Christ said,"I have not come to destroy but to fulfill........ Fulfill what?

Matthew 5 study
all photos are ©brendasalzano

The sermon on the mount.  What is the meaning of verse 17?  
“Think not that I have come to abolish the law but to FULFILL it”
Christ Came to Fulfill the Law
Mat 5:17  Do not think that I have come to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I have not come to destroy but to fulfill.
Mat 5:18  For truly I say to you, Till the heaven and the earth pass away, not one jot or one tittle shall in any way pass from the Law until all is fulfilled.

some say this is proof all the laws remain the same. Others like to use it to say the laws of the old testament are done away.  But what “laws” are Christ talking about.  I believe He gives us those “laws” further in this chapter.

Before I get into that I want to mention a very important part in this chapter.  That of being the salt of the earth and a light.  Notice when you read verses 1 through 16 that Jesus is first telling us the traits of what God considers the actions and deeds of righteous men and women. 1-11
and then He talks about our influence in this world.  It is not easy to be so different from the ways of the world and we may want to withdraw and hide.  It hurts when others revile us and scorn us.  People who do not know God or follow God are mean and wish to do others harm.  Some intentionally and some not.  No matter what they do we are not to do the same.  But withdrawing from others then benefits no one.  For it is NOT by what we preach that will bring others to God but by our examples If our examples are no different then the worlds we make no impact.  But if it is…then we are reflecting the light of God. For we not the light but only a reflection of His light at this time.   Pointing to to Him and His ways of love and good.  That’s the  least we can do while we ourselves are learning and growing.  As Christ says, if we hide ourselves under a barrel no one can see the good things we do.  Then they have no example in the dark world that there is a LIGHT that shows the way to truth and right.  

Mat 5:19  Therefore whoever shall relax one of these commandments, the least, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of Heaven. But whoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of Heaven.Mat 5:20  For I say to you that unless your righteousness shall exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no case enter into the kingdom of Heaven.

Now Jesus starts to tell us some of the laws that are important:

1.  Verse 21 is talking about ANGER
 You have heard that it was said to the ancients, "You shall not kill" —and, "Whoever shall kill shall be liable to the judgment."
Mat 5:22  But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be liable to the judgment. And whoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be liable to the sanhedrin; but whoever shall say, Fool! shall be liable to be thrown into the fire of hell.
Mat 5:23  Therefore if you offer your gift on the altar, and there remember that your brother has anything against you,
Mat 5:24  leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

So we know that Anger/ Hate is one of the things we must get out of our lives.  (notice the it says "you have heard it said to the ancients (old times) but I SAY (Christ is telling the broader sense of the law) Anger  hampers our own prayers to God.  It hurts our own souls.  Your anger and hatred will do nothing to change another person but harboring it and expressing it to others will damage you enormously !  
©Tirzah Bauer

2. Lust
Mat 5:27  You have heard that it was said to the ancients, "You shall not commit adultery."
Mat 5:28  But I say to you that whoever looks on a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Mat 5:29  And if your right eye offends you, pluck it out and throw it from you. For it is profitable for you that one of your members should perish, and not that your whole body should be thrown into hell.
Mat 5:30  And if your right hand offends you, cut it off and throw it from you. For it is profitable for you that one of your members should perish, and not that your whole body should be thrown into hell.

Here is one covering adultery and lusting after things that do not belong to us!  Not meaning to literally pull out your eye but to not even LOOK at things you should not be looking at. Porn, your neighbors wife or husband (to desire them) , your neighbors possessions etc.  

3. Divorce
Mat 5:31  It was also said, Whoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a bill of divorce.
Mat 5:32  But I say to you that whoever shall put away his wife, except for the cause of fornication, causes her to commit adultery. And whoever shall marry her who is put away commits adultery.

What more needs to be said.  God hates divorce.  It is so common now, no one thinks about it. We live with this as normal but God did not make it so. It was a HOLY union that was to prepare us to understand the union of God and man.  Like a marriage.  I have learned from my own life how devastating divorce is on families, children, spouses in ways you never heal from totally.  It was instituted as  a HOLY union that GOD put together,  and NOT a man made law.  What GOD has put together no man can undo.  God decides what is good and what is Holy is not to be tread upon with lawlessness.  God united a man and woman through the sexual union.  This bound them together as ONE flesh.  

4. Oaths or telling the truth and not lying and about swearing
Mat 5:33  Again, you have heard that it has been said to the ancients, "You shall not swear falsely, but you shall perform your oaths to the Lord."
Mat 5:34  But I say to you, Do not swear at all! Not by Heaven, because it is God's throne;
Mat 5:35  not by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet; not by Jerusalem, because it is the city of the great King;
Mat 5:36  nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black.
Mat 5:37  But let your word be, Yes, yes; No, no. For whatever is more than these comes from evil.

This whole part is about what we say.  What we use our mouth for.  It is about NOT lying, it is about being truthful, and swearing something is true when it is not.    It covers not taking God’s name in vain slang too. Dishonoring God by speaking anything with His name is wrong.  It is about using your words for TRUTH and uplifting productive use.   

5. Retaliation
Mat 5:38  You have heard that it was said, "An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth."
Mat 5:39  But I say to you, Do not resist evil. But whoever shall strike you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.
Mat 5:40  And to him desiring to sue you, and to take away your tunic, let him have your coat also.
Mat 5:41  And whoever shall compel you to go a mile, go with him two.
Mat 5:42  Give to him who asks of you, and you shall not turn away from him who would borrow from you.
We are not to “pay back” evil for evil.  If someone hurts us, we are not to get back at them because all judgement is God’s not ours.  We are all His creation and He is the one to pass judgement. In His time and HIS way.  
A whole message can be created on every subject so far but for now this covers pay back and going the extra mile for those in need or even just going the extra mile to be over and above average in kindness.  Do keep in mind proper spiritual “boundaries”.  God has boundaries for action and thoughts and so should we.  

Love Your Enemies
Mat 5:43  You have heard that it was said, "You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy."
Mat 5:44  But I say to you, Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who despitefully use you and persecute you,
Mat 5:45  so that you may become sons of your Father in Heaven. For He makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
Mat 5:46  For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax-collectors do the same?
Mat 5:47  And if you greet your brothers only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax-collectors do so?
Mat 5:48  Therefore be perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect

This last “law” Jesus gives us examples of in Matthew 5 is Love your enemies or about neighbors and enemies. 

Did you notice these are not the ‘Laws” you remember in the old testament?  Ex 20
What we see here is more than the letter of the law of commandments and is exactly what Jesus was saying when He summed up the commandments by saying “ Love God with all your hearts and your neighbor as yourself”.  
Look at how much more is getting anger out of your life.  It is not just the feeling of anger and hate, it is impossible to love with anger in your life.  Anger affects every thing in your life and you- if you allow it.  God can help you get anger and hate out of your life and you must if you want to be a follower of Christ!  God forbids you to hate others and you are forbidden to hate yourself!  For no good can come from it.  With us it is impossible but with God all things are possible!

All the examples are just as Christ said.  When we love God first and Love all others as we love ourselves this is the fulfillment of the law.  Of course we cannot attain that perfection yet.  But we are to practice it until Christ makes it so in us.  Most likely at our resurrection into spirit beings at His return.

To the people before Christ came to earth,  came the law. It was written in elementary language for people who could not know sin without these laws.  But since Christ came and died for us the door is open to understand and once we surrender our will and invite God to put His Holy Spirit in us we begin the real fulfillment of the law of God’s love.  

It is not enough to just close up my mouth and not lie.  I must go far above that commandment.  I must not lie but tell truth.  I must not deceive others but more than even those I must crave and strive to be honest and truthful and helpful with my mouth and what I think.  Do you see what what  the fulfillment is?  Not only when Christ comes back but that we get to the point where we do not need to go over again the basic 10 commandments continually.  But that we understand, believe and strive to live the essence of all those commandments!  This is HUGE knowledge.  

Now I do not have a commandment to not lie, I do NOT WANT TO!
Now I do not have a commandment to honor my parents, I WANT TOO!
No one has to command me to do these things I do it willingly.  I deeply feel any time I fall short of the sincere and loving ways of God.  I fall on my knees and plead for His divine help to overcome.  The flesh is weak but God is Strong and perfect.  

It can be fairly easy to put on a mask of “doing” the commandments but eventually if you are faking it, the true you will come out.  The anger, the bitterness, the lusting, etc.  Only when the masks are chipped away by God through your circumstances of life can the new you begin to show.  The new you that no longer pretends to love others, you start LOVING them.  In actions and thoughts.  One cannot love someone sincerely without showing it.   
You have seen it thousands of times.  Someone who goes to church for years, then suddenly quits and turns bitter. Why?  Because it was not sudden.  They have been acting or covering up something from their past all this time and it finally just could not be hidden any longer.  Now that person will have to deal with the truth.  They will make a decision one way or the other.  

I try, I fail
I trust, and He succeeds!  

Christ indeed did not come to erase the law but to fulfill it!  To show the greater depth and width of it!  It is not about a number of laws to do or not do.  It is about character growth.  It is about attitude and thought.  It is about action that pleases God at all times. Why? Because this right way of living helps everyone when we do.  EVERYONE.  You, your neighbor, your family everyone.  Now go back and read verses 1-11 again!!  Now do you see it?

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