I HAVE NOT COME TO ABOLISH 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.
18For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.
19Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
20For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
In this clear statement, Lord JESUS explains the importance of the Mosaic Law in the life of the believers.
It is true that He gave this sermon while He was alive, before the atonement on the cross, but nevertheless, the new Christian dispensation was already open, since Jesus was born.
The Mosaic Law was given as a set of religious, moral and social rules to the people of Israel, and through them to the whole world, as an example of what GOD expected from humanity, which also denoted his immutable character (Deuteronomy 4:6-7).
However, in their freedom, men could not always perform as requested by GOD, so they sinned and needed forgiveness. The Bible teaches that Jesus was the only one who ever fulfilled the Law to the last iota (1Peter 2:22; 1John 3:5) and therefore, He qualified as the perfect atonement for the sins of humanity.
When JESUS said that “until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law” (Matthew 5:18), He declared the immutability of God who issued the commandments, showing that what was morally bad then, it will always be bad, and therefore, the value of the moral rules, including the social ones, were current forever, while the value of the religious rules, which Jesus fulfilled with aspects of his own life, like his death on the cross instead of the sacrifice of animals, and the Lord’s Supper instead of the Pascha, it would fulfill eternally those regulations, so that no sacrifices, ceremonies or priesthood were going to be necessary again.
But also gives a warning. Unless our morality is better than the Jews of the time, like the Pharisees or Scribes, we wont be admitted into God’s glory, because it demands a change of heart (John 3:3).
It is not enough to simply submit to the letter of the Law, by not committing adultery, or murder, or thieving, and so on, but also, we must not desire these things in our hearts. Because GOD wants righteous people with Him for eternity, and He is not speaking about ‘imputed’ righteousness, but real righteousness (Hebrews 12:14).
But also the word of consolation is given, when JESUS says that He came to fulfilled all the Law, implying not only that He would perform the Law to the full, as He was perfect, but also, that his perfection will be offered instead of our sins, so that we sinful men, when we repent, and not before, we could have access to God’s forgiveness, so that our shortcomings would be fulfilled in Christ Jesus.
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”