Christ did indeed honor God’s law both by teaching and by example, showing it to be right and just. He said, “I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love” (John 15:10). And He showed that obedience to the will of God always gives morality, happiness, and peace among men. “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city” (Revelation 22:14).
Did Christ abolish the law?
Some claim that Christ abolished the law. But to that He answers, “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. 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” (Matt. 5:17- 21).
Christ’s life of perfect obedience to every precept of the law affirmed all that He taught concerning it. And he declared to His disciples, “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love” (John 15:10; 17:4).
The purpose of the law
It is not the function of law to pardon sinners and restore them to obedience to the law. For it can only reveal sin and righteousness and command obedience (Romans 3:20; 7:7). The law can point out the right way, but it cannot help the wicked to abide by it. Only God can do the work of restoration and change. God sent His Son in human flesh, so that people might be empowered fully to keep its righteous requirements. God did not give His Son in order to change or abolish His law, or to free men from the obligation of obedience. That would be contrary to His will.
Power to obey
The law has always been a revelation of the unchanged will and character of God. Sinners have been unable to keep its requirements, and the law had no power to help them obey. But thanks be to God who sent His Son to make it possible for men to give full obedience. Paul wrote, “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 8:3- 4).
God requires perfection of His children (Matthew 5:48), and the perfect life of Christ in His humanity is God’s assurance to us that by His power we too may attain to perfection of character (Philippians 4:13). For “we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). Thus, the Lord promises full transformation and perfect obedience to all that seek Him (Matthew 5:48; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Colossians 1:28).
In His service,