Fulfill the Law? Is that all you want?
by Juan Carlos Ortiz
"For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never by the same sacrifices year by year, which they offer continually, make perfect those who draw near" (Hebrews 10:1 NASB). |
The written Law is the shadow of the reality. The Reality is the Spirit. It is the dynamic, actual, working Spirit of Christ. The Letter cannot make perfect. But the reality, yes! The Spirit can make perfect--that was the promise of the Father. "I will show you how to walk in my ways and you will keep my ordinances."
Too much consciousness of the letter, gives the letter the wrong place, so that the letter becomes an end in itself rather than a pointing finger to the real thing. We find a sign that says: "Oregon, 200 miles." That sign is supposed to help us get to Oregon, but it is going to be a hindrance if we say, "Oh, wonderful! See, it's Oregon! Let's put our camper here." But that's not Oregon. It is just a sign saying that to get to Oregon you have to keep going. If you stay there, the sign that was supposed to help you becomes a hindrance. Even so, we can become letter-centered.
Wherever I go I have my wife's picture. Every time I pack my suitcase, my wife makes sure that I have the picture. I set it up in my room on the table, and every night I look at the picture and write a letter. One letter a day goes to Martha. But suppose when I come home I keep on looking at the picture, writing letters, and don't pay any attention to her? She would say, "Juan, give me back that picture. I'm here!" I think Jesus is tired of our obsession with His picture when He is alive and with us.
What is the fulfilment of the Law? Love. And love is much, much more than the fulfilment of the Law. It goes far beyond the Law. The Law said, "Thou shalt not covet." But the Law never demanded, "Thou shalt have peace. Thou shalt have meekness." Never. The fruit of the Spirit is much, much more.
The disciples at Pentecost. What was the result? They stayed together; they prayed; they loved everyone; they were fearless; they had fellowship with one another. Miracles were done. They lived together. They had their things in common. They sold their property and goods and brought the proceeds to the feet of the apostles. They shared with all who were in need. They persevered in accord. They ate together. Their love was contagious and worth dying for. What came naturally to them was much, much more than the requirements of the Law.
The Law never asked them to sell their goods. The Law never said they had to live together, to perform miracles, to go into all the world and be expendable for others. Never. This life in the Spirit is much more than the Law because Pentecost is the reality foreshadowed. It is the new heart--the new creation--with God's desires built in, with the Trinity at home in the heart. It is rivers of living water flowing out to every community and nation.