The Law: Fulfilled or Abolished? | Romans 13:8

Romans 13:8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has G4137fulfilled the law.

Romans 13:10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the G4137fulfilling of the law.

The following are two ‘doctrines’ that I was taught by mainstream theology; see if either of them sound familiar:

  1. Jesus ‘fulfilled’ the Law of God given through Moses so now we don’t have to.
  2. The Law of God given through Moses, which Jesus ‘fulfilled’, has subsequently been abolished and is no longer valid post-Resurrection.

First ‘doctrine’: It is taught that “Jesus fulfilled the Law so now we don’t have to”. If this is so, then my question is: we don’t have towhat?

I submit it is universally accepted and taught that we don’t have toobserve or keep the Law of God given through Moses’ because Jesus fulfilled it for us.

The words that I have underlined directly above are not found anywhere in the entire Bible, yet this is a ‘doctrinal-truth(?)’ that has been taught throughout Christendom for centuries.

In the verses at the beginning of this blog the apostle Paul is claiming that “our love” fulfills the Law. So according to Paul, there is still more ‘Law-fulfilling’ to do by us mere mortals. Did Jesus not truly fulfill the Law for us ‘so that we don’t have to‘? Does Paul believe Jesus didn’t do a good enough job at Law-fulfilling and thinks we need to help Jesus out? Was the Law fulfilled by Jesus or wasn’t it? We’ll address these questions shortly.

Second ‘doctrine’: According to mainstream teachings, “our love” fulfills all of the requirements, commands, statutes and decrees of the Law of Moses. Yet, at the same time they preach that the ‘Law of Moses’ is done away with and abolished. Does our ‘love’ fulfill an abolished Law? Really??? Which is it? Is it still in effect and needing to be fulfilled by our love, or is it abolished? It cannot be both effectively fulfilled by our love and abolished at the same time.

The following verse is where all the confusion stems from ~

Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to G4137fulfill them.

This verse is (mis)interpreted in two different ways:

  1. Fulfill means ‘put an end to‘, ‘abolish’, ‘annul’, or ‘rescind’.
  2. Fulfill means ‘all the Laws are completed so no one else has to do them’.

If #1 is correct then Matthew 5:17 reads, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have not come to abolish them but to ‘abolish’ them.”

Case closed on (mis)interpretation #1. Not only is it utterly illogical, but it is grammatically incorrect to think the word ‘fulfill’ means ‘abolish’, ‘annul’, ‘put an end to’ or ‘rescind’. We will explore the established Greek definition of the word “fulfill” in just a moment.

As far as #2 is concerned, once again, all I have to say is that the words ‘so no one else has to do them’ do not exist except in the minds of wishful thinkers who do not want to uphold the Law of God. There is not one manuscript, document or translation anywhere by the “Breath of God” that has those words in it.

What does the text say?

Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to G4137fulfill them.

First off, let’s look at what Jesus said he did NOT come to do to the Law. He said he did NOT come to abolish the Law, and the English word abolish in the Greek is G2647, καταλῦσαι/katalysai . Thayer’s Greek Lexicon states this to mean: to deprive of force, annul, abrogate, discard.

The Son of God states that He did NOT come to deprive of force, annul, abrogate or discard the Law of Moses. So, what did He come to do with it?

Jesus said He came to fulfill the Law of Moses, and the word fulfill is the Greek word πληρῶσαι/plērōsai, Strong’s G4137. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon states this to mean: to carry into effect, to perform, to accomplish; to fulfil, i.e. to cause God’s will (as made known in the law) to be obeyed as it should be, and God’s promises (given through the prophets) to receive fulfilment: Matthew 5:17.

That is the actual definition of ‘plērōsai/fulfill’ as it pertains ‘specifically to Matthew 5:17 according to the ‘Thayer’s Lexicon’, which everyone has access to.

In that definition do you see the words ‘annulled’ or ‘abolished’ or ‘revoked’ or ‘rescinded’ or ‘repealed’ or ‘completed-so-you-don’t-have-to’?

All of the ‘other’ definitions of the word plērōsai in ‘Thayer’s Lexicon’ as it pertains to verses other than Matthew 5:17 are as follows:

  1. properly, to fill up to the top: so that nothing shall be lacking to full measure, fill to the brim.
  2. to perfect, consummate; to make complete in every particular; to render perfect; to carry through to the end, to accomplish, carry out.
  3. to carry into effect, bring to realization, realize; of matters of duty, to perform, to execute.

Again, no mention that even remotely comes close to the mainstream interpretation of this word.

Let’s take a look at the use of this word, G4137/plērōsai, in other New Testament verses ~

Matthew 3:15 But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to G4137fulfill all righteousness.”

  • Did Jesus and John just ‘put an end‘ to “all righteousness”? Is righteousness now ‘finished for all time‘? Did righteousness cease to exist after that event? Is that what the word ‘fulfill’ means???

Next, we have Paul himself using this same word in Romans ~

Romans 15:19 by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God—so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have G4137fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ;

  • Did Paul ‘do away with‘ the gospel of Christ? Did he fulfill the ministry of the gospel ‘so now we don’t have to‘? That is completely illogical and un-Scriptural.

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon specifically defines ‘fulfilled’ with regards to Romans 15:19 as: to cause to be everywhere known, acknowledged, embraced (I have fully preached), Romans 15:19.

Here are a few more verses that use the same Greek word G4137/plērōsai. Let’s see if the standard of today’s mainstream teaching of this word holds true ~

John 3:29 The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now G4137complete.

  • Was the joy of Jesus ‘done away with’ or ‘abolished’?

John 15:11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy G4137may-be-full.

  • Did the disciples joy ‘stop’ or ‘become rescinded’ or ‘revoked’ after Jesus spoke these things?

Act 5:28 saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have G4137filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.”

  • Did Peter and the apostles ‘do away with’ Jerusalem?

Act 13:52 And the disciples were G4137filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

  • Oh no, the disciples ‘abolished’ their joy AND the Holy Spirit!?! No more Holy Spirit for us I guess…

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope G4137fill you with all joy and peace in believing

  • Did God ‘rescind’ all joy and peace?

2 Corinthians 10:6 being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is G4137complete.

  • Hooray! Our obedience is ‘done away with’…

Galatians 5:14 For the whole law is G4137fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

  • Just like in Matthew 5:17, the Law is ‘abolished’, ‘annulled’ and ‘revoked’; a second time???

Ephesians 1:23 which is his body, the G4137fullness of him who fills all in all.

  • So, the body of Jesus is ‘done away with’???

Philippians 4:19 And my God G4137will-supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

  • I can’t even think of how to describe this one sarcastically because it is so blatantly obvious that this word means to “fill up”, to “accomplish” and to “bring to realization”.

Colossians 1:25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God G4137fully-known,

  • Is Paul really saying that the word of God is ‘rescinded’ and ‘no longer applicable’ to me because he had made it “fully-known” to the Colossians???

As you can see, we have been, and still are being taught a wrong interpretation of Matthew 5:17 with regard to the word “fulfill”.

Think logically, not emotionally.

All you really have to do is just keep reading in Matthew to understand the context of what Jesus was saying ~

Matthew 5:18-19 18For 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. 19Therefore 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.

Jesus is explaining to everyone, everywhere, that he did NOT come to abolish or rescind or put an end to the Law of Moses. He is telling us that he came to fully preach and obey it the way it should be; He is the ‘Master-teacher’ and our ‘Example’.

Also, unless Jesus doesn’t know what he’s talking about, not one letter of the Law of God given through Moses will pass until heaven and earth pass away”.

Take a look outside to verify…

By the way, guess what the Greek word for “pass away” and “pass” is? It’s G3928 παρέλθῃ/ parelthē both times in verse 18 with regards to ‘not one dot of the Law’ and to ‘heaven and earth’. This is the real word for “to render void”, “to pass away”, “to disregard”, “to perish” and “to neglect” according to Thayer’s Greek Lexicon.

‘Not one word of the Law will be disregarded, or neglected or perish or rendered void until heaven and earth are disregarded, neglected, perish, rendered void.’

The parallel verse in Luke 16 echoes the same ~

Luke 16:17 But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of the Law to fail.

The Greek word for “fail” is G4098, πεσεῖν/ pesein. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon states this to mean: to lose authority, no longer have force, of sayings, precepts, etc., Luke 16:17.

According to God-in-the-flesh, the Law that was in effect when He spoke these words in ‘Matthew’ and ‘Luke’, will not be rendered void or lose authority until heaven and earth pass away. This heaven and earth, that Jesus is speaking about, the one that you see outside your window right now, do not pass away until Revelation chapter 21, and “all is accomplished” does not happen until after that.

As God, Jesus does know what he’s talking about. The fact that heaven and earth passing away has not happened yet, means that the Law still stands; the Law of “His” day, the Law of God given through Moses, is still in force and in authority; at least according to God-in-the-flesh.

The Apostle Paul, the bond-servant of Jesus, states the exact same thing ~

Romans 3:31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

The Greek word for “uphold” is G2476 ἱστάνομεν/histanomen, which Strong’s Concordance states to mean: (a) I make to stand, place, set up, establish, appoint; I place myself, stand, (b) I set in balance, weigh; (c) I stand, stand by, stand still; met: I stand ready, stand firm, am steadfast. Please read “Paul Commands Us to Uphold the Law“.

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon states ‘histanomen’ as: shall be made to stand, i.e. shall be kept from falling, to establish a thing, cause it to stand, i.e. to uphold or sustain the authority or force of anything; precisely what Luke 16:17 above stated.

All of this is stated in the Present Tense in the Greek. Paul is telling us in ‘his’ Present Tense that “The Law” is to stand, it is to be established, it is to be kept from falling, and “its authority and force is sustained. How many decades after the cross did Paul write this???

We have been taught erroneous doctrine regarding the Law of God given through Moses and the true interpretation of these verses!

The Law of God given through Moses still stands, at least according to the ‘Son of God’ and the ‘Apostle Paul’… and I believe them, not some denominational creed.

Final Thought: “Fulfill” means to carry into effect, to perform, to accomplish; and in Matthew 5:17 it means “to cause God’s will (as made known in the law) to be obeyed as it should be, and God’s promises (given through the prophets) to receive fulfillment. That is exactly what Jesus did; he performed obedience to the Law as it should be, and he carried into effect specific promises of God in order to accomplish his mission as Messiah, according to the Law and the Prophets.

  • For further study of Paul’s teachings, as well as the original Greek, please see the ‘Page Links’ at the top of this page or blog posts at the bottom. Be a Berean, and test Paul’s doctrines to the “Scriptures”. Please ‘share’ this study. Thank you for your time!