In reading D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ book, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, I am continually struck by the fact that the Old and New Testament are so well connected. In fact, Lloyd-Jones has pointed out that “there are many senses in which the New Testament cannot be understood except in light of the Old Testament.”
In this blog we will look at how Christ is the fulfillment of both the law and the prophets.
Christ Fulfills the Old Testament Prophecies
In the Old Testament we find clear accounts of His birth, His person, His miracles, His works, His teachings, His death, His resurrection and His future kingdom.
Christ Fulfills the Old Testament Law
Galatians 4:4 says that He was made “under the law.” What does that mean? It means that God placed Him under the law—as one who had to carry it out. Thus He was always careful to observe the law, and He also taught others to observe it; and He explained the law to them. No one could bring any charge against Him, because He obeyed the law perfectly.
But Christ not only obeyed the law for His own person, He obeyed it in terms of what He was required to do because of the sins of the world, according to the justice of God. For the holy law of God required a death penalty for all sin (Rom. 6:23). Thus Jesus on the cross endured in His body the penalty prescribed by the law of God for the sin of man. Therefore, the death penalty for our sins was fulfilled in Christ on the cross.
Christ Fulfills the Law in Us
You may be pleased to know that because we are in Christ (Christians) we play a part in fulfilling the law. Yes, the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in us because we walk after the Holy Spirit. For He has given us the Holy Spirit and He gives us a love for the law and the power to live by it. Moreover, He has written the law on our heart and mind. It is part of our relationship with God, and it will be so until we are perfected in Him.
But those who have not believed, sadly, are under condemnation of the law (Jn. 3:36). For the law states that the wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23).
The Relationship of the Christian to the Law
The Christian is not under the law in the sense of works. His salvation does not depend on keeping the law. He has been delivered from that curse. The law was never meant to save us. It was given to us to show us the true character of God and His demands. And it will bring us closer to God and lead me to Christ. But from then on it is grace that takes over.
By grace, given to us through Christ, we are able to be saved and keep the law. But when we do not keep the law we should never blame Christ or His grace. For it was grace that saved us, and from then, His grace is always available to help us. But if we don’t continually ask for it in faith, and depend on it, we can only blame ourselves.
Similarly, grace is not an escape from the law of God, or is in any sense a license to sin (Rom 6:1). It is the opposite. God gives us grace to help us keep the law—or to fulfill the law.
For the holy law of God is good, and if we keep it, by His grace, it will always bring us a blessing (Ps. 119:1-2).