In our house there is a lot of asking for forgiveness (our kids mostly, they’re not as spiritual as my wife and I). Often when one of the kids asks forgiveness from their sibling (after being coaxed into doing so by their parents) the offended party responds with a very dull, “It’s ok.” That’s when my wife or I will stop them and say, “No, it’s not OK. Not loving your brother or sister is never ‘ok.’ But they are forgiven. So don’t say “It’s OK,” tell them you forgive them.”
It’s at that point that the children usually all break into a chorus of Amazing Grace and we all sing hymns for hours into the night. Just kidding. They stare at us for a minute to make sure we know they think we have completely wasted their time, then, while barely opening their mouth to talk and completely annoyed at this whole rigmarole, say [kid #1] “Will you forgive me?” and [kid #2] “sure.” Kate and I give each other that “We’ve got this gospel-centered parenting thing down pat!” look and continue on with our evening.
In His famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says, “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” (Matthew 5:17). You might think that is just a statement for theologians, seminary professors, and that weird guy at church who always calls Jesus “Yeshua” and doesn't have much to do with our daily existence. But this statement has everything to do with the way we approach God and our fellow sinners!
The Law’s Condemnation Continues
Jesus does not come on the scene and say, “Hey guys, here’s the deal, the Father, the Holy Spirit, and I were talking and, man, did we WAY overestimate what you guys could accomplish with that Law thing! Whew! So we decided to go ahead and write that Law thing off as a mistake and let you guys off the hook.” Jesus is saying that the law is NOT going away, or in other words “Don’t think I have come to abolish the law…”
What does that mean for us? Well, it means that the law’s rigidity and condemnation continue. There is no adjusting. There is no tweaking. There is no “lowering” (which is what the religious people of Jesus’ day were doing). This is why Jesus says that “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” (Matthew 5:19).
Jesus is graciously reminding you today that there is only ONE who did the law in all its demands.
Why would relaxing or lowering the law be such a big deal to Jesus? Well, because if you relax the commandments you remove its primary purpose (to condemn sin) and allow people to think they can accomplish the law themselves. Jesus wants you to hear this: “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).
JESUS THE LAW FULFILLER
Thank God for the last four words of that statement from Jesus: “I have not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it!” Now that might be some good news for us law-breakers!
Your sin and my sin is not overlooked, God doesn't “overlook it” and He is not “ok” with it. Instead we have a law fulfiller named Jesus who achieved what God demanded--perfect adherence to the law.
Jesus is graciously reminding you today that there is only ONE who did the law in all its demands. There is only one who will be called Great in the kingdom of heaven. His name is Jesus. If you desire to be part of His kingdom reign, He’s not encouraging you to try harder, He’s telling you to receive Him! Take shelter in the wounds of the savior who lived the perfect life and died the death of sin for you!
No, it's not “ok” but it is forgiven, and I mean ALL of it. All you should have done but didn't, all you didn't do but should have, and all you should have done and did but not with the right motivation. And it gets better—in place of that wretchedness, we receive His righteousness. Hallelujah!