Not an iota, not a dot

“Do not think I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets: I have come not 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.” Matthew 5:17

Before we start on Hebrews chapter six I want to take a break and look at these two verses from Matthew chapter 5. This will also give me a little more time to do some research on Hebrews six. But these two verses also fit into what the writer of Hebrews is trying to accomplish and are a good lead in to chapter six.

The writer of Hebrews was addressing a concern that some of the Christians from the Jewish tradition were either backsliding to Judaism or trying to teach that one first had to be a Jew before they could follow Christ. We see this playing out in the Book of Acts. This was especially troubling to Paul and the Gentile Christians.

Of course we also hers this from critics of Christianity when they ask why we don’t advocate stoning adulterers or taking an eye for an eye or any of the other Levitical laws. After all doesn’t Jesus say in today’s verses that the law will not pass away? But what is the law? We can find this in Luke chapter 10 when the Pharisee asked Jesus how he could inherit eternal life and Jesus asked him “what is written in the law?” to which the Pharisee replied “love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.” Jesus told him he had answered correctly.

God’s law isn’t about what to do with an adulterer or murder or what happens when someone’s ox is killed. It is about how we relate to God and how we relate to each other. That will never change. If we practice both of these, love God and love neighbor, then we will have fulfilled all of God’s law. To see this we just need to go back to when Moses received the original Law, the Ten Commandments. The first four tell us how we are to relate to God, what respect is due Him. The last six tell us how we should relate to each other. It was only after the Israelites could not live by these commandments that God gave them the entire Levitical law. The Levitical law was for a nomadic people and was in accordance with the times and place they lived in. Still it was much more humane than the laws of the peoples around them.

Unfortunately the Jews were not content with God’s laws and went about adding layer upon layer of manmade laws so that what God intended was lost in the morass of laws. But even all the Levitical Law boils down to love God and love neighbor. What the writer of Hebrews was fighting was an attempt to get back to all the layers of laws and conduct that Israel had added to what God intended for them. They wanted to add layers and works on what Jesus had already finished. For them Jesus wasn’t enough. They felt like they needed to do something on their own to earn or keep the salvation God had so freely given us. Jesus was great about cutting through the layers we created and showing us how simple God’s commands are.

Finally, Jesus came to fulfill the law. He was its completion. He showed us how the love of God makes a simple and direct path back to Him. God’s law is eternal. It never changes. Just as God never changes.

Have a blessed day,

David

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About dwwork

The name of this blog is taken from 1 Peter 3:13 - “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience. This verse became special to me over ten years ago when I was asked to teach an adult Sunday school class on Christian apologetics. This interest grew over the years to the point that I took some graduate level classes in apologetics. I think the best way to be prepared to give and answer to everyone who asks is to know scripture. It is my hope that through these short devotionals the reader will become more familiar with each verse. I have tried when possible to make them personal hoping in some small way to show that God’s word written over two thousand years ago is still relevant today. In the writing of these short devotionals I have been able to better understand how God’s word impacts my life. It is my hope that you too will come closer to our Lord Jesus and develop a closer relationship with Him. Finally, if the reader finds anything in conflict with scripture please let me know. God’s word is the final authority always overrules anything I might write. David
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