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Thread: What did Jesus mean when he said "he was not going to do away with the Law, but to fulfill it?

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    What did Jesus mean when he said "he was not going to do away with the Law, but to fulfill it?

    The Law was to reveal sin, and the offerings were to atone for the sins of the people. Jesus taught that if a man lusts after a woman it is the same as having an affair with her.
    It sounds like Jesus took the law a step further, pointing out the sin begins in the heart, or mind, and through the eyes, of man.
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    Senior Member Doug Ward's Avatar

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    Re: What did Jesus mean when he said "he was not going to do away with the Law, but to fulfill it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynn Blakely View Post
    Jesus taught that if a man lusts after a woman it is the same as having an affair with her.
    No, Jesus most definitely did NOT teach this. This is an example of taking things too far. If this was actually the teaching of Jesus, then if I look at a woman with lust, then I might as well go through with the affair, after all, since I have already done the sin, might as well actually follow through. Similarly, it is not the the same if someone wants to kill my son, than actually killing him. Please do not make this mistake. This would be a God that is morally confused at best, and negligent.
    Jesus was looking at a group of Pharisees who felt they were sinless, since they did notkill, or have an extra-marital relation. Jesus was simply telling them that sin was still present. If one wants to have an affair it is an example of sin. But that is NOT saying that wanting to and doing it are the same thing. Not even close.
    On second thought, let's not go to Camelot. It is a silly place.

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    Senior Member Jon Bemis's Avatar

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    Re: What did Jesus mean when he said "he was not going to do away with the Law, but to fulfill it?

    To answer your question, "What did Jesus mean when he said "he was not going to do away with the Law, but to fulfill it?"
    Here are a couple of passages that address this:
    The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit. Romans 8:3-4
    Before the way of faith in Christ was available to us, we were placed under guard by the law. We were kept in protective custody, so to speak, until the way of faith was revealed. Let me put it another way. The law was our guardian until Christ came; it protected us until we could be made right with God through faith. And now that the way of faith has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian. Galatians 3:23-25
    Regarding your example:
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynn Blakely View Post
    The Law was to reveal sin, and the offerings were to atone for the sins of the people. Jesus taught that if a man lusts after a woman it is the same as having an affair with her.
    It sounds like Jesus took the law a step further, pointing out the sin begins in the heart, or mind, and through the eyes, of man.
    I agree with Doug - Christ did not teach this. This is a common misinterpretation of Matthew 5:28. For an in-depth treatment of this Scripture check here.
    Loving God . . . Loving others.
    Thanks David Graham, Mike Schutz - "thanks" for this post

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    Senior Member Glenn Messer's Avatar

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    Re: What did Jesus mean when he said "he was not going to do away with the Law, but to fulfill it?

    I'm not a theologian so I have no desire to argue the minutia of the question, but I'll take a go from a practical perspective.

    Paul's observation of the law was that its purpose was to convince us of our sin. In short, the law confirms my guilt.

    Are you are familiar with the commercials where the bank is being robbed and the patrons tell the security guard to do something? He tells them he is not a security guard. He is a security monitor whose only job is to determine whether or not the bank is being robbed. He then looks at the robbers and turns back to the patrons and informs them that the bank is being robbed. That's the law.

    It is important to know the bank's being robbed. But that alone does not solve the problem. What the law could not do (solve the problem of my guilt) Jesus could do. Thus Jesus brings the purpose of the law into the fullness of grace. In a sense it is as though redemption's plan comes full circle in Jesus Christ.

    As to the other, Doug is right. To think of it in a modern context, it is sorta like saying "I don't sleep with my neighbor's wife, but I do spend a lot of time on porn sites." In a sense, Jesus is saying "You hypocrites don't do the deed, but you spend a lot of time painting mental images in your minds. Don't tell me you have no sin!"

    Needless to say, this is short and simple, but it conveys the idea that works for me.
    Thanks David Graham, Mike Schutz - "thanks" for this post

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    Re: What did Jesus mean when he said "he was not going to do away with the Law, but to fulfill it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynn Blakely View Post
    The Law was to reveal sin, and the offerings were to atone for the sins of the people. Jesus taught that if a man lusts after a woman it is the same as having an affair with her.
    It sounds like Jesus took the law a step further, pointing out the sin begins in the heart, or mind, and through the eyes, of man.
    “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have not come to abolish these things but to fulfill them. 18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth pass away not the smallest letter or stroke of a letter will pass from the law until everything takes place. 19 So anyone who breaks one of the least of these commands and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever obeys them and teaches others to do so will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness goes beyond that of the experts in the law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven

    Two parts- to fulfill what was spoken before hand about Jesus and its still taught we are not free to sin so commands are still in place.

    It seems the commandments touched on by Jesus were from the original 10 given to Moses.

    But to answer your question—if you want to receive eternal life, keep the commandments.”

    18 “Which ones?” the man asked.

    And Jesus replied: “‘You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. 19 Honor your father and mother. Love your neighbor as yourself.’

    Rev
    Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus.
    "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?"
    (Psalms 27:1)

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    Re: What did Jesus mean when he said "he was not going to do away with the Law, but to fulfill it?

    I was reading something today that brought this thread to mind. When Jesus says, in Matt. 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" he isn't talking about keeping rules. He is saying that he, himself, is the fulfillment of the Law and Prophets. He didn't come to make it possible for us to live according to the O.T. - his coming is, itself, the fulfillment of the Law. In him, and in him only, do we keep the greatest commandment, to love God with all our heart, soul, and strength. Everything the Law was intended to be he is - and as we live in him our lives align with God's intention.

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    Re: What did Jesus mean when he said "he was not going to do away with the Law, but to fulfill it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynn Blakely View Post
    The Law was to reveal sin, and the offerings were to atone for the sins of the people. Jesus taught that if a man lusts after a woman it is the same as having an affair with her.
    It sounds like Jesus took the law a step further, pointing out the sin begins in the heart, or mind, and through the eyes, of man.
    Hi Lynn,

    Regarding "Jesus took the law a step further, pointing out the sin begins in the heart...", this Doug is going to agree with you, and thus, respectfully disagree with the other Doug, et al. I think the point of Jesus' teaching is that the Pharisees, and thus the general cultural view, of sin was in the action itself, whereas Jesus was saying that it was a motivational aspect. "For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander." (Matt 15:19)

    While I agree with much of Jon's thoughts; that ἐπιθυμία is not necessarily a negative term, I also will say that it is always an accentuated or intensified expression of "desire" for whatever object it is focused on. If the ἐπιθυμία is toward a proper object, it is most likely not "sinful", but if it is desire that is selfish or contrary to the express desire of God, be it sexual purity, material or possessive gain, or injurious desires toward another, this indeed is a sin in and of itself, the lack of physical action notwithstanding. To lust after one who is not your spouse, while not acting on it physically, is a sin of the heart but not the body; but it is still a sinful occurrence. Doug Ward's thought that "it is not even close" is, in my thinking, a personal judgement, but not necessarily a biblical one. Certainly, to the spouse of the one "lusting", I can see his point, but sin is sin to God. As James says, if you are guilty in one point of the law, you are guilty of all.

    Regarding the fulfillment of the law, I liked Glenn's thoughts, that the completion of the law is the solving of the problem exposed by the the law. The law is the diagnostic revelation of the sickness of sin, Jesus is the cure.

    Doug

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    Host Theology Forum David Graham's Avatar

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    Re: What did Jesus mean when he said "he was not going to do away with the Law, but to fulfill it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn Messer View Post
    I'm not a theologian so I have no desire to argue the minutia of the question, but I'll take a go from a practical perspective.

    Paul's observation of the law was that its purpose was to convince us of our sin. In short, the law confirms my guilt.

    Are you are familiar with the commercials where the bank is being robbed and the patrons tell the security guard to do something? He tells them he is not a security guard. He is a security monitor whose only job is to determine whether or not the bank is being robbed. He then looks at the robbers and turns back to the patrons and informs them that the bank is being robbed. That's the law.

    It is important to know the bank's being robbed. But that alone does not solve the problem. What the law could not do (solve the problem of my guilt) Jesus could do. Thus Jesus brings the purpose of the law into the fullness of grace. In a sense it is as though redemption's plan comes full circle in Jesus Christ.

    As to the other, Doug is right. To think of it in a modern context, it is sorta like saying "I don't sleep with my neighbor's wife, but I do spend a lot of time on porn sites." In a sense, Jesus is saying "You hypocrites don't do the deed, but you spend a lot of time painting mental images in your minds. Don't tell me you have no sin!"

    Needless to say, this is short and simple, but it conveys the idea that works for me.
    Yep, you're right Glenn.... he's telling them plainly: "Just because you don't do the actual deed doesn't mean that you are innocent!" To the self righteous Pharisees this must have been confronting to both their community standing and self deceit.

    Else where Jesus spoke of them as being "white washed tombs full of dead men's bones". They may well have convinced some that they were "holy men" but God (the Son) knew better!

    Yet, it is true of all of us...... sinners saved by God's grace. Hence the need to walk humbly with God and others.
    Thanks Jim Chabot - "thanks" for this post

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