Total Fulfillment of the Law and Why Monergism Does Not

by pjamesbeardsley

It is common for modern Christians to think that the laws of the Old Testament do not apply anymore.   They’ll say something about being “under grace” (true and relevant, but misapplied) and ignore, either deliberately or not, the statutes and theological implications of the law.  Wherever these people get this notion, it stands in direct contrast to the words of Jesus (Matthew 5:17-20, KJV):

17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

and of the law given by God (2 Kings 17:37, KJV):

37 And the statutes, the ordinances, the law, and the commandment which He wrote for you, you shall be careful to observe forever; you shall not fear other gods.

Yes, the law applies every bit as much today as it did when it was given to Moses.  The difference is not in the laws, but in how they are to be carried out.  While the whole of the law can and ever could be summed as it was by Jesus (Matthew 22:37-40),

37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

and by the prophet Micah (Micah 6:7-8),

Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

this establishes and justifies the ordinances; it does not abolish or trivialize them.

Yet it is right that Christians do not carry out the laws of the Old Testament as they were properly done before Jesus (Galatians 5, Hebrews 9).  Not because those laws are no longer relevant, but because they were fulfilled by Christ.  He is our eternal atonement sacrifice, Passover sacrifice, etc.

If indeed Christ is all of those things, and He is, He must be our eternal free will and thanksgiving offerings as well.  These offerings had specific conditions attached to them, among them that they must be of the person’s free will (Leviticus 1:3, 19:5, 22:19, and 22:29, respectively):

If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the Lord.

And if ye offer a sacrifice of peace offerings unto the Lord, ye shall offer it at your own will.

19 Ye shall offer at your own will a male without blemish, of the beeves, of the sheep, or of the goats

29 And when ye will offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving unto the Lord, offer it at your own will.

Therefore, if we are to believe that Jesus fulfilled the whole of the law, as He said He would, and not just parts of it, we must reject monergism.  For if the fulfillment of the law through Jesus is monergistic, Jesus would be insufficient to fulfill those portions of the law God commanded be of the free will of the person.