All this week we’ve explored the blessings of love.
We looked at God’s love through the lens of Psalm 136.
We looked at the meaning of love through the lens of the Apostle John’s epistle.
We looked at how there are different words to express love (which is not a feeling.)
Yesterday we looked deeper into how love is not a feeling, but a choice of the will.
Yesterday we explored the difficult concept of loving our enemies.
Today we look at how love fulfills the Law. First, the scriptures.
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38This is the great and first commandment. 39And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:36-40)
Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. (Romans 13:8)
As we have looked at previously, love is a distinguishing characteristic of the Christian. It marks him or her out from the world. Yet we go even further, that the kind of love Jesus expects of us to display is a law-fulfilling love. The two commandments are to love Him, and love people.
But how can God command us to feel something, one might ask. We can’t command feelings, can we? Again, as we have looked at previously, love isn’t a feeling that comes on its own like the wind and blows away when it wants, leaving us either filled and romantic, or dry and loveless. We have the will to choose to love. We gain that will by adhering to the precepts of the Father, who said to love all, even one’s enemies. The will to love comes from the fountain of grace that indwells us, AKA the Holy Spirit.
Now, commandment one is to love the God with all our strength, soul, and mind. The second is to love your neighbor as yourself.
Love doesn’t harm a neighbor. Love protects a neighbor. Love doesn’t slander him, or murder him with ill thoughts, or take his wife. Love doesn’t harm a neighbor by harboring covetousness over his new car/riding lawnmower/pool. Love wants the best for people, always.
It is upon us to rely on the Spirit, ask the Spirit, pray for the Spirit to cultivate in us Godly desires that squeeze out even the desire for violence against our neighbor, violence even in the form of sinful thoughts, never mind sinful actions. The goal is to love one’s neighbor enough so that any desire for harm against him is not even present in our heart.
When we do that, when we love our neighbor as purely as possible, it cycles us back to the first Law, loving God with all our strength,mind, heart, and soul, because we are obeying Him.
Love fulfills the Law.
Now I need to get to work. It seems I have a lot of heart work to do… 🙂 Do you?
In this devotional, Alistair Begg wants us to Make Him Glad with our Love
Hugh Binning’s book Christian Love is recommended at Banner of Truth Trust, Monergism, Reformation Trust, and other sources. Here is the book blurb-
In this Treatise of Christian Love, the Scottish Covenanting minister Hugh Binning movingly presents the need for Christians to show by their love for one another that they belong to Christ. Basing his remarks on John 13:35, By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another, he argues, ‘This badge that Christ left to his disciples: if we cast this away on every disagreement, we disown our Master, and disclaim his token and badge.’
Binning describes the excellence of Christian love, demonstrating its nature from 1 Corinthians 13. He gives strong reasons why Christians should love one another, and shows that love is rooted in Christian humility and meekness, after the pattern of Christ himself.