Unlimited: The Fulfilment of the Law
Sep 13, 2023 417
Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law (Romans 13:10b).
Paul has just told us that “whoever loves others has fulfilled the law” (v8). Then he has told us that the entire law is summed up in the single command to “love your neighbour as yourself” (v9). Now he tells us that “love is the fulfillment of the law.”
The apostle repeats this idea in several ways because he knows that his readers will struggle to grasp it. It’s not because it is difficult to understand. It is because it’s so counter-intuitive and inimical to our fallen human nature. This means that we will generally seek to define ourselves by external things, like our performance and appearance. God wants us to define ourselves by our hearts and by the truth of who we really are.
The purpose of the law is ultimately to point us toward Christ and his love.
Furthermore, we also try to define and judge ourselves and others by our external behaviour. And so, by the natural inclination of our hearts, we are all legalists.
The legalist sees the law as an end in itself. Someone who understands the Gospel will see the purpose of the law being ultimately to point us toward Christ and his love, although it can itself never get us there. When, however, we have been justified through faith, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, the love of Christ will be the centre of our existence, and thus the purpose of the law will be fulfilled.
Which is more beneficial to emphasise in your life: love or law? Which is more dangerous: love or law? Which one is the focus of your own personal religious understanding?