Fulfilling the Law in the New Covenant

Olu Talabi

Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.

—Mathew 5:17-18

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit

—Romans 8:1-4

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”

— Galatians 5:14

From the above verses, the Law is fulfilled in the New Covenant through a life lived in Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit. The primary expression of this life is love: love for God and a love for others. Obedience in the Old Covenant was maintained by rules; in the New Covenant obedience is attained through a love for the Lord Jesus Christ. Love is more than an inward affection towards something or someone else; for a believer, the love of God is an expression of His power towards us. This power enables us to attain the fulness of life He desires for us. Paul once declared that ‘the love of God constrains us’. This love is given to us by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5).

The Law (of Moses) in the Old Covenant was given for several reasons including: to show us our sins (Romans 3:20 and 5:13); to show our inability to fulfill God’s law of righteousness through works (Romans 3:21-23); and to be our ‘schoolmaster to bring us to Christ’ (Galatians 3:24). We can never fulfill all of God’s desires through the Law. It is in Jesus Christ alone that we can walk in a manner fully pleasing to God. Hence the Scriptures declare that the Old Covenant is abolished with Christ Himself being the fulfillment of the Law.

Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of all that the Father desires for us. In fulfilling God’s Law of righteousness, He is our model (I Peter 2:21), our life (Colossians 3:4), our righteousness (II Corinthians 5:21), our peace (Ephesians 2:14), and our salvation (Romans 10:13). All our praise and glory must go to this One who has brought us to a right standing with our Father.

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