Matthew 5:17-20 "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. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore 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, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."
Jesus came to fulfill the Law. He fulfilled the curse of the Law by dying on the cross (Deuteronomy 21:22-23; Galatians 3:13). Jesus fulfilled the sacrifice for sin completely.
There is no need for the sacrifices the Law calls for since Jesus died on the cross (Hebrews 7:27). Jesus declared the food laws fulfilled by declaring all food clean (Mark 7:18-19).
The purpose of the moral Law is not fulfilled. The moral elements of the Law reveal sin as utterly sinful (Romans 7:13). The Jewish leaders taught a righteousness that comes by keeping the Law. No person can keep the Law one hundred percent. James tell us in his letter that breaking one part of the Law is the same as breaking all of it (James 2:10).
The Law is unable to make us righteous. It can only prove we are guilty. The righteousness that exceeds that of the Scribes and Pharisees is an internal righteous gained by belief in Christ (1 Corinthians 1:30; Ephesians 2:8-9). The Pharisees tried for an external righteousness, yet were described by Jesus as inwardly unclean (Matthew 23:27-28).
Only by faith in Christ do we attain an inner righteousness and entrance into the Kingdom of God.
Questions for reflection: