We continue our study of the Book of Romans. Picking up at verse 8, of Chapter 13, we read the words of Paul as he explains how “Love Fulfills the Law”. He writes:
“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery.”, “You shall not murder,.”
“You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other commands there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.’. Romans 13: 8-10
Someone said, “Why is love for others called a debt? We are permanently in debt to Christ for the lavish love He has poured out on us, but this is a debt like no other. The only way we can even begin to repay this debt is by fulfilling our obligation to love others in turn. Because Christ’s love will always be infinitely greater than ours, we will always have the obligation to love our neighbors.”
Somehow many of us have gotten the idea that self-love is wrong; but if we hear the command to “love our neighbor as ourselves”, it does not make sense if we feel that self-love is wrong. For instance if we have low self-esteem, and do not care about our health and well being, should we willingly let others go hungry if there is food? Of course not. We probably try to clothe ourselves reasonably well, but we know we would give clothing to those who may not have any if we saw the need. We probably try not to let ourselves be cheated or injured. We would want the same for our neighbors as that, and would not allow it if we saw it going on, and could stop it. We would want the same for us by those in our lives. So obviously to say that self-love is wrong is not what our Lord is talking about when He says, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” The Lord wants us to love who we are in Him. He wants us to help others and teach them about Love – His Love. We are greatly loved by Him. We are covered in and by His Grace.. Let us Love ourselves because of that truth, and give Him all that we are. Let us love those in our life as we love ourselves.
The Word says, “Whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.” Paul is not talking about the 10 Commandments when he says “fulfilled the law”. He is saying the Law is fulfilled by Love, and that is how we are to live. Jesus has fulfilled the old Law. He has done the work. We are covered in grace, and faith in Christ in the new covenant that replaced the old Law. It is a law of Love. God’s Love for us, His Children, that He created for us, and fulfilled it Himself. The Law of love we want to live in and under, is a level of life we want to operate in because it is our desire to do so – not because we will get into trouble if we don’t. It is indeed a debt we owe our Lord Jesus, but it is not like a debt between people or banks or institutions that can be paid off. It is a beautiful debt that flows like a brook of water. It is a brook of love flowing from one generation to the next. As all water does, it brings life and sustenance. He said, “Love one another.” Let us desire greatly to do so, That brings a beautiful Life as we do. A debt that we will honor, and pass to the next generation. A debt that we want to pay because of our Love for our God of Love, and our love for those in our life. Let us pay on it each day.