You may have probably heard about the ten commandments. It’s quite famous.
“Thou shalt not steal..”
Many think about these ten commandments whenever they encounter the phrase “The Law” in the Bible. However, there is more. There were actually 613 laws in addition to the ten commandments entrusted to the people of Israel in the Bible.
The Law – Torah
Let me introduce to the Hebrew word called the “Torah.” This refers to the first five books of the Old Testament. This is what you see in the Bible referred to as THE LAW. The Torah is not just about the 613 laws.
It is a Hebrew word which means “Teachings.” It is fundamentally a story of God’s kingdom agenda to bring about a new set of humans who would Love God and Love Others. Let me give a summary of this story.
Story of the Torah
God made and blessed humans to reflect His rule over His earth. However, these humans rebelled and usurped God’s reign (kingdom) over His earth. In doing so, they failed in their assignment and the blessing that came with it. They entered into a realm of chaos caused by sin and death (mortality).
God resumed His Kingdom agenda by calling a man called Abraham. He blessed Abraham and made him and his family tree the channel through which all the families of the earth will receive that blessing, and be restored back to their calling for which they were created.
This family of Abraham – the people of Israel found their way to Egypt and ended up oppressed as slaves. So, God rescued them powerfully through Moses and brought them through the Wilderness to set up a kingdom agreement with them to become the new humans who will reveal and reflect God to His World. This agreement is called a Covenant.
The Covenant Laws
As per terms of the agreement to become God’s kingdom people, they were given laws. Laws you know as the Ten Commandments. A bit more was added to further elaborate on these ten. These laws were about social justice, sexual morality, rituals, and customs to set the Israelites apart from the other nations of their day (who were much much worse).
The purpose of the laws was to enable the people to reveal and reflect God to the other nations of their day and age. However, they rebelled again.
The people of Israel disobeyed the first commandment right in front of God’s presence, soon after God gave them the commandments. So, God gave them more laws to further elaborate the first set.
Leviticus, Numbers & Deuteronomy
After these laws were given, the Israelites broke them again. So God added more. They broke those too.
This was why the Torah is called “the teachings.”
What does this story tell you about humans? There is something about humans that make them incapable of fulfilling the laws of God. The Apostle Paul, meditating on these, wrote:
There is nothing good in me, in the human person that I am. I know that. I want to do what is good. But I am unable to do it.
I do not do the good things that I want to do. Instead, I continue to do the bad things that I do not want to do.
Moses revealed that it is because of their hard hearts. He acknowledged that even after his death, they will continue to break the laws. This was because they are incapable of fulfilling them. No one is. God has to do something about their hearts to be able to do so.
The prophet Ezekiel compared the human hearts to that of a stone. A very hard stone. Thankfully, he revealed God’s agenda to give humans a new fleshy heart 💓.
And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you, and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh.
The Prophet Jeremiah, on this same issue, spoke about the evil contained in this present heart of humans.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
This is in agreement with what Paul wrote about several centuries later about the human condition. Jeremiah spoke about God’s agenda to deeply embed the laws in their hearts; such that fulfilling the Law will not feel like a duty. Humans will then be capable of effortlessly fulfilling the Law.
Isaiah, the prophet, added that a future leader called the Messiah (The Christ) will arise and led Israel to
The story of the Law and the Prophets remained unfulfilled until the set time.
Jesus Fulfilled The Law
Love God and Love Others
Jesus came to the scene and spoke about this heart. Out of it
This Jesus came to set that right with all humans. He summarized the Law into its fundamental pillars:- Love God and Love Others.
(Check out our article on Love: Ahavah)
Though the laws may change according to a dispensation or generation (which they always do), these pillars remain.
(So don’t be pressured, to go about fulfilling those laws as they were when given to the people of Israel in their day and age. Jesus gave you the foundation on which the Law of God was built. Work on that!)
Loving God and others is not as easy as it sounds. Recall what Jesus said about murder? He said it’s bad to murder another human. Yeah, you may think that’s easy not to do. However, he added that disrespecting or hating another human is just the same. This is because when you do so, you don’t show love to others. Jesus even went beyond that to talk about your enemies. “Love your enemies…” He said (Matthew 5:44).
The Torah, as mentioned before, is fundamentally a story. Jesus came to conclude to that story and completely fulfill it (Matthew 5:17).
How Did Jesus Fulfill The Law?
Jesus fulfilled the Law by observing everything contained in it. Wait! Weren’t humans incapable of doing that? Yup.
Jesus was the only exception. God came in and through a human called Jesus to completely fulfill His own Law. Jesus fully loved God and others. He also loved his enemies; even until death.
After He resurrected, He left with his disciples (the new humans) the Holy Spirit to transform our hearts to follow in his footsteps as the new humans loving God and others, including our enemies.
Many Christians believe that they do right, fulfilling the Law by searching out all those 613 laws (or some of them) to obey. Jesus showed us a different way to do so. He also empowered us by means of His Holy Spirit to help us to do so effortlessly.
The Way of Love
What is this new way? The way of Love. Paul, the Apostle, puts it like this:
The One Who Loves Fulfills The Law.
The way of love is not easy. It is actually impossible. Just think about it. Think about all the evil you have seen, heard, or experienced other humans do. How can you love
Jesus made that possible by empowering his followers – the new creation – with God’s Holy Spirit. Paul writes:
…And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has given to us.Romans 5
The love we distribute is the love of God poured into our hearts. We distribute this love to others; including our enemies.
Are you fulfilling the Law? Trust in the Lord as the Holy Spirit is working gradually in and with you to fulfill His law by loving God and others.
If this brought value to you, please express your love by sharing this with as many people as you can. Thanks in advance.