Matthew 5:17-19 and Ephesians 2:14-15
No. (Matt. 5:17), “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill.”
(Matt. 18) “For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.”
(Matt. 19) “Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
Yes. (Eph. 2:14-15), “For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace.”
In Matthew 5:17-19 Jesus is speaking about the Old Testament principles and authority of rule and revelation. When Jesus said that He came to fulfill the law, He came to establish it and demonstrate how it pointed to Him and how He would live it perfectly.
Some mistakenly think that this statement addresses whether believers should still keep the law and spend many hours arguing about what ‘fulfill‘ means, when it should be obvious to all of us what that word means.
So we need to understand that, in verse 17, Jesus is talking about the validity of the Hebrew Scriptures – He is not talking about obedience among the faithful! Failure to understand this point has caused much confusion. Like some believer i know called Jimmy, Reza & Ikram.
In Eph. 2:14-15, Paul is speaking about how the gentiles who were called the uncircumcised :
(v. 11), Don’t forget that you Gentiles used to be outsiders. You were called “uncircumcised heathens” by the Jews, who were proud of their circumcision, even though it affected only their bodies and not their hearts.
were separated from Christ
(v. 12) In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope
Jesus removed the requirement of having to follow the Law in order to please God, established justification by faith, and thereby united both Jew and Gentile into one group in Christ.
(v. 13) But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.
This is when Paul says in verse 15 that he abolished in his flesh the enmity which is the law of commandments in ordinances. The Law was that which separated Jew from Gentile and since it has been fulfilled in Christ, it is no longer something that would separate Jew and Gentile.
(v. 15) He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups.
As we can see, some commands are temporary and only for a certain time. This is also true for the Old Testament laws, many of the Old Testament laws are given new meaning in the New Testament.
Jesus initially tells His listeners, and you and I today, that, despite everything, the Old Testament must continue to be considered as ‘Holy Writ‘. Indeed He Himself would fulfil numerous things written therein. Jesus was concerned that we should all continue to learn about, and to be inspired, by people like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses and the Prophets – indeed so many things in the Old Testament continually point to Jesus. So the Old Covenant might be dead, but the Old Testament must not be put aside.
In that instance, Gentiles becomes a reference to pagan cultures of the period.
Standards which we must aim for are above and beyond the ten ‘do’s‘ and ‘don’ts‘ of those commands. The new righteousness which we start to find in our lives is truly not ours but Christ’s as the Holy Spirit (Ruhu Al-qadoos) gradually starts to refashion us – this is sanctification. If God (Allah) were to remove His bounteous grace from us, we would fall again instantly!