Barry Newman's Blog

August 12, 2009

Freedom (part II)

Filed under: Freedom,Law — barrynewman @ 7:12 am

See part I here

The Fulfilment of the Law

Certainly with the coming of Jesus some things have come to an end or are on their way to coming to an end.  Jesus said that he had come to fulfil the Law and the Prophets, (Matt. 5: 17).  By the term, “the Law and the Prophets” he meant not only the Law of Moses but all the Old Testament Scriptures. What he was claiming was that in some sense they pointed to him and were finding completion in him. This means that all God’s purposes, all God’s plans are bound up in him.  However, not all that God has planned has yet come to pass.  The Lord Jesus has not yet returned.  All whom God has called have not yet entered his kingdom.  But in God’s good time, all that he has determined through and in the Lord Jesus Christ will come to pass.

As a beginning to this fulfilment, the completion of the Law and the Prophets, Jesus began to unfold deeper aspects of God’s law when he taught in the famous “Sermon on the Mount” and at other times as well.  As a most significant aspect of Jesus fulfilling the Law and the Prophets, Jesus himself completely obeyed God his father.  He alone was without sin, and though knowing no sin he became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5: 21).  He fully paid for the consequences of our sin.  In an important sense, all the Law’s requirements, sacrificial and otherwise have found their fulfilment in him.

The Law that Endures

Yet there is still something deeply enduring about the Law.  In some sense it will endure until this world ends, until God has accomplished all his purposes.  Jesus spoke about this in the strongest of terms (Matt. 5: 18).  It is a little like an engagement ring.  When given, it has wonderful significance, a significance that is never lost. However, later a wedding ring takes pride of place.  (An engagement ring is a ring of promise.  The wedding ring is a ring of promise fulfilled!) See how even some Old Testament prophets spoke of the deep things within the Law.  “I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice,” spoke the prophet Hosea (6: 6).  “What does the Lord require of you but to do justice and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God” wrote, the prophet Micah (6: 8). Jesus himself highlighted two important commands of the ancient Law.  “Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” and “Love your neighbour as yourself” (Mark 12: 29 – 31) and said of them, “All the Law and the prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matt. 22: 40).  All people are always obligated to live under the governorship of God, whether they know about this or not.



  1. Thank you so much for your honest interpretations especially with regard to the issue of the ceremony of baptism. I have been searching for some time for some plausible explanation of what baptism really means. Your writing is the only case I have found that rings true for me.
    I also particularly like this last sentence “All people are always obligated to live under the governorship of God, whether they know about this or not.” This statement resonates with my understanding that God’s universal law applies to everyone whether we think we believe in him or not.

    Comment by silhouetteart — April 21, 2011 @ 11:20 am | Reply

  2. Glad that you found what I think was probably the “Biblical Baptism” blog series helpful. If you haven’t read the follow-up blog series, “Biblical Baptism Revisited” you might find that interesting as well – it points among other things to a solution to an age old textual problem in 1 Cor 15. Several faculty members of the Moore Theoligcal College (an Anglican College but with a variety of denominations represented by its faculty) of Sydney are also persuaded of a similar understanding although several more are not. I am personally indebted to an Anglican ex- Archbishop of Sydney Donald Robinson who first got me working in this area and who had tentatively held a similar view. Now he is much more convinced. He is a wonderful man who has always been concerned to find out what the Scriptures say no matter what denominational allegiances one might have.

    I also notice you have had an interest in the “Freedom” and “Soul” Series. That’s encouraging



    Comment by Barry Newman — April 27, 2011 @ 9:05 am | Reply

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