“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.”
~ Matthew 5:17-18
Jesus spoke in many different ways about His divine purpose in coming to this earth. He spoke in terms of offering salvation and eternal life. He talked about gathering His people together, shepherding His sheep, tending to His flocks. But what He says right here in Matthew 5:17-18 is possibly the most important aspect of Christ’s redemptive ministry on earth – that is His perfectly fulfilling God’s Law. Because, without that, without the fulfillment of the Law, there is no redemption and therefore no salvation. So why then was it imperative that Jesus fulfill the Law of God in order to save sinners?
The reason why all are now under the curse of sin as a result of Adam’s Fall is because God did not set aside His law simply because of our failure. God did not destroy His command simply because of Adam’s inability and unwillingness to keep it. God’s holy Law abides and remains as our great moral standard. Why? Because God’s perfect Law is a reflection of His own perfect character. Therefore as through one man’s disobedience to God’s law we were all lost, it is through another man’s perfect obedience we have the way of salvation. Or to put it another way, we are most certainly saved by works, they are just not our own works, we are saved through the work of Jesus Christ in perfectly fulfilling the Law of God on our behalf.
Yet salvation, we must confess the Bible teaches is also by grace through faith too, isn’t it? And how is this? Because when you come to faith in Christ, God who is rich in mercy takes the perfect obedience of His Son to His Law and graciously imputes or accounts it as your righteousness as if as if you yourself had perfectly kept God’s Law your entire life. Isn’t that amazing? Isn’t it impossible to fathom? Yet, that’s the grace God in of salvation – that the perfect unblemished work of Christ is applied to you when, by faith, you embrace Jesus Christ and His saving work.
We are saved by good works unto good works. As much as possible we are to imitate Christ. We are saved by Christ’s good work of perfect obedience to God’s Law which He came to fulfill and that He graciously imputes to us that we might in turn and with the help of the Holy Spirit, strive, however imperfectly, to do the good works of obedience ourselves. And we know we will never keep God’s law perfectly as Christ did, but God knows our heart, and He sees our motives and to Him, what the Scriptures seem to teach is that God earnestly desires from His people, not heartless cold outward conformity, but lives that are moved from a deep abiding heartfelt desire to love God and to fulfill all His Word.