Time Alone With God daily devotional

Time Alone With God daily devotional

by Pastor Phil Stout, JAXNAZ Lead Pastor

Read: Matthew 5:17-20

Matthew 5:17-20

New International Version (NIV)

The Fulfillment of the Law
17 “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. 18 For truly I tell you, 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. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

 

Consider: In Jesus’ magnificent Sermon on the Mount, he said…

“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.” (Matthew 5:17)

He even goes on to affirm “the smallest letter,” “the least stroke of the pen” and “the least of these commands” contained in the Law of God (5:18-19).

That can sound rather confusing when you read the rest of the sermon, because immediately (and repeatedly) after saying that, Jesus referred to the Law in a much different manner. He said…

“You have heard that it was said…but I tell you…”

Six times in that sermon (5:21-22, 27,-28, 31-32, 33-34, 38-39, 43-44) Jesus taught that the Law that was given to them was no longer God’s will for them. He called us to something higher and deeper. The religious leaders of his day believed that Jesus was diminishing the Law—calling it worthless.

But Jesus was exalting God’s true Law. He came to fulfill the Law by teaching us the intent of the Law. To keep the letter of the Law does not fulfill it. To see the will of God for his creation is the fulfillment of the Law. And the God who is love (1 John 4:8, 16) taught that the fulfillment of the Law is love. Jesus said that the entirety of scripture—God’s complete will for us—is summarized in this…

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40)

When we see the Law in this light, we understand what Jesus meant when he said that our righteousness must surpass that of the Pharisees. We must live by love.

Pray: “Lord, I’m so prone to see the fulfillment of your will in terms of things that I can accomplish for you. Help me today to see that the fulfillment of your Law is love. Please help me to have eyes that see opportunities today to love like you love.”

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