Good morning everyone. So as we begin our message for this morning, I want all of us to take a short trip down memory lane in the nearby past of 2016. In May 2016, a pastor by the name of Larry made a shocking statement. But before he said it, he started with an extreme illustration and I’m gonna tell it to you guys. So imagine you are a parent and your child fell from a 30-foot high monkey bars and your child’s head busted open as a result of the fall. Now of course if that happens, you would run to your child scoop them in your arms, put them in the car and then rush to the hospital. And along the way, you would not be paying any attention to the numbers on the speed limit signs that you will see. Those numbers will be meaningless, because a person you love is in trouble and you are doing all that you can to save them. And in that moment, any parent would break the law for the sake of love. And human parent would break the law for the sake of love. He then continues and I quote, “and this is why we get excited in church and this is why peers fill our eyes when we think about Jesus and this is why the gospel is still good news in the world today because God broke the law for love. I said to every sinner, God broke the law for Love.” Now obviously while his statements sound nice and fits especially in light of his illustration, he is wrong. In fact what he said was heresy. Fortunately for us and unfortunately for that Pastor, his presentation of God is actually a direct assault on God’s attribute of holiness. And it is not reflective of God’s self-revelation in scriptures. Instead of breaking the law for love, God instead sent his begotten Son, the God-man Jesus. That when He was here on earth, He actually said that He came not to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. And Jesus actually revealed and unveiled God’s standard insofar as the law is concerned. Because even as His original audience, the Jewish people were very much familiar with the law of Moses, as well as the words that were given to them by the prophets and the oracle sent by God.
Their understanding of the law was at most deficient, okay. But Christ by His teachings and more importantly by His life, lived in obedience to the law and in doing so, Jesus fulfilled the law to the uttermost.
now please join with me in opening your Bibles to Matthew chapter 5 verses 17 to 20 as we study today the message entitled JESUS THE LAW FULFILLER. And again, Matthew 5 verses 17 to 20, hear now the words of our true and living God. “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. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Let him who has ears hear the words of the Lord. Let us pause for a short word of prayer. Our gracious God and gracious Father we thank you for this morning that You have once again gathered us in Your Name. Thank You Lord that once again we will be hearing from You. Lord, uh I know that there is nothing that’s hidden from You. I ask that whatever it is that we have in our hearts, that if there’s anything that would distract us from listening to Your words, that will be able to lay all of these things aside and just be able to worship you in spirit and in truth. Lord we expect for great and mighty things from You because we know that You are here with us. And Lord, we’re just so excited for what You will teach us this morning about Your love. We give back all the glory praise and honour in Christ’s Name we pray, amen and amen.
So we are in the middle of our study on the section of Matthew’s gospel known as The Sermon on the Mount. And if you remember, Matthew’s aim in writing the gospel, is to present Jesus as the Messiah, the promised King of the Jews. And so his gospel is replete with Old Testament references from the beginning of the Gospel which was began with a genealogy all the way to our present passage where Jesus Himself references the Old Testament. And if we look at the first four chapters, we can characterise that section as the King’s arrival or the King’s Advent. It introduces the person of Christ.
And now, as we are studying The Sermon on the Mount of Beatitude, it can be characterised as the King’s authoritative teachings. Of course the study begins with the Beatitudes, the statements which summarises were Kingdom of Christ, Kingdom, what a citizen of Christ’s kingdom is supposed to be like. And of worthy note as we discuss the Beatitudes the past few weeks, is that the word “blessed” can also be translated as “happy.” And if you notice the way that Christ describes happiness is actually counter to how the world tells us happiness ought to be like. What do I mean by that? The world tells us happiness is found in riches and material wealth, in celebrations and merry-making in affirming self-love, self-sufficiency and pride, in looking out for number one, in doing all that you can to get ahead even if it means cheating as everyone else is doing it, in being a go-getter and not being afraid to be ruthless. And that there is no objective right or wrong but you can do whatever you want as long as it feels right for you. Conflicts are okay if the end result of it is clout, or infamy, or that you become famous. And of course to affirm the world or the culture that is prevalent is to be victors in the kingdom of men. And to each of those carnal pursuits, of course Christ offers a different way that we are blessed if we are poor in spirit. Because when we realise that we are utterly spiritually bankrupt before a thrice holy God, we grieve for our sins. And when we do, that grief for our sins and that grief for our souls will produce a godly repentance that leads to salvation. And when we are saved, we are gentle and humble in heart, meekly submitting to God’s will because we’re grateful for His salvation.
We hunger and thirst for through through righteousness and we
reject any attempts of self-righteousness or self-merit because we know that our righteousness comes from Christ alone, and we are happy if we receive God’s mercy. And then we, in turn, exemplify that same mercy to other people. And if we are all of those things, we then pursue purity of thought and deed and action. And as far as it depends on us, we will be at peace or we will live at peace with all men. And we faithfully endure suffering for righteousness sake, saying no to the world to what it offers to the culture, its systems. Because we know that if we obey Christ, greed is our reward in heaven and after speaking at length about what true disciples of the kingdom look like, Jesus then compares His children with salt and light; essentially explaining that our lives and our presence serves as a deterrent to the world that is accelerating further into rot and condemnation because of its explicit hatred and rebellion against God. That we are here to preserve this world even as it continues to spiral towards destruction. And that we are light, that we were called to illumine this dark world to the truth of the salvation that only Christ can offer. Which brings us to today’s passage.
Here, Jesus states one of His aims and one of the reasons for why He came and that is to bring fulfilment to all that the law requires.
And that it was extremely necessary for Jesus to begin this next section with this declaration, because He will be talking about the law and about morality as well as ethics at lens in the next sections.
Christ declaration of His stated aim serves to avoid confusion in the minds of His listeners when He begins to unveil what the law of God really means as opposed to what His audience knew from their education from the Pharisees and the teachers of the law in their time.
So our simple message for this morning is this – JESUS FULFILLED THE LAW AND COMMANDS HIS KINGDOM CITIZENS TO PURSUE
RIGHTEOUSNESS IN AND THROUGH HIM. Once again, Jesus fulfilled the law and commands His Kingdom citizens to pursue righteousness in and through Him. Yung atin hong Panginoon Hesus, Siya ho ang tumupad ng Sampung Kautusan. At Siya rin ang nag-uutos sa mga mamamayan ng Kaniyang kaharian na ipagpatuloy ang kanilang katuwiran sa pamamagitan Niya. We will be discussing this in two points – the first one is that Jesus Declares His Godly Purpose and that his purpose brings with it a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of the law which also illuminates for us God’s standard which will then bring us to our next point, Greater Righteousness because God’s standards are infinitely higher than man’s. Christ calls us to the standard of greater righteousness.
So let’s begin. Jesus says, do not think I have come to abolish the law or the prophets I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. Right off the bat, Jesus empathically declares that He came to fulfill the law and the prophets. The word “do not think” is a very strong negative statement coming from Christ. And in the second part, He restates it by saying, just so there is no doubt in the minds of his hearers – I have not come to abolish them but rather to fulfill them. And so He was telling his disciples and everyone else who was listening – make no mistake, I am not here to abolish the law. I came here specifically to fulfill all of it. Not some of it, not most of it, all of it. From the greatest to the least, from the ceremonial, to the moral, I will fulfill all that the law requires of Me. And what actually Christ mentions that He came to fulfill the law and the prophets, the term “law and the prophets” is actually shorthand for The Tanakh or the whole of the Old Testament, what the Jews know as their scriptures. And Christ’s statement is powerful because it serves not only to highlight His mission, but it also serves to counter and combat heresies that will eventually crop up in Christian history with regard to the law. What do we mean by this? In the early days of Christianity in the second century, a man named Marcion sought to divide the Old and the New Testament by simply rejecting wholesale the Old Testament. He says the Old Testament is about some other god and it’s a god of vengeance and of hate and of genocide, okay. Whereas the god of the New Testament is a god of love, and of grace and of mercy. And of course, Marcion’s teachings were ranked heresy. His rejection only serves to highlight his misunderstanding of the relationship between the Old and the New Testament and it showed his ignorance of scriptures in general. By the grace of God, Marcionism was condemned as a heresy. But of course, since heresy, para siyang masamang damo, bumabalik at babalik. Yung dualism that Marcionism espoused came out in later heresies like Gnosticism and Manichaeism, okay. In our present age, we also have Antinomians, those who reject that the moral law has an abiding and enduring principle for believers in this present age. And this is of course most commonly seen in the teachings of the Hyper-Grace Movement. Particularly, one pastor in Singapore like Joseph Prince, who teaches that believers have no need to repent of sin and of course this is contrary to the view that Christianity is a life of repentance.
And that Christians must continually identify and mortify sin. In the other end of the evangelical spectrum, we have brethren who are so keen of “naming, claiming, declaring, decreeing things.” And as a Reformed Baptists, if there’s something that we can learn from them in terms of naming or declaring things, then it is proper for us as believers to always name and kill our sins, okay. Kung meron man ho tayong gagawin ho sa kanila, yun ho yung gawin ho natin. Huwag din ho natin isisi ho sa espiritu, kasi baka mamaya, papangalanan mo, “I rebuke the spirit of anger, okay, that made me lash out.” No! Own your sin, okay! Kahit yung mga stray thoughts na mayroon ka, whether that is wilfull or pumasok lang sa isip mo, it’s still our mind, it’s still our thoughts. Sabi nga ni Pastor Mark Jones sa Knowing Sin, we have a responsibility to repent of those sins as well, okay. Sa scriptures, sinasabihan tayo to take every thought captive to obey Christ.
And so the point is that Jesus is the Fulfillment of all that the law
and the Old Testament promised and hope for. Now the question becomes how did Christ fulfill the requirements of the law and the prophets? Well, He did it by His life, and also by His death and Resurrection. We know Christ lived a life of perfect obedience to the demands of the law. Hebrews 4 15 in talking about Christ our Eternal Priest tells us and I quote, for we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathise with our weaknesses but we have one who has been tempted in every way just as we are yet he did not sin. Christ lived a life that during His time bucked the tradition in the teachings of the Pharisees. But make no mistake, Christ was sinless. Christ lived a perfect life of unswerving obedience to the law and of perfect submission to the will of His Father. Not only that Christ took the full punishment of death for our sin. Galatians 3 13 tells us Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us for it is written cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole. The law is good and holy but disobedience to the law has serious consequences. To disobey the law is to die. There are only two options when it comes to the moral law of God. Either you keep it in its entirety, or you die when you break it. Jesus kept the law perfectly, totally, utterly; not just the letter but the spirit of it.
And so Jesus did not deserve to die. And yet we, as human beings can’t keep even the letter of the law and so we deserve the punishment which is death. But God is rich in mercy, Jesus died on our behalf thereby, taking the lost punishment for sin that we deserve. But it doesn’t stop there. After three days, Christ rose to life, proved positive that His payment for sin has been accepted and is sufficient to pay for the sins of those who will trust in Him.
So Jesus fulfilled the law that way. But not only that, Jesus also fulfilled the prophecies about Him. We know this because as early as Matthew 1, we are told certain things took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken. Matthew 1 pa lang ho yun. Malinaw na sinasabi these things took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken. Even after Christ resurrected, if you guys remember the story of Christ traveling on the road to Emmaus with two disciples. In the retelling in Luke 24, we are told that beginning with Moses and the prophets. Again, Moses, the prophets, Moses represents the Law, the prophets represents the prophets and the writings so it talks about the Old Testament. Jesus explained to His disciples what was said in all the scriptures about Himself. So Jesus fulfilled the law by His life, by His death and Resurrection, by the prophecies that came true because of Him. But Jesus also unveiled the true meaning and intent of the law. In His teachings about ethics which will be covered in the next sermons, Jesus would use an interesting phrase over and over and over again. This is what he would say: “you have heard it said.” And then you would say, “but I say” before making an exposition of the law. In doing this, Christ did not add or subtract anything from the law. He also did not set aside the law, but He actually unpacked the full weight and measure of the law. And in doing so he gave a revelation of God’s impossible standard. Christ’s exposition of the law elevated the strictness of the law. Just to give an example, in talking about anger, right. Christ would say, you have heard it said, “You shall not murder, but I tell you if you have anger in your heart against your brother, then you have committed murder. In talking about immorality or lust, you have heard it said: “you shall not commit adultery or immorality; but I tell you, if you look at a woman with lust in your eyes, you have committed immorality in your heart.” On reflecting about Jesus’s teaching on the law, the Apostle Paul in Romans 13 9 to 10, writes the Commandments are sum up in this one command: love your neighbour as yourself. Love does no harm to a neighbour, therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. And what this of course tells us is that the Commandments are not replaced but are summed up in this rule. We demonstrate love to our neighbours not by setting it aside, but by carefully obeying God’s commands. Not only that, Jesus also affirms the continuing authority of the law. In verse 18 of our passage, Jesus says For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished or until all is fulfilled. And in the in this verse, we are told that absolutely nothing can destroy the word of the Lord. Jesus in saying “truly I say to you” that is the strongest positive statement that Jesus can give about the law. And this whole verse gives us certain implications. What are those implications? Number one that the word of God stands forever. Pastor X always tells this after we read the scriptures: “the grass withers, the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” God’s word stands forever. It also tells us all scriptures matter, okay. In our culture, we have a movement that says certain lives matter, okay. Here in scriptures, we are told all scriptures matter. Second Timothy 3 16, all scripture is God-breathed or breathe out by God. And it’s useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. And given these two things, the impetus then, is for us to observe and teach all of scriptures.
John 14 15 tells us, and this is Jesus speaking, if you love me you
will obey all that I command. Not some, not the ones you like, not the ones that appeal to you, all that Christ’s commands We also find the same thing in the Great Commission, right. Teach them to observe everything that I have commanded you. So we must observe and teach all of scriptures.
Now knowing that Jesus satisfied the requirements of the law and that He fulfilled the promises and prophecies about Him, and He unveiled the full weight of the law and it’s abiding principle in our lives, what then are we to make of this? We must understand the challenge for us now, is to esteem scriptures as God’s word and to submit to Jesus as the Living Word. In talking about this, we have to ask ourselves these questions, how much of scriptures do we devour each week? Take note, I’m not saying how much of scriptures have you read or you listened to. I’m not saying those things are bad, but when we talk about devour, there’s far more to it than simple reading. There is that process of meditating on it, memorising it, appropriating its promises, believing it, adding it to our arsenal of promises from the Lord, right. When i see this, I also do not mean to ask how much time do we spend reading the Bible, although that is important. But the question is actually more a question of quality over quantity. When you read scriptures, or when you spend time with scriptures, what is the state of your heart and your mind? Can you say that we spend a substantial amount of time reading our Bibles or are we distracted? Are we rushing to finish, hoping to check it off a list of things to do before we move on to other things? Do we take sufficient time to meditate on the word of God? Trusting it to be the food of our souls? As important as the food that we eat, to sustain our strength? Do we pray the scriptures? Do we sing the Psalms? Do we memorise them to bring with us as we face our day? Do we use the word of God as it is intended to be the sword of the spirit? As the counter against the temptations that satan will bring our way? Or do we find ourselves stumbling at the first instance of temptation? Does the word of God permeate our lives? Is it at the back of our minds when we do our work? Do we think about it even as we drive, navigate social media, do our tasks? Does it impact the way that we make day-to-day decisions? These are important questions we have to ask ourselves.
Let us continue, greater righteousness. In verse 20 of our passage,
we are told “I tell you unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Christ is calling his Kingdom citizens to a greater righteousness that exceeds the Pharisees. Now imagine yourself being in the shoes of the Jewish people who are listening to Christ that day. How do you think the Jewish people would react upon hearing that? One word that comes to mind is “despair.” Isipin mo iyon. Why the Pharisees during their time were upheld as the paragons of virtue in Jewish Society? They were members of the Jewish ruling Council, they were the teachers of the law and in fact their very name signified their special place in Jewish history. Their name Pharisees literally means the separated ones. Now what comes to your mind when you hear “separated?” You would not be remiss in thinking or associating the Pharisees with the word “haggis” or holy as being holy also means set apart. The Pharisees were separated because of their differences from the Gentiles, their differences from women, and even their differences from the non-religious or non-devout Jews. As teachers and interpreters of the law, they were also the ones who came up with the commentaries on the Torah. The oral tradition that later became codified as the “Mishnah” which was the basis for a later commentary called the “Talmud.” But what was the righteousness of the Pharisees? Sadly, the righteousness of the Pharisees was all show and nothing else. Matthew 23 gives us seven woes against the scribes and the Pharisees and we’ll go through some of them. Christ says that the Pharisees preach but they do not practice. They teach the law but they do not observe it in their lives. In short, they were the very definition of hypocrites. And that’s why when you hear “Pharisee” today, the first thing that comes to your mind is hypocrites. It also tells us they do all their deeds to be seen by others. Everything was for a show. It was all for the views. If we were to compare them to present-day people, they were the precursor of modern day influencers and clout chasers. Yung tipong gagawin nila lahat para makita sila ng mga tao, magustuhan yung content nila.
Verse 23, Matthew 23, tells us, the Pharisees were so quick to
tithe, to give a tenth, but they ignored the weightier matters of the law. One thing that we can say to show that the Pharisees were really all about show, is the concept of “Korban,” right. The concept of Korban is essentially consecrating your possession or something to God so that you can’t use it for anything else. But the way that the Pharisees use it, is they don’t want to help their parents. They did not want to give honour to their father and their mother. And so instead of helping them, assisting them, giving them honour as they deserve, what the Pharisees would say: “Ay, sorry this is Korban, I can’t give it to you. This is consecrated for the Lord.” But that’s just their grade speaking. They were so concerned with following the letter of the law, they came up with what constitutes work, and not work, when it comes to doing things on the Sabbath. So if you go further than a thousand paces from your home, that would be equivalent to working because the number of steps that you take is working your legs. So what do they do? They extend their property by tying ropes. And so they can go to wherever they wish to go without having to violate work. If you only carry a certain weight on the Sabbath, it will not constitute work. And so they’ve calculated what’s an optimum weight that I can carry for a certain distance and then they set, okay, if you carry this to this distance, that’s not a violation of the Sabbath, that’s not work.
Matthew 23 tells us the the Pharisees were dead inside. They
were whitewashed tombs that outward they look pretty but filled with all uncleanness. They appeared outwardly righteous, but are full of lawlessness. Para ho sila yung mga abandoned na building na kung tignan mo yung facade, napakaganda, pero pag pumasok ka, walang pwedeng tumira, walang mga facilities, walang naka-palitada, walang mga tiles, sira lahat, walang lighting, walang piping. Pero maganda yung labas. Parang ganun ho sila. And all this would tell us is that human wrought righteousness will never be enough before the eyes of a holy God. God demands clean hearts and even at our best. Even on our best days. Yung feeling mo, everything is going your way; hindi ka magkakasala. Our hearts and our hands are still unclean before the thrice holy God. We need a greater righteousness to be able to enter the kingdom of God. And what kind of righteousness is that? Scripture tells us it is an alien righteousness. This is something that Martin Luther, the reformer, discovered. Romans 3 21 tells us but now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known to which the law and the prophets testify. This greater righteousness that Romans is talking about has its ground in God and not in man. It is a righteousness that the Old Testament speaks about and it is testified too by the law and the prophets. In short, again, the whole of the Old Testament. Romans 3 22 and continuing this righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. It is an alien righteousness. It can only be given to those who put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. We need to understand this righteousness is wrought in us by the Holy Spirit. Romans 8 4 tells us in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the spirit. We are not only declared righteous at the moment of repentance and faith in Jesus. We are also gifted with Christ’s own Spirit that progressively sanctifies us that we might become Imago Christi or the image of Christ.
Now we’ve establish this righteousness is given. It is not earned but
this righteousness is the righteousness that God demands. This righteousness is the righteousness that surpasses even the greatest and the most noble righteousness of the Pharisees. And this promise is the only righteousness that can grant entry into the kingdom of heaven.
Sabi ni Kristo di ba, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the Pharisees, you can never enter the kingdom of heaven. But if we have that alien righteousness given to those who put their faith in Christ, wrought by the Spirit not earned, but the one that God requires, then we will gain entry into the kingdom of heaven. Genuine righteousness, we have to realise goes beyond external actions but deal with inner transformation. This entry to the kingdom is both a promise and a warning. Why is it a promise? It is a promise to those who profess faith in Jesus. Because that’s what He said in His word. But the opposite of that is also true – it is a warning. A warning for those who will not turn to Christ for the forgiveness of their sins. Any righteousness that we pursue apart from Jesus Christ will be akin to the righteousness of the Pharisees. It may be good enough for us. It may be good enough for the people who see us, but it is and will never be good enough to merit a commendation before God.
At it’s best, the type of righteousness will still merit
condemnation. And so what is left for us then? Well, brothers and sisters, if you profess faith in Jesus, we rejoice in the righteousness that Christ has gifted us. And we pursue holiness by His Spirit. For the Brethren listening, whenever we fall into sin, what is our attitude afterwards? Are we guilty of glorifying failurism? Failurism happens when we start to have a skewed view of grace, that we start to view our fall into sin as an opportunity to rejoice! Because we then receive greater grace from God. Di ba every time nagkakasala ako, naha- highight lalo yung holiness, yung grasya ni Lord na binibigay Niya sa atin. We have to be careful of this because it may come in the form of a mindset that says feel, repent, repeat. Feel, repent, repeat. It can mask itself as being authentic. Oh, nagpapakatotoo ako about my Christianity. Hindi ko tinatago yung sarili ko na perfect lang lahat.
Pinapakita ko warts and all. We make ourselves accountable to others
as we carefully list down all the ways that we’ve failed the Lord and then saying that grace is all the more beautiful because of it. Make no mistake. We can and may fall into sin. And we must understand the temptations and trials will never cease while we are yet here on earth. But having said that, we must understand that our life in Christ comes with our definitive sanctification. That God, in saving us, decisively cuts us off from our bondage to sin and he transfer us, He transfers us from the kingdom of darkness to His kingdom of light even as He consecrates us to Himself.
We are dressed in the righteousness of Christ. And so the call to pursue holiness and to obey God’s law is not to put forward the law so we can be repeatedly shown to be failures in following it. Hindi hinaharap sa atin yung batas para ipakita na “O ayan, napakamakasalanan mo.” But we need to understand God’s grace empowers us to obey Him. Last week na-mention ito di ba? Whenever we are tempted we will not be tempted beyond what we can bear, but God is faithful He will provide a way out so we may be able to stand up under it.
As we are conforming the image of Christ day by day, we experience more victories over failures. And the mindset and attitude that we have as we face each day is not that we will fail, or not that we will celebrate God’s grace in our failures, but we steal ourselves and resolve to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. Yung sinasabi natin sa sarili natin, Lord by Your grace, by the power of your Spirit, help me to pursue holiness this day. We resolve every moment to walk by the spirit and in that way, we don’t gratify our flesh, and we show our honour and obedience to Christ and His word.
Now for those here who may not be sure about their standing before God, know this, hindi ko ho kayo tinatakot, nagsasabi lang ho ako ng totoo. If you are not in Christ, you are dead in your sins and God’s wrath abides in you. There is no other way that you can be made right with God except by repenting of your sins and turning to Christ, throwing yourself at His feet, acknowledging Him as your Lord and saviour. If you call upon the name of the Lord, you can be forgiven of your sins. God can declare you righteous and He can reconcile you to Himself. And even more beautiful than that, God will adopt you to His family so that now you can call God, Abba or Father.
You know I’m reminded of the story of the Puritan Theologian and non-conformist John Owen who lived in the 17th century. John Owen uh was a prolific Theologian and writer. And he had a deep understanding and appreciation of the moral law and its importance in the life of a believer. He may be most well known in his seminal work on the Atonement, the death of death, in the death of Christ. But he also wrote a book on the functions of the law entitled The Nature And Power Of The Law. And in it, again, he discusses the functions of the law. What are the functions of the moral law of God? The moral law of God is a tutor, a handmaiden that in showing us our sinfulness and then that lead us to the arms of the Savior. The law also has a civil use, it restrains evil in society. It punishes wrongdoing, but the third use of the law, this is what’s important for us believers. The law is a guide to righteousness. We are not to set it aside. We are not to view it as something that has been paid for and fulfilled by Christ and so therefore we have no moral obligations anymore. But at all the more we should understand, because Christ is our righteousness. We should esteem Him by obeying Him and by pursuing holiness. Uh, in dying, this is what John Owen said: “I am going to Him whom my soul loveth or rather who has loved me with an everlasting love. This is the whole ground of all my consolation.” What’s beautiful about the life of this Puritan is that his life was actually a lot more quieter than others. He didn’t experience any great persecution apart from the fact that he was a non-conformist but he lived a relatively quiet life compared to let’s say others like John Bunyan, who were persecuted. He was also not imprisoned or martyred, but what we can see is that John Owens life demonstrated what it meant to be joyful in Christ, in Christ’s given salvation.
As we as we end our message, we’ve seen that the law of God is not something to be ignored or dismissed. Rather it is an essential part of our relationship with God in our journey of faith. Jesus declares I have not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it, fulfill it in its fullest following not just the letter but the Spirit and its essence. And in Christ’s perfect obedience He provided a way for those who believe in Him to be reconciled to a holy God. As we seek to follow Christ, may we take seriously the commands of God and observe them in all areas of our lives. We do not obey to earn our salvation. But we do obey because it is a gracious and reasonable response to the salvific grace and mercy that we have received. As we obey the promises that we will be called great in the kingdom of heaven, not because of our own righteousness, but because Christ’s righteousness has been imputed to us. So let’s embrace the law of God as a guide to living a life that honours and glorifies His name. And let us do this with gladness and joy knowing that our very obedience is a fruit of the salvation that we have received by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, for the glory of God Alone. In this, may Jesus may Jesus cause all of us to be faithful. Let us pray.
Our great God and gracious Father, we thank you once again for
your reminder that you came not to abolish or to set aside the law but to fulfill it. Lord we thank You that in this passage, we learn that the righteousness that you require is something that we can never attain by our own efforts alone. But that the greater righteousness You require also comes from You. And we can receive it as a gift we put our full faith and trust in you alone. Lord I pray for the people here who may not know they’re standing before you, Lord if they’re not reconciled o You, if they’re not at peace with You, but they’re in rebellion against You. May You be the one to grant them faith and repentance that they might call upon Your Name and be saved. And that You might be the one to give them Your righteousness. Lord as Your people, I trust that we will face each day uh not having a mindset that we may fail but that with every fibre of our being, we will strive to honour You with the way that we live our lives. And we will steal ourselves to deny our flesh and take every thought captive to obey You as You deserve. Salamat Lord we give back all the glory praise and honour in Jesus’ Name, amen and amen.