Thursday, 5 December 2013
Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13:10
The thoughts of loving another and harming another are contradictory. Where there is love, there will be no harm. In the previous verse, Paul spoke of the commandments mentioned in the second half of the Ten Commandments. These are directed in general towards other humans, now collectively called “a neighbor.”
Each of these commandments finds its fulfillment in love. After stating those written commandments, he finished with, “and if there is any other commandment.” This opens up the statement to any prescriptive directive in Scripture. We know this because the Greek includes no definite article before “law.” Love then is the fulfillment of all divine law. As The People’s New Testament states, “God requires nothing which is not comprehended in this word.”
As “God is love” any law which stems from God will be revealed in love. One could argue against this by going back to the Old Testament and citing one of numerous laws which calls for the stoning of someone, a homosexual for example (See Leviticus 20:13). The argument could be that this is an unloving mandate of God. Incorrect.
1) The act violates what is determined “good” by God from the beginning of creation. A perversion of something good cannot be called “good.”
2) For the soundness of His covenant people at large, God has forbidden acts contrary to what He has ordained in creation to keep them healthy, holy, and free from sin. Such laws are actually loving directives by God for the general good of His people.
3) The law was given that sin might become “exceedingly sinful” (Romans 7:13) and therefore it acts as a tutor to lead us to Christ (Galatians 3:24). By seeing our need for freedom from this sin, and then calling on Jesus for forgiveness of that sin, the greatest demonstration of all love is witnessed; the giving of God’s own Son for the sinful people of the world.
What we arrogantly (or ignorantly) claim as unloving in God is, in fat, directed towards the highest demonstration of love. Nothing God demands or determines can be unloving. By our own perverse choices, we bring wrath upon ourselves because we are acting in a nature contrary to what the all-loving Creator has determined for us. It is our actions, not God’s requirements, which are unloving. He is the Creator, we are the created.
Life application: Shall we charge the Almighty with wrongdoing? May it never be so! God requires nothing of us which is not understood and obtainable in the concept of love. However, we must view all things from His perspective, not our own.
Heavenly Father, when I see a commandment in Your word which seems harsh, help me to perceive that law from Your perspective, not mine. I know that nothing You require will be expected of us that is not grounded in love, for You are love. So open my eyes Lord to see all things apart from my personal emotions or misguided notions. Amen.