The Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled God’s law (Matt. 5:17; Rom. 10:4). He therefore fulfilled this one in Deuteronomy 23:15-16. God’s law is a terror to us. It threatens us with eternal death for our sins (Rom. 6:23). It holds us in bondage as slaves (Rom. 7:1-3). It demands from us, but gives us no power to fulfill its demands (Rom. 3:19-20; 5:20; 7:1-25). Because we are sinners, all we do only adds to our debt of guilt. God’s law holds out a promise of life. But it is a futile and hopeless promise, because it depends on us. Our flesh is naturally hostile towards God. We are not subject to His law. Indeed, cannot be, because our very mind is enmity against Him (Rom. 1:30; 8:7-8; Psalm 14:1-3; Gen. 6:5; Jer. 17:9; Eccl. 7:20, 29). God’s law is holy. Our sins and our sinful nature are the problem.
Under this dark cloud of bondage and death as slaves to sin and to the terror and bondage of God’s law, the Gospel shines brightly. It proclaims freedom by the redeeming blood of Christ! It proclaims forgiveness of God for all our sins by the precious blood of Jesus (Eph. 1:7). It tells of a holy, perfect, beauty, even the beauty of Christ’s obedience to God in His life and death, a beauty that is His, but which He worked out for us and gives to us freely out of God’s grace, to present us without fault to God’s delight in the presence His glory (Rom. 3:24-25; Heb. 10:10, 14; 13:12; 1 Cor. 1:30; Eph. 1:4; Jude 1:24). The Gospel declares liberty in Christ to sinful slaves held captive by God’s law under the threat of death and the hopeless despair of obtaining favor and life from God by our own obedience.
This gladdest of all news is delivered by Christ on His throne through His ambassadors (2 Cor. 5:18-21). It is delivered with the life-giving, creating, resurrecting power of the Holy Spirit of God. Thus sent and thus applied, it is the best news a sin-captive slave ever heard! It is good news to know that such freedom is not only available, but worked out in entirety and obtained eternally for us (Heb. 9:12; 10:14). God has received full payment from Christ. Complete and perfect fulfillment of God’s law has been rendered to God by our Redeemer for His chosen people, even for ungodly sinners (Rom. 5:6-10). This freedom is ours without payment, without contribution, without anything of us (Eph. 2:8-10). It comes to us while we are yet in our great sins (Eph. 2:1-4). It fulfills our great need. It provides for us in our hopelessness and our helplessness. Christ, by His Spirit, applies this salvation to us through the gift of faith, a gift of His grace. He gives us sight to see Him who accomplished it. He persuades us that He obtained it. He causes us to embrace Him for this salvation with glad embrace. This is God-given faith; it does not come from us (Heb. 11:13). We hear the news (Rom. 10:16-17)! We see the salvation that is in our Savior (Ex. 14:13-14; Luke 2:30)! We are persuaded He is able (2 Tim. 1:12; Rom. 4:21). We embrace Him (Heb. 11:13). We unreservedly commit the keeping of our souls to Christ who sends this most blessed report from His rightful, exalted place on heaven's throne of universal authority and everlasting dominion in glory (Dan. 7:13-14; Matt. 28:18-20; John 3:13; Eph. 4:9-10; Acts 2:30-36; 5:31; 10:36).
When this news reaches our ears, we look to Christ (Isaiah 45:22). We cry out to Him (Mark 10:46-47). We call on Him to save us (Matt. 14:30; Luke 18:13). We flee for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us (Heb. 6:18). We flee our old master: the yoke of God’s law to find justification in the blood and righteousness of Christ (Rom. 5:9, 19; 2 Cor. 5:21). We look to Christ and cast our life upon the certain confidence that if God has thus spoken in promise to Him (2 Cor. 1:20; Gal. 3:16, 19; Rom. 5:9, 19; 8:34); if God has received His offering and sacrifice of Himself, offered to God in love for His people; if God has received Him as a sweet-smelling savor in unspeakable delight (Matt. 17:5; Eph. 5:2); if God has raised Him from the dead in satisfaction and delight (Heb. 13:20-21); and if God’s promises of forgiveness, righteousness and eternal life are in Him for the most guilty, condemned and helpless of sinners (1 Tim. 1:15), then we can run out to Him from our sinfulness and nothingness and helplessness, run even to Him in glad, unrestricted commitment of our eternal souls into the hands of His all-sufficient, saving, almighty grace!
Salvation is deliverance from sin and the just condemnation of God against us for our sins. It is deliverance from the righteous requirements of His law upon us. It is deliverance in our Savior, our Surety, who interposed Himself in personal obligation to do all God requires of us in our place, who substituted Himself to obtain our eternal freedom, to take our every sin as His own, to answer every charge against us with Himself, and to fulfill every obligation of God in satisfaction to His holiness with His own obedience. He is our Savior. God has made Him our Refuge. He is our Rock. He was smitten. God opened a cleft in Him for us to hide. He is our Redeemer. He paid our debts and obtained our release with His own blood. He is our Champion. He defeated and subdued all of our enemies. He is our Husband. He clothes us in His own beauty and presents us to Himself in love, without spot by His own blood, by the sanctifying offering of Himself to God (Heb. 13:12). He cleanses our hearts. He has given us His own holy nature by His Spirit in application of His saving work through the preaching of His word (Eph. 4:24; 5:25-27; Heb. 9:12-14; Acts 10:44).
Christ fulfilled that law of God that made refuge for an escaped slave in the One to whom he fled for a haven of salvation and freedom and rest. Our Surety will not cast out any who come to Him (Deut. 23:15; John 6:37). He will not deliver us again to our old master. He has given us a place in Himself. He will give us eternal life. He will keep us with Himself. He will stay with us and dwell in us. And we will dwell in Him in unbroken union to everlasting days (Heb. 13:8; John 6:56; 14:1-3, 18-20; 17:20-24). He has obtained our eternal salvation (Heb. 5:9). He will give us an inheritance in Himself (Eph. 1:11). He has given us life that is His own life (Gal. 2:20; John 14:19). He has given us an uninterrupted place that God’s freed slaves like best (Deut. 23:16), an eternal haven in Christ. He will not oppress us as did our old master. He will give us eternal rest in Himself (Heb. 4:1-10). He will make Himself known to us. He is our eternal life (Matt. 11:28-30; Isaiah 26:1-3; John 17:2-3). Thank God! He has brought us out. We have fled to Christ. It is all His work. It is all to His glory!