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Pastor Brant Seacrist

November 11, 2018

"LAW AND THE LOVE OF CHRIST"

TEXT: ROMANS 13: 8-10
READING:  LEVITICUS 19: 1-18

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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 Christ.
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 only.
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.

THESIS: 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 single thought.
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
2) 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 command.”
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!