In today's study from Matthew 5:17-18, we see that Jesus fulfilled the righteousness of the Law and established the permanence of the Law.
The Righteousness of the Law
v.17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. Jesus now turns the attention of his disciples to the subject of the law and righteousness. In Jesus’ ministry he dealt with several things concerning the law. First, He dealt with the fulfillment of the law. Some folks got the idea that Jesus was against the law, that he had come to destroy it. We see this in how they tempted Jesus with the law. Mat 12:10-14 And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him. 11 And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? 12 How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days. 13 Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other. 14 Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him.
Again, they mistakenly thought that he was going to do away with the Law. Instead, he fulfilled it with his righteousness. Rom 10:3-4 For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth. Understand that the ultimate purpose of the law was righteousness. Jesus did it, and thus fulfilled it! Deu 6:24-25 And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day. 25 And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the LORD our God, as he hath commanded us.
Where does that leave us? Rom 3:21-22 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: Now that Christ has fulfilled the law, the righteousness of God is by faith in the one that fulfilled it: Jesus!
So, first Jesus fulfilled the righteousness of the Law. Secondary, Jesus dealt with the permanence of the Law as well.
The Permanence of the Law
v.18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. This verse tells us three things: 1. The Law is still in place. Though Christ fulfilled the righteousness of the law by keeping it perfectly; he did not do away with it. 2. Other aspects of the Law still need to be fulfilled. That will not happen ultimately until the Tribulation and the Millennial Reign of Christ (cf. Rev 12:17; 14:12; 22:14). 3. The Law will be fulfilled before heaven and earth pass away (cf. Rev. 20:11; 21:1; 2 Pet 3:10-13). By the way, a jot and a tittle are the smallest characters in the Hebrew alphabet. They are the equivalent to our “dotting of the I” and “crossing of the T”.