Summary: What is the relationship between the Law and New Testament believers?


MATTHEW 5:17-20


MT 5:17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.

(1) Jesus fulfilled the Requirements of the Moral Law.

The 10 Commandments concern moral law and behavior. All persons are responsible their own moral behavior. Anyone breaking the law is a sinner. The wages of sin is death. People quibble over who is the worst sinner– this is irrelevant– the wages for 1 million sins or 1 sin is still death!

** Example- In the Old West, A murdering Rustler was hanged. A rustler that hadn't murdered anyone was also hanged. In the end, it didn't matter whether or not you murdered anyone because you would still be just as dead from hanging for rustling.

** Jesus is the only person that ever lived that kept God’s Moral Law perfectly, so He is the only one that fulfilled the requirements of Law.

(2) Jesus fulfilled the Ceremonial Law.

Ceremonial Law governed Israel’s worship. All people were sinners and guilty of breaking the Moral Law. God instituted the sacrificial system in the Garden of Eden after Adam/Eve sinned by slaying an animal to provide a covering for them (for their body and their sins).

** Israel– Each year a perfect lamb is brought to the Temple. The sins of the people were symbolically placed on the animal. The lamb is sacrificed on the altar and the blood is carried by the High Priest into the Holy of Holies to be offered on the Mercy Seat.

Heb 9:22 all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness {of sin}.

The sacrifice provided a covering of man’s sin. Jesus came and died on the cross to fulfill that sacrificial system. Jesus = Lamb of God.

Mt 26:28 for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.

With the perfect sacrifice of Jesus, the sacrifice of lambs has ended. Lamb’s blood only temporarily covered sins, the blood of Jesus destroyed sin.


MT 5:18 For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.

* Notice that Jesus didn’t say the Law was in force until the NT Age.

* The Law is permanent until Heaven and Earth pass away. In other words, until the earth is destroyed and evil vanquished. Until the lost are judged and all believers are in Heaven.

* There is no need for “the Law” in Heaven because believers will be made perfect– no sin in Heaven.

* We are still Responsible for keeping the Moral Law. If the Law is still in effect in the New Testament times, then we are responsible for keeping it.

* One big change from the OT to the NT concerning the Law is the motive changes for NT believers.

Mt 22:36-40 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

The 10 Commandments are summed up in these 2 “NT Laws”. If you keep these 2, then you will also keep the 10 from the OT. Notice that the motive for keeping these 2 is “love”.


MT 2:19 Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

** Unbelievers- Lost people are judged according to the Law and are condemned for breaking God’s Laws and not submitting to Christ.

** Believers- Also held accountable to the Law. God says those who break the commandments and leads others to do so are the LEAST.

Those who keep God’s commandments and teaches others to obey God will be called the GREATEST in the Kingdom.


MT 5:20 “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

Is 64:6 For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment

Many are so proud of their own perceived goodness that they think God is impressed by their good deeds. “God, look how good I am”. God looks down at their good works and also sees their sins.

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