Q. For the first time, I now understand what “entering His rest” means as you described it in your Hebrews review which, by the way, was one of the better works I have read on it – thank you! I do have one question though. I understand that by accepting Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, we have entered a “rest” as you described and do not need to worry about religious rites to earn salvation.
That being said, Jesus made a comment that not one part of the law would disappear. (Matthew 5:17-18). This is where my question lies. Does His comment regarding “everything is accomplished” remove the law for those under the new covenant? Was this meant just for the Jews? If Jesus says the law does not disappear, how does the Sabbath (and 10 commandments) requirement go away?
A. Legally speaking, the Law is not fulfilled, or satisfied as we say today, until the penalty for violating it has been paid. When Jesus said that He came to fulfill the law He meant that he was going to meet its requirements by paying the penalty that was due mankind for our violations. All of them.
God’s Law is still in force, it’s just that we’ve become exempt from its penalty because of our belief that Jesus already paid it on our behalf.
As the Lord pointed out in Matt. 5 the Law, which had been incorrectly viewed as a set of external requirements, is really a measure of internal thoughts and attitudes. As examples, He explained that we become guilty of murder when we get angry, of adultery when we feel lust.
But those are just 2 examples. We become idolaters when we put anything ahead of Him in our hearts, thieves and covetous when we feel envy, sabbath breakers when we work to earn or keep that which was freely given. We break the commandments to honor our parents and love our neighbors through selfishness, we bear false witness through gossip, and so on.
All these things are still sins, and they’re all things we still do every day. But we can rest in the assurance that every penalty has been paid in full. Those who refuse to accept His rest are still personally accountable for every violation. Not a single one will pass away until all are fulfilled.