Until the time of John the Baptist, the law and prophets were in effect, but there was a man coming behind John whose mission was to fulfill the law and prophets and it is the fulfillment of that law and prophets we are going to see in this sermon.
So without any waste of time, let’s get started right away.
What is fulfillment of the law and prophets.
Fulfillment of the law and prophets is the manifestation of Jesus Christ to rightfully interpret the commandments of God which the prophet Moses was not able to interpret.
For example it was written in the law of Moses that if anyone is caught in Murder he too must be murdered: Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot. Burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe. (Exodus 21:24-25). But Jesus showed us that even the person that calls a fellow human being foolish is also guilty of murder, and therefore should not show up to either bear witness, judge or punish anyone caught in murder.
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘you shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Race!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘you fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, “leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. (Mathew 5:21-25)
(Please, go to your bible and read the above chapter from verses 26 down to 47 to see the laws Jesus amended.)
Another way to understand why Jesus amended the laws is that, if we closely observe the new laws that Jesus mentioned above, we will find out that the first laws were even easier to obey- for it is easier to revenge than to forgive. It will take time for you to take a woman to bed but easier to commit adultery with her in the mind.
Thus if the Jews had such law and they couldn’t observe it, how much more will we Christians be able to observe this kind of law?
But then, if we look at it from that perspective, we might end up saying that Jesus wanted us to perish, because how could He, after seeing that the first law was easy and people could not keep it, came along and gave a harder one.
But, let me reveal to you that the first law is no different from the second; because the moment you start abusing your brother you have already initiated the hate that will cause you to kill him one day. And the moment you begin to lust after a woman it will make you start advances at her which at the end will make you commit adultery with her.
And this knowledge further reveals to us that all things pertaining to the laws, begins and ends in the heart, or call it conscience, as it is written:
For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our hearts, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence towards God. (1 John 3:20)
Who show the work of the law written in their hearts. Their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thought accusing or else excusing them). In the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel. (Romans 2:15-16)
And this was why God promised:
‘I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26)
So from here we realize that Jesus came to make the second law much easier for us, because if you know beforehand that abusing your brother will amount to killing him you will then immediately be able to repent and in so doing end up not even getting close to murder.
Likewise if you also know beforehand that lusting after a woman will make you adulterate with her you will then immediately be able to repent and thus end up not getting close to adultery.
But am however sad because, some people misinterpret this law to say that if one calls his brother stupid he is already guilty of murder, so he should go ahead and kill him. And if a man looks at a woman with lust, he is already guilty of adultery so he should go ahead and sleep with that woman.
Now to sum up this point, we must also note that even the scribes and Pharisees who acted as lawyers: condemning people once they are found guilty, were themselves unable to keep the law as Jesus Himself figuratively observed in Mathew 23:4:
“For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
The Holy Spirit replaces the prophet to help us to keep the law.
Now the most important and overall point is that, God used the Jews disobedience to the law, to prove to us that we will never be able to keep the laws by our own power and might, that was why He finally promised us His Spirit who will enable us keep these laws:
“I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you will keep my judgments and do them. (Ezekiel 36:27)
And through the Spirit, He will be able to stay inside us and will us into doing good things.
For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13)
And His Son showed us how the Holy Spirit is going to help us observe His laws.
“but the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. (John 14:26).
“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot hear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on his own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak: and He will tell you things to come. (John 16:12-13).
And this literally means that the Holy Spirit will dwell in us and always forewarn us if we are about to do wrong, as well as help us go to God for forgiveness if we mistakenly offend Him.
He will also act as a guide leading us always to do those things that pleases God i.e. into all truth.
But this Spirit was not promised to just anybody, but to those who will believe in the One He will send, as it is written.
‘He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, out of his heart will Flow Rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him will receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (John 7:38-39)
And Paul himself revealed this:
In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, (Ephesians 1:13)
Now we might come to a point where we say that God does not know what He is doing, because if He knew that we could not keep the laws by ourselves without His Spirit, He shouldn’t have given us the law at first, it is the Spirit He would have given to us before the law.
But beloved, there is one thing about God we must know; God does not rely on giving us just stories He wants us to go through the experience first so that we can have an idea of whatever point He is trying to make to us.
For instance, if there is danger ahead, God knows that if He tells you to go back you will doubt Him, so He will first of all allow you to go ahead and meet the danger while He keeps guard and deliver you, so that when next you come to that place you will remember by yourself that there is danger and turn back because you had the experience.
Having been acquainted with the above knowledge, we can see why Paul was urging the Jews to believe in Jesus so that they could be able to now obey the law, but they misconstrued him.
Let us examine Paul’s epistles to confirm that this was the same reason Paul seemed to be preaching against the law.
For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God. (Romans 2: 28-29)
For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another! I say then: walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outburst of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in the past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. (Galatians 5:13-26).
Note that this scripture concludes Paul’s message about the law to the Galatians.
Above all, Paul himself thought he was obeying the law while he was persecuting the early followers of Christ.
Though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eight day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning a law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. (Philippians 3:4-6)
So I think that, no one except Paul would have been in a better position to understand how the Jews were responding to the law.
I hope at this juncture, you can understand clearly the kind of law Paul was always against.
Note: I have been hearing that many believers are misinterpreting this message of law by Paul to continue in their sins claiming that because they have accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and savior, they are no more under the law.
But I mean to charge any one that says this to dress as a believer and carry a bible with gun to go and rob and kill and then wait and be caught, whether such a one will not find himself in the police station and later in court to be tried and executed for robbery and murder.
So what the scripture means that we are not under the law is that, as believers nothing will ever make us to go and commit a crime that will bring us before the law; and so the scripture shows us whom the law was made for:
Knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insurbodinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine. (1 Timothy 1:9-10).
And for those who are misinterpreting Paul’s epistles to continue in their sinfulness, as well as mislead others they better read what Paul said below.
But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unjust who inflicts wrath? (I speak as a man). Certainly not! For then how will God judge the world? For if the truth of God has increased through my lie to His glory, why am I also still judged as a sinner? And why not, “let us do evil so that good may come”. –as some affirm that we say. Their condemnation is just. (Romans 3:5-8)
Now in case you are confused with the above scripture, let me enlighten you about what Paul means here.
He is writing about how people misquote him to arrive at a point where they say “let us do evil so that good may come” and you get that understanding at the point where he says “as some affirm that we say. Their condemnation is just.
As I always say and will continue to say, we must always be careful how we interpret Paul’s epistles even as Peter noted:
And consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation-as also our beloved brother Paul , according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the scriptures. (2 Peter 3:14-16)