Love and Law

Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ ‘You shall not covet,’ and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:8-10).

Few Bible relationships have been more misunderstood than the connection between love and law. They are not mortal enemies, bitterly antagonistic to each other. They are not syno­nyms, inseparable from one another. They are perfectly harmonious, codependent on each other.

Love needs law for its direction. Law needs love for its motivation. Law without love generates cold legalism. Love without law results in chaotic licentiousness.

Just as your physical body needs its skeleton and muscles to hold everything in its right­ful place, your spirit needs a righteous code of conduct to regulate behavior.

Just as your physical body needs a heart to energize and nourish its organs, muscles, and tissues, your spirit needs the warmth and vitality of passionate love for God and your fellow man to rightly motivate righteous behavior.

Expressing genuine love for God and your neighbor was the precise purpose of the Law of Moses. When the final five commandments of the ten given at Mount Sinai are obeyed from the heart, you are loving your neighbor as yourself. Exodus 20:13-17 is the perfect and most practical commentary on Leviticus 19:18.

Love does no harm to another’s marriage, life, possessions, reputation, or contentment. Law informs you as to what you ought not do in life. Love makes sure you don’t do it.

   Send article as PDF   

Author: jchowning

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *