The Commands of Yeshua ~ Part 29

In my last post, I thought that we had wrapped up this series on the Commands of Yeshua; however, just a couple of days after I finished writing that series, I ran across this teaching during my morning devotions. I thought it stated my position so well that I have reprinted it in its entirety.

Law and Love Indistinguishable [1]

“The whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” ~ Galatians 5:14

Some people maintain that the “law of love” has replaced even the moral commands of Jesus and that our only rule is to “love our neighbor as ourself.” They quote Paul: “The one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,’ and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Romans 13:8-10).

Some people understand Paul to say that the New Testament principle of love has replaced the Old Testament principle of law. Whereas the Jewish nation in the Old Testament lived under a number of specific moral laws, the church in the New Testament has “come of age” and now lives by the higher principle of love. Since love must be voluntary and cannot be compelled, so the thinking goes, love and law are mutually exclusive.

But if we realize the moral law is a transcript—a written reproduction—of the moral character of God and that “God is love” (1 John 4:8), we see that we cannot distinguish between law and love. Both express the character of God. They’re two sides of the same coin.

For example, Paul said in Romans 13:10, “Love does no wrong to its neighbor” (NIV). If we didn’t also have the commandments (which Paul quoted in verse 9) against such things as adultery, stealing, and murder, how would we know what it means to harm one’s neighbor?

Love provides the motive for obeying the commands of the Law, but the Law provides specific direction for exercising love.

In my next post, I really do want to explore the issue of humility. I think I’m going to call it ~ Humility: Confessions of a Self-Centered Man.

Click here for PDF version.

[1] Holiness Day by Day by Jerry Bridges. This has proven to be a great devotional book for me.

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