WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
JANUARY 13, 2022
TOPIC: FULFIL THE LAW OF CHRIST
BY T. O. BANSO
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2 New King James Version).
In the Old Testament, there are three divisions of law: ceremonial law, civil law, and moral law. The ceremonial law has to do with Israel’s worship of God while the civil law regulated their daily living. The moral laws are the direct commandments of God, the Ten Commandments, which are based on the character of God. It is said that there are over 600 commandments in the Old Testament Law although no specific number is stated in the Bible..
Whereas the Old Testament laws prescribe what constituted sins and showed the Israelites their sins, the laws could not save them as good as they were. They couldn’t keep the law because whoever kept the whole law and yet stumbled in one point, was guilty of all (James 2:10).
The apostle Paul said he would not have known sin except through the law. According to him, sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in him all manner of evil desire (Romans 7:8a). Nevertheless, he said the law was holy, and the commandment holy and just and good (verse 12).
The law was our tutor to bring us to Christ. “Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor” (Galatians 3:24-25 New King James Version). Christians are no longer under the law of the Old Testament because it was weak; the law could not and cannot save anyone. As said by Paul in Galatians 5:18, if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Hear Paul again: “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 8:2-4 New King James Version).
The law could not save the Israelites and cannot save anyone. But salvation is in Christ Jesus. Jesus has paid the price for our salvation thereby achieving what the law could not achieve. Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes (Romans 10:4).
What, therefore, is the relationship between Jesus and the law? Jesus said He did not come to destroy the Law or the Prophets but to fulfill them, for till heaven and earth would pass away, one jot or one stroke of a letter would by no means pass from the law till all was fulfilled (Matthew 5:17-18).
Jesus came to fulfil the law, not to destroy it. According to Paul, when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons (Galatians 4:4-5).
Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us, for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”, that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith (Galatians 3:13-14).
Christians are no longer under the Old Testament law. Whereas many Christians understand that the ceremonial laws and the civil laws have expired, many wonder if it also means that we are no longer to obey the moral laws, the Ten Commandments, since we are no longer under the law. Are Christians still to keep the moral laws?
The answer is this: We are no longer under the Old Testament law but under the law of Christ, which does not run contrary to the moral laws. Galatians 6:2 says, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (New King James Version). To bear one another’s burdens means to take on one another’s troubles or help one another to overcome weaknesses, peculiar sins, trials, and sorrow. But Paul did not define the phrase “the law of Christ” used specifically only here in the entire Bible. It is also used in 1 Corinthians 9:21 in some translations or implied. The phrase has been given different meanings.
As Jesus said, He didn’t come to abolish the law or the prophets (the Law of Moses or the writings of the prophets) but to fulfil them. The law of Christ fulfils them. What is the law of Christ? I understand this to mean the law of love. Romans 13:10 says, “Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law” (New King James Version).
You will recall that when Jesus was asked what the great commandment in the law was, He said, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40 New King James Version). Mark 12:29-31 says a similar thing.
The law of Christ is loving God and fellow human beings. Whoever obeyed this would have fulfilled the Law of Moses and the writings of the prophets, which Jesus said He didn’t come to abolish but to fulfil.
But you should know that to love is not entirely a new commandment. Even in the Old Testament, God commanded the Israelites to love Him and love their neighbours as themselves. In Deuteronomy 6:5, they were told to love the LORD their God with all their heart, soul, and strength. And in Leviticus 19:18, 34, they were told to love their neighbours as themselves. But they couldn’t because the law was weak.
However, because of the atoning work of Jesus on the cross, this is now possible. As Paul said, the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made us free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2). We can fulfil the law of Christ. We can love God and love our neighbours with the help of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus said in John 15:12, “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (New King James Version). This is the law of Christ. He further corrected the wrong teachings at that time that people should love their neighbours and hate their enemies. Nowhere in the Old Testament did God say so.
Therefore, Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 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 spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?” (Matthew 5:43-47 New King James Version).
The commandment to love is not an entirely new commandment but the power to obey the law is available to us in Christ Jesus. Love is the law of Christ. The apostle John says, “Brethren, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning” (1 John 2:7 New King James Version). If you will read further, you’ll see that the old commandment he referred to is love.
He said in verses 10-11, “He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes” (New King James Version).
Fulfil the law of Christ. John also said, “And now I plead with you, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment to you, but that which we have had from the beginning: that we love one another. This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it” (2 John 5-6 New King James Version).
Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and mind. Also, love your neighbor as yourself, which James describes as the royal law (James 2:8). Galatians 5:13 says to serve one another through love. All the law is fulfilled in loving your neighbour as yourself (verse 14).
Fulfil the law of Christ. “Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ ‘You shall not covet,’ and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:8-10 New King James Version).
Christians are no longer under the law but as Paul says we cannot say since God’s grace has set us free from the law, then we can go on sinning (Romans 6:15). Fulfil the law of Christ. The law of Christ is not opposed to the moral laws, the ten commandments. As it has been said, Jesus delivered us from the curse of the law but not from its command.
Jesus said, “Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:19-20 New King James Version).
We are not saved by the works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy, He saved us (Titus 3:5). Our righteousness is of God through faith in Jesus Christ, not self-righteousness (Philippians 3:9). By grace we have been saved through faith, and not of ourselves; it is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8). The law does not save but we must obey the law of Christ. We don’t obey the law to be saved; we obey the law because we are saved. If you love Jesus, obey His commandment (John 14:15). And His commandments are not burdensome (1 John 5:3b).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Holy Spirit, help me to fulfil the law of Christ by loving the Lord with all my heart, soul, and strength. Also, help me to love my neighbour as myself. Let love reign among the followers of Christ so that we may bear one another’s burdens and show the love of Christ to non-believers.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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