prophets, then you find them again in chapter 7 verse 12 so everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the law and the prophets in this main portion of the sermon. Jesus begins to develop what it really has to obey the law of God, and then how you and I ought to live if we really are his disciples, and of the kind of people that he spoke about in the opening section which we call Beatitudes. Now he begins in this section. Verse 17 by telling the people that he had not come to abolish the law or the prophets. Obviously he's referring to some kind of a misunderstanding.

The grown-up around his teaching in these early days of his ministry in Galilee, DA Carson was written one of the best of the commentaries on Matthew is strong to point out that Jesus is not attacking what he calls some well entrenched and clearly defined position in order to set forward something that is different.

He's only using this as a speaking device to introduce the section 1 we look at the Gospels as a whole. There's no doubt that there were misunderstanding example just a few chapters after this.

At the conclusion of the sermon on the mount, the disciples of John the Baptist, Jesus with a question that shows that he was perceived as being less demanding in his piety, then was John and his disciples. I ask how is it that we and the Pharisees splashed but your disciples do not fast or, again, there seems to be an implied criticism in the comparison that some people were making between Jesus and John the Baptist himself, Clay said. John came neither eating or drinking Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say here is a glutton and a drunkard friend of tax collectors and sinners. Well, tax collectors and sinners were regarded as those you didn't keep the law. So here is Jesus saying in these verses, I have not come to abolish the law, whatever you may have heard or been thinking rather to fulfill it is another example of this misunderstanding.

Most people in his day, led by the thinking of the Pharisees consider Jesus to be a breaker of the Sabbath was a very serious thing. On one occasion when Jesus and his disciples were walking through the grain fields on the Sabbath day, the disciples plucked heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands, separated grain from the chapel of the chapel way in reading the grain and the disciples were rebukes by the Pharisees who said to Jesus, look, your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath doubletime Jesus healed on the Sabbath. They objected to that in one way or another, all four Gospels indicate that this matter of Jesus. Failure to keep the Sabbath away.

The piracies thought it should be Misunderstood on their part, at least that Jesus was actually the center and was disobeying the law about what Jesus is insisting on here as it is not, to do away with the law in any form. Rather, he says he came to fulfill it. We have to think about that. Jesus says I'm not come to abolish the law. In what sense is not true because if we get the big picture. There certainly were some ways that he did abolish the law or parts of it did away with the sacrificial system. For one thing, by his own sacrifice. Or, again, there are his comments about certain kinds of foods which you can eat are not 80 did away with the laws of what we call kosher cooking owl.

We didn't keep it in that sense of what sense did he actually abolish well number of different positions and commentators have taken some of suggested that Jesus didn't come to abolish it.

Because what he really did was to come and fulfill the law's moral demands. Jesus did, of course, this perfectly was sinless, so much so that he could save into his enemies. On one occasion which of you convicts me of Stanley them absolutely speechless but well it's true that Jesus did fulfill the moral demands of the law to understand fulfilling the law in this way is out of place in this context because the issue this paragraph isn't how Jesus lived was an issue all by itself but not here.

The issue here is what he was teaching his teachings. Contrary to the Old Testament law.

John Broadus is a great Baptist commentator and he makes this objection very well citing no less an authority than John Calvin himself really like that idea side here's the second explanation. Jesus completed the laws in adequate teaching by his own teaching other words, the Old Testament wasn't good enough and so Jesus comes along and adds to it that we did add to it. Of course we have a New Testament as well as an Old Testament in the spirit of Christ led the disciples to record what we crab the books of the New Testament over Jesus own teaching at a certain sense adds to it. We have it here in the sermon on the mount and also in the other things that he said the problem with that view is that is contrary to what he says in the very paragraph is nothing in this paragraph suggests that Jesus somehow thought the Old Testament was an adequate contrary exactly the opposite is true. He was insisting on its complete rest and its adequacy and its permanent and abiding validity added to it.

Of course, but the law as he spoke about. It was perfect. As it stands so throw an exclamation out. What did he mean that when he said I'm not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it well. The best explanation is that we should understand that word fulfill in exactly the same way is been used in the earlier chapters of the gospel where Matthew uses it to refer to Old Testament tracks that have now been fulfilled by Jesus. You have examples in the first chapter and verse 22 second chapter in verses 15 and 17 in the fourth chapter in verse 14, that's the way word understand what it means that Jesus was saying, he came to fulfill the law and always began to fulfill the moral law by his obedience kind of goal. The prophecies by the specific details of his life, death and resurrection, and the game to fulfill the sacrificial system by his once for all, atonement. By the way, is also what Paul seems to be talking about in the 10th chapter of Romans where he calls Christ the end of the law is another way of talking about fulfillment. Now Carson understands that this way I think he does it rightly. The best interpretation of these verses is that Jesus fulfills the law and the prophets in that they point to him and he is there fulfillment antithesis is not between abolish and keep, but between abolish and fulfill. So Jesus is not primarily engaged in extending annulling or intensifying the law, but rather showing the direction in which it points less important because one thing it does is establish the validity of the Old Testament have been times in the history of the church when people have wanted to do away with the Old Testament in order to get what they regard as advice or pure happier or friendlier New Testament Marcy and was the first to get it on other people do it in a variety of ways so good just by ignoring the Old Testament only talking about the words of Jesus.

Jesus won't allow us to do that. He said the Old Testament about me in order to understand me. You have to understand the Old Testament now also teaches in the next verse he does it in a different way is establish the validity of the Old Testament, but now he wants to show that it is also valid because not even the smallest part of it will be lost until it's perfectly fulfilled. Some of us still familiar with the translation of the King James version and know if that particular verse sticks in our minds that what the King James version says is that not one jot or one cattle will pass from Alonzo everything fulfill reason translators of the new international version rendered at the way they did, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of apprentice because they assumed I suppose rightly. Nobody in our day, knows what a jot or tittle is you can find it. However, you look in the Bible hundred and 19 Saul, you find that the 22 sections of that song were divided up according to the initial letter that begins each of the eight verses in those sections and that you get a full sequence of the Hebrew alphabet and the introductions to each section so the first eight verses begin with a letter out of second eight sections begin with the letter bacon someone you look at the verse that follows the section known as yo you find printed in most Bibles and certainly in the new international version while Yoda actually is a jot. It's a little, but near that top-of-the-line rather than near the bottom of very very small. If you compare the letter that comes before the ninth verse with the letter the company for the 81st verse provide that the first is abates and the second is a coffin. The only difference between them is attending was just tiny little projection of the bottom of the letter is what we would call a seraph same little Mark distinguishes between a dollar for the ration while in his lien and you can see that also. By looking through the Saul word says Jesus, I consider the Old Testament to be so important that I want you to understand this, minus Sarah of the law is going to disappear until absolutely all of its fulfill lending weight to his teaching about the Old Testament and another way as well because you notice verse 18 it begins by saying I tell you the truth. In Greek actually reads a man I say to you, or I affirm this for a fact one of the commentators point so I think rather perceptibly that this is more or less Jesus own signature.

Since no other teacher anywhere in antiquity is known to use these words.

This phrase occurs 31 times in Matthew 25 times in John John's case with the AA manager Jesus is saying I tell you the truth I tell you the truth, and then repeat something so it's a way of saying the Old Testament is fundamentally and inescapably important now.

Why should that be so emphasized. We live in an age doesn't want to pay attention to words on the words of the Bible or the law or the prophets. We want to more or less flow easily with ideas that we can live as we please and think as we like it might be bound by anything like should this be so important. Why is Jesus stressing while the answer is that the authority of the Bible is critical everything were to know and believe as Christ followers spoken to us in the Bible. The Bible is his word as Jesus was teaching the church throughout the ages is believed, then the Bible must be true only because God is a God of truth be reliable in all its parts. Because God is reliable and must be lastingly authoritative because God is the only ultimate and eternally abiding authority in the universe that the Bible is not truthful want, even if it's very small parts and it's not from God and it has no more authority over us and the other human document now pierces attacks against Christianity through the history of the church always been directed against the Bible. Just a way in Army that's fighting another army will concentrate his forces against the critical point of the enemy's defenses.

Look at the whole history of the church, you find that the Bible is been under attack in various ways. One way is this by appealing to tradition.

This was the chief problem in Jesus day because that was what the Pharisees were doing. The Pharisees were great traditionalists. They were the conservatives that their time. They had defended the law. They believed that they knew it was the word of God. But when they came up against the standards of the law.

They did what many people do recognize they couldn't keep the law. I took it at face value and so they walked it over in one way or another kind of make it acceptable and attainable supposed to worship the Lord your God on the Sabbath not do any work solely again to work out all kinds of details what work actually meant rather than concentrating on what worship really is. And so for all the other aspects of the law. They trimmed it down the level at which they thought they could keep it.

Jesus spoke about that on several occasions in the fifth chapter of Johnny says look you diligently search the Scriptures because you think that by then, you possess eternal life, but these of the Scriptures that testify about me and you refuse to come to me to have life you versus after that in the same chapter he said your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set up very next section of the sermon on the Mount is going to go on to explain how the law should be understood as a review against this kind of pharisaical unrighteousness. Now let me say that the Pharisees are not the only ones in this is a common approach is what had developed in the Middle Ages and was countered by the Protestant reformers by that phrase that you so often in Latin solo scriptorium meant by Scripture alone. What this meant was the traditions of the church in the clear teaching of the Word of God are in conflict have to prefer the Scriptures because the Scriptures alone or from God. Reformers were well aware that there traditions of the church. Some of them are good, some of them are bad. Want to fall into the habit of throwing out any kind of tradition that we have some of them represent trees of the past and insights of our ancestors, and all that they were well aware of that but they were also aware that because the human mind is corrupt and are goals are bent to serve ourselves traditions, why am growing up in opposition to the Bible and the gospel. So again and again in the church. I talked about the church being constantly reformed.

We have to go back to the Bible and say are our traditions right or do they need to be corrected by the word. One way in which we got away from the Bible's authority is by saying well. This is the way I've always understood it, and this is the way it's always been done as a second way in which the Bible is been under attack and this is by elevating reason above revelation.

This assault on the Bible's authority was to measure it by reason and judge it by scientific or historical assumptions.

It's an approach that emerged with the 18th-century Enlightenment and it still with us in the form of liberal Christianity realism judges the Bible by the measure of human reasoning alone. Assuming that if what the Bible says disagrees with what we consider right or think we discovered that it's the Bible, rather than ourselves or be mistaken. I we need our minds. Of course God is given us our minds. Reason is a valuable tool and must be exercised, especially when were studying Bible, but in a manner exactly parallel to this issue of tradition when I reason in the Bible are in conflict is not.

I reason that is right in the Bible is wrong with the Bible is right and I reason is wrong because of the Bible comes from God and something that could be trusted and even a reason should tell us that Bible is actually from God.

It must be right and therefore we ought to be able to adjust our thinking accordingly. God tells us something we can be sure about and can trust it. This particular approach has been well vindicated. Even in our lifetimes by kind of discoveries that have come in tending to explode the critical theories that were advanced by liberalism. Decades ago, and John the Bible really to be reliable.

While there's 1/3 way in which Bible has come under attack not only from traditions which we see is the error of the Pharisees and the church of the Middle Ages. Not only by putting reason above revelation which is the error of the Enlightenment and liberalism, but by rejecting the Bible sufficiency and sheer way really come very close to home because this is the error of the evangelicals in our time is people in the evangelical church today speak forthrightly and faithfully about the Bible's nature and authority they would echo the words of Jesus, they would insist that Jesus himself One jot or one title passed from a lot of everything is fulfilled in terms of the work that has to be done. Many evangelicals in our day. Think of the Bible just isn't sufficient for the job so they attack X not directly, but by laying it aside. We asked some questions. As the Bible sufficient for the church's evangelistic task. Many don't think so because they abandon the Bible's teaching for signs and wonders sociological techniques of entertainment. Many attractive large congregations by these methods often on television that they're trying to do God's work in secular ways, and the result is a rapid turnover in many of these ministries. It doesn't bring people actually to Christ, or build the type of character that's needed other question is the Bible sufficient for growth in Christian character or godliness. Many don't believe it's been so they offer self-help programs or they recommend counseling and stand up and say that these programs have no value at all.

They do in many cases we have more of this kind of Christianity and the church today than ever before. The long history of the church and yet for many sectors of the church. True Christian character. Godliness is never been more like again this question is the Bible sufficient for making an impact on society. Again, many don't think so.

They think what we have to do is put all of our effort into political action groups lobbying for changes in the Supreme Court try to get increasing numbers.

Some Christian legislatures and force obedience to the law of God by legislation. God's way of reforming society at all. Some of these efforts have some value on criticizing all who get involved in them block what is needed is the word of God, the teaching of the Word of God.

That's where the power is found, and if we fail to do this.

What we are showing is a failure of simple faith in God were demonstrating a simple unbelief.

Now we go on not only according to Jesus. Do Christians need to believe the Bible and stand on. It is a matter of principle.

I also have to obey and act on it to the ultimate test of whether the professed disciple was actually a follower of Jesus Christ is what Jesus says in verse 19 anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same.

We called least in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. One thing that verse teaches is the existence of gradations in God's kingdom. That is what we would call degrees or rewards.

Some disciples are going to write. Others are going to write well and this evaluation according to Jesus is going to be on a two-pronged scale number one will take note of whoever keeps the law and doesn't break it. Number two will take note of whatever teaches the law others and does not lead them to break the standard Jesus sets forth errors personal obedience to the law and also communication of the teaching of the Bible to other people while teachers have a particularly high obligation in this area of the disciples were among them. This particular moment they're sitting there with all the others. Learning from Jesus, but not long after this going to be sent out into the round about towns and communities to teach you things that Jesus taught them what he saying here is that it's very important that they teach the Bible rightly teaches that their own insights about their own perceptions of the way things are not their own evaluation of the needs of other people. But what the Bible says Jesus sets the example by explaining it here and elsewhere and there to do the same only are the disciples to be judged by this major Christians of all sorts are to be judged by it to Jesus suggested this when he spoke about anyone who might mislead one of God's children. Remember that it would be much better for such a person to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck and for them to cause one of these little ones to sin 17 verse two. Now that verse is mostly negative feeling so act or teach rightly in the last verse of the section. Worse, we come to now we come to what's positive but strikingly positive is not more encouraging than the negative contrary, it's thing and sobering, even frightening because it is what Jesus says.

I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven, we posit that we suggest Jesus is saying the Pharisees and the teachers of the law. Those are the most moral and upright people we know in order to become members of your kingdom.

Our righteousness will surpass that well. What possible chance. We have listened how sobering this is. In the previous verse, verse 19 Jesus said that failing to practice the law, or teaching others to break it will result in a Dishonorable Pl. in God's kingdom here in this verse, verse 20 he says that without a righteousness surpassing that even of the Pharisees and teachers of the law, the alleged disciple will have no place in the kingdom will have to correct something, but I wrote 1/4 of a century ago must reach a certain point in your ministry when you can look back on a quarter-century and I have. I think with some increased understanding of the word. When I first handled this verse in a series of messages that eventually appeared as my book on the sermon on the mount. I thought that the righteousness referred to in verse 20 is that divine righteousness that God imputes to us on the basis of the death of Jesus Christ thing I said about that imputed righteousness is all certainly do need an imputed righteousness is what the very gospel is about what I didn't see at the time and do now is that that is not the way. Matthew uses the word righteousness in the gospel he hasn't used it that way. Earlier in the sermon and he doesn't use it that way later when Matthew speaks of righteousness. He always means an actual conformity to God's demands in Scripture, both externally and what we do an internal life by what we are and what we think in the next verses of the sermon on the monitor going to go on to show it all that's the case, how do we link up with what we've been taught about justification. Justification by grace alone on the basis of the work of Christ alone. What we do it in this way, it is true. Justification by the imputed righteousness of Christ is the very core of the gospel. It's the thing that Martin Luther referred to when he said it is the doctrine on which the church stands or falls. Absolutely true and essential, but it is not everything that happens when we become a Christian and it's not what Jesus is talking about here, God justifies us on the basis of Christ's work through think that's true, but at the same time, the God justifies is he also regenerates us as it's accompanied by the new birth, and indeed it's because of the new birth. We even believe on the salvation experience justification. So without justification. There's no regeneration that regeneration there's no justification to actually go together in the point of it is that the justified person because he is regenerated will live differently. Indeed, because he has the life of Christ with them will live a life which is superior in its moral quality, even to the best of the moral attainments of the most righteous persons in the world is what Jesus was talking about when he spoke to Nicodemus he said to Nicodemus, you must be born again is what Paul was talking about when he wrote to the Ephesians God made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions is on the basis of lack.

The apostle Paul, in particular, will speak of two kinds righteousness, the kind of righteousness of which were capable in ourselves which will never in a million years ever get us to heaven is why we need the righteousness of Christ the same time, righteous acts, good deeds, of which we are capable because of the work of Jesus Christ within us because he actually does them and that is what we need is evidence of the fact we really born again, Carson says, verse 20 doesn't establish how the righteousness is to be gained, developed or empowered, but it does lay out the demand. Let's ask the question as we close, how is the superior practical righteousness to be gained and developed and empowered the answer is by coming to Christ binding not only our justification but also new life in him, and then by obeying the commands of the law by the power Jesus Christ supplies this is possible for us to regenerated state because, as Paul said when he wrote to the Philippians. It is God who works in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

The wonderful thing about that is that all the glory goes to God because when we find ourselves actually doing the things the law requires. We don't say like doing this somehow were attaining merit for ourselves and catching God's attention and somehow earning Alpine we say is God is at work in us will lend to do of his good pleasure.

And so we give God glory who think of a gospel like that we couldn't do it. You would never think of a thing like that we either make our salvation depend upon our works, or we would say well it's all by the grace of God and works no matter gluttonous into everything you believe here's a righteousness which is not only imputed but worked out and confounds wisest even of this world's scholars and amaze the apostle Paul. He got to the end of the 11th chapter of Romans. After he talked about of the great length and that greatest of all the doctoral epistles in the Bible and he said all the depth of the wisdom and the knowledge of God began to reflect on it, he said, who could ever think a thing like that out of the never offered anything to God, who can ever figure out how he is thinking when he gets to the end. He says for from him and through women and to him are all things therefore to him alone be the glory.

Those would know the grace of God say father, we thank you that we have been able to study these important words of the Lord Jesus Christ together is teaching about the Bible's importance, abiding validity, we asked you to implant the truths of his teaching in our hearts that we might actually live by the teaching of this book, and so bring glory not to ourselves or any mere human being, but you alone branches is you are listening to the Bible study hour with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview. Drawing upon the insight and wisdom of reformed theologians from decades and even centuries gone by. We seek to provide Christian teaching that will equip believers to understand and meet the challenges and opportunities of our time and place.

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