“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.” (Matthew 5:17-18 ESV)
There are those who preach, teach and believe that the Old Testament is not applicable to believers in Christ today. In other words, many are convicted that all that matters is to be a student of the New Testament. They say the Old Testament is not important.
This is not a new heresy. In church history it was called Marcionism. Marcionism is the belief that the Old Testament is not authoritative in matters of Christian doctrine and morals, Marcion, the son of a bishop from the first century, was one of the most successful heretics in the early church. He grew in prominence for preaching a version of the faith that distanced itself from the Old Testament.
Jesus Christ would not have agreed with Marcion. In today’s text, Jesus affirmed that He did not come to abolish the Old Testament Law or the Prophets. Jesus neither gave a new law or modified the old one. Rather, Jesus explained and fulfilled the moral significance of the Mosaic Law and the Prophets; the entirety of the Old Testament.
To abolish (καταλύω; katalyō) means to infinitely destroy and to demolish. In this context, it refers to the destruction of the Old Testament Scriptures. Jesus refuted the very notion that is what He had come to earth to accomplish.
Jesus stated that not even the most minute punctuation in the Hebrew language, an iota or a dot, would pass from the Law until all the Old Testament revealed would be fulfilled.
“It is necessary to appreciate the abiding truthfulness of the law of Moses because Jesus is the fulfillment of this law (5:17; see Rom. 10:4). Jesus does not nullify it, but comes so that everything in it will be accomplished (Matt. 5:18). He does this through His entire representative obedience. Thus, though the teaching of Jesus is challenging to the core, Jesus did not come to encumber us with impossibly heavy burdens (11:28–30; see 23:4). Only Jesus, the last Adam and perfect Son of God, is able to fulfill God’s law perfectly (3:15) and therefore is able to pour out His blood for the forgiveness of sins (26:28; see 1:21; 20:28),” explains commentator Brandon Crowe.
“This does not mean Christians should have no concern to follow God’s law. Christ frees us to obey it. Jesus’ disciples are called to a genuine love of God and neighbor (22:37–40; see 7:21). This is a lofty calling, but Jesus Himself embodied it throughout His life. Through His obedience, Jesus releases us from the burden of trying to earn our salvation. We are to be merciful because of the mercy Jesus has shown to us (5:7; 9:13; 12:7; 23:23; see Hos. 6:6; Matt. 18:33). In sum, the law of God is an abiding witness to the person and work of Christ, and through Him we are able to call this law our delight,” concludes Crowe.
The Old Testament is completely trustworthy. It is the Word of God.
Soli deo Gloria!