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Fulfilling the Law

"Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law."

Romans 13:10 NRSV

In Romans 13, Paul talks of how we are to live our earthly lives as Christians. He begins by discussing the role of authorities and that no power exists except by God. As such, we are to obey our laws and pay taxes. Though not stated here, there are numerous examples in the Bible where God has allowed even unjust authorities to stand for a time for his purpose.

Civic authority is not the main point of this chapter, however. Paul uses it as a segue into the gospel of Christ. Above all laws is the commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves. If we truly love our neighbors, we fulfill the Torah and any written law. There is no need for individual criminal and civil laws, for this law summarizes them all. There is no need for lengthy fine-print documents written in legalese and judge and juries making judgments based on prior decisions. Loving our neighbors is the true law given us by God. While we must obey the laws of our lands, nothing supersedes God's law.

By loving our neighbors, we also obey Jesus' first commandment, to "love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind." (Matthew 22:37) You cannot love God and not love your neighbor, not love your neighbor and not love God. The two go hand in hand.

Mighty God, ruler of all things, we give our thanks and praise for your righteous law. Please help us observe your simple system of justice. Let the commandments to love you and our neighbors ultimately be thoroughly etched in our hearts. Amen.


Pastor Tim

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