Commandments for Christians – Matthew 5:17

The-Ten-Commandments-Tablets-Are-Christians-Under-the-LawIn my introduction to this series of blog posts, I drew attention to verses that supported my belief that the ten commandments were no longer applicable to the believer.

Verses like Romans 10:4, that I understood taught the law ended at the cross.

I hope you have noted that during our discussions in this topic, I found that the keeping of the ten commandments is a fruit of living in the Spirit, not a requirement to keep the Spirit.

Massive difference, and one which makes so much sense.  But what about those earlier verses?  I can’t just ignore them, or relegate them to some dustbin of irrelevance.  No no no – that won’t do!

So in this epilogue, I thought I would consider the verses that helped support my erroneous thinking earlier.

So off we go.

Matthew 5:17

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.

Let’s look at some words – cause as a good friend once told me – Words have meanings!!!

Abolish – καταλύω katalýō, kat-al-oo’-o

to dissolve, disunite

    1. (what has been joined together), to destroy, demolish

    2. metaph. to overthrow i.e. render vain, deprive of success, bring to naught

      1. to subvert, overthrow

        1. of institutions, forms of government, laws, etc., to deprive of force, annul, abrogate, discard

    3. of travellers, to halt on a journey, to put up, lodge (the figurative expression originating in the circumstance that, to put up for the night, the straps and packs of the beasts of burden are unbound and taken off; or, more correctly from the fact that the traveller’s garments, tied up when he is on the journey, are unloosed at it end)

The Lord used καταλύω in the following verse.  This verse the word is translated as “thrown down”

Matthew 24:2

But he answered them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”

One more time, an accuser used καταλύω when he described the Lord saying  He would “destroy” the temple of God

Matthew 26:61

and said, “This man said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to rebuild it in three days.’”

Interesting that καταλύω, at least within Matthews usage, is linked to the law and the temple.  I don’t want to make much of this, other than for a good Jew, which Matthew was appealing to, these were harsh descriptions.
Tearing down the temple (the stones at least), destroying the temple. and in our original verse, abolishing the Law.
But as Jeremiah was sent to tear down, demolish root out etc, so the Master was sent to tear down and to build up.  This is where understanding the next term becomes helpful.

Fulfill

πληρόω plēróō, play-ro’-o

  1. to make full, to fill up, i.e. to fill to the full

    1. to cause to abound, to furnish or supply liberally

      1. I abound, I am liberally supplied

  2. to render full, i.e. to complete

    1. to fill to the top: so that nothing shall be wanting to full measure, fill to the brim

    2. to consummate: a number

      1. to make complete in every particular, to render perfect

      2. to carry through to the end, to accomplish, carry out, (some undertaking)

    3. to carry into effect, bring to realisation, realise

      1. of matters of duty: to perform, execute

      2. of sayings, promises, prophecies, to bring to pass, ratify, accomplish

      3. to fulfil, i.e. to cause God’s will (as made known in the law) to be obeyed as it should be, and God’s promises (given through the prophets) to receive fulfilment

LawProphetsJesusThis is awesome!  If I’m understanding this correctly, Jesus was not here to destroy the law and the prophets, but to bring them to fruition, to the full effect, to bring about the reason the law was granted.

I focused only on the negative portion of the verse, which is so common when I read a passage.

I think that is not so wise.  Let me explain.

When I seek to perform an action, I may describe preliminary tasks that need to be accomplished in order to complete the original task.  The preliminary tasks are not the focus, simply a step to complete the big picture.

When I built my wife her patio, I had to dig into the ground to set piers.  Telling her I’m building her a patio, did not involve telling her all the steps to perform that work.  Digging down, taking material out of the ground, only set the stage for the building up (of the patio!)

In fulfilling the Law and the Prophets, the moral code wasn’t abolished, ie taken away.  It was fulfilled by one Man. To show us the way to walk. 

He supplied the pattern, the steps to walk in, and on top of that, he provided the Spirit of God, the new man to energize, guide and protect as we too seek to walk in the Spirit.


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Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

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