SUBJ: Love seen as the fulfilling
the Law in that a proper attitude is shown as justified by the blood of
Christ and as the recipients of His unconditional love to us.
AIM: That we be more and more
engaged in the practice of loving others as ourselves with a view to the
great love wherewith He has loved us.
INTR: Through the Gospels and
Epistles love, as it is in Christ our Lord, is both evident and
prominent as a matter of great importance.
1. Thus, it is to be seen
as essential to a proper exercise of faith (in love to God and sensing
His love to us) and in the love of our neighbor after the example of
2. We do well to study the details as they appear in
scripture and to be careful that we never presume and pay lip-service
3. Paul here brings our attention to it in smooth transition
from the vv. 1-7 as going from a submission to God to enjoying the
Spirit of love in us.
There can be no credible claim to salvation where love does not dominate
the character of those claiming an interest in the blood of Christ.
I. Love as a debt (v. 8)
1. The opening statement in v. 8 has
been much debated and covers anything from strict legalism to
indifference. Some possible meanings have been suggested:
1) “You owe
no man anything.” This would be inconsistent with v. 7.
2) “Owe no
man anything” as a literal statement forbidding debt of any kind.
Several places in scripture speak of it in a positive way.
3) “Owe no
man anything; only do love one another.” This separates what is to be a
2. It seems best to see this as one thought: Do not
keep owing anything except to love one another – to love then is a debt
that is never paid. It is contrasted with things that are.
3. This is
important in that:
1) This may have been an issue with some
This is a beautiful description of love in operation without presumption
and debt without constraint.
3) It is individualized in the use of
“one another.” In v. 12:10 brotherly love is enjoined – here it is love
to all with whom we have to do.
4. By loving our neighbor, the Law is
fulfilled in practice – against such there is no law!
II. Love as
an enabler (v. 9)
1. To be sure of his intent, Paul cites specific
commandments from the ten. These are representative of that which
represent the opposite of love to our neighbor.
1) We see the role of
love in the whole Law being directed to both God and our neighbor and
love is the commandment is each case.
2) Those missing are covered
by a blanket statement here
2. We are always looking for the simple
catch-all solution to problems. These are not to be compared, but it is
briefly comprehended “loving thy neighbor as thyself.”
1) See: Thou
shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy
people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.
Leviticus 19:18 AND
2) And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt
love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the
law and the prophets. Matthew 22:39-40
3. From Hendriksen: “Every
negative commandment (thou shalt not) is at the bottom of a positive
4. “As thyself.” There is no charge here of being
self-centered, but there is a common-sense look to the care with which
we attend ourselves. In that we are actively engaged on care for self we
should love in spite of, and act in the same way toward others.
III. Love as a liberator (v. 10)
1. The verse begins with a
“litotes.” The thought that love does not work ill things is in fact
stating that love does the opposite – it seeks the benefit (even of
people we may not like).
2. Things that may have been obstacles in us
are cleared away and we are enabled to show love to those that our human
nature may oppose.
1) Love fulfills the Law
2) It frees from the
Law in moving us in ways that are not contrary to the Law
3) It is
rather embodied in us – written in our hearts and minds.
4) It moves
to forgiveness even as we are forgiven and causes us to seek the
salvation of others.
5) It is the Royal Law of Christ and it is the
ultimate expression of Christ in us!