Love Fulfills the Law

Key Verse: “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.”
—Romans 13:8

Selected Scripture:
Romans 12:1,2;

SOME JEWISH CONVERTS insisted that keeping various features of the Mosaic Law was a condition of living in Christ. Through arguments from different angles, Paul answered every objection of these disrupters. He pointed out that no Jew received life under the Law, but rather it showed them they were all sinners in need of a redeemer. He showed them faith in Christ was the only way to be freed from their sins and to gain life.—Rom. 3:20-24

In all of his preaching, Paul pointed out that it was God’s plan from the beginning to deal with his people by faith. (Gal. 3:8) Based on the arguments set forth in the first eleven chapters of Romans, he begins the next chapter, saying, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”—Rom. 12:1

In these words, we see God’s invitation to us to become members of the body of Christ. By accepting this invitation, and being led by the power of the Holy Spirit, we become “the sons of God.” (Rom. 8:14) If we are “faithful unto death,” we are promised a “crown of life”—immortality, the divine nature. (Rev. 2:10; Rom. 2:7; II Pet. 1:4) We will then judge the world in the next age, the time of Christ’s earthly kingdom. (I Cor. 6:2) With such a prospect, the fulfillment of our consecration vow is truly only a “reasonable service.”

Paul further instructs us, “Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Rom. 12:2) Much instruction is implied in the words “be ye transformed.” First, we are not to become entangled with the things of this world, for if we “live after the flesh,” we will die. (Rom. 8:13) We must develop an attitude in which we “count it all joy, when going through trying experiences. (James 1:2-4) We also are to study God’s Word to better understand his plans and purposes, and to be approved of him. (II Tim. 2:15) Finally, it is necessary that we study the character of Jesus and be conformed into his image.—Heb. 12:2-4

In our Key Verse, the instruction to “owe no man anything, but to love one another,” suggests an opposite heart condition from one who is viewing his fellow man from strictly an earthly, temporal standpoint. Jesus said we owe each other love. “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.”—John 15:12-14

The concluding words of our Key Verse, “he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law,” brings the contrast of “the law,” versus “faith which worketh by love,” into harmonious agreement. (Gal. 5:6) Similarly, Jesus said that loving God as well as your neighbor are the two great commandments on which “hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matt. 22:36-40) Simply put, Paul says, “If there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. … Therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.—Rom. 13:9,10