You can almost divide Christianity into two camps. One group, including the Apostle Paul, believes that Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled all of the Jewish Law. There are details, of course. Did this happen through his life, at the crucifixion, through the resurrection, only completely at the point of ascension or even afterward, at Pentecost?  Details, details. The point is that Jesus gave us two commandments that fulfill all of the law: love God and love your neighbor (Luke 10: 25-28). Loving your neighbor as you love yourself fulfills “all the law” meaning not just 10 Commandments but hundreds more (Romans 13: 8-10).

The other group believes that Jesus did not fulfill all of the law, despite what Paul and others have taught. Using an extra-Biblical concept of “civil and ceremonial” laws versus other commands found in what Christians call the Old Testament, only some of those laws were fulfilled. This group of believers is not interested in the idea that loving God and neighbor covers all of the “moral law” ground, as Paul explicitly taught the Roman church.

For this second group, Jesus’ statement in the Sermon On The Mount (Matthew 5: 17-18) about “not one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (King James Version) means that The Law must still be in effect. For them, Jesus saying “It is accomplished” from the cross just prior to his death had nothing to do with those laws.

One little problem, though: those “civil and ceremonial laws” are absolutely jots and tittles, dots and iotas, the smallest letter, the least stroke of a pen, the least point, the smallest detail. Jesus cannot be saying that such things will not pass from The Law if the interpretation of the second group is valid.

From a New Testament perspective, at least through the letters of Paul, Christians are under no obligation to bear the burden of The Law. The entire letter to Galatians hammers this point home repeatedly. What about those who choose instead to embrace the non-Biblical concept of “some laws still being in effect”? Jesus is pretty clear. Every jot and tittle applies, and Christianity has long failed – intentionally failed – to measure up to that standard.

Of course, the Sermon On The Mount in context doesn’t expect us to walk that line. That yolk doesn’t come from Christ. It comes from Christians who clearly love The Law more than The Lord.

Jots, tittles, dots, iotas.


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