World English Bible translation
13:8Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. 13:9 For the commandments, "You shall not commit adultery," "You shall not murder," "You shall not steal," "You shall not give false testimony," "You shall not covet," and whatever other commandments there are, are all summed up in this saying, namely, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." 13:10 Love doesn’t harm his neighbor. Love therefore is the fulfillment of the law.
Often Christian teachers are asked, "Aren't we suppose to live by the Ten Commandments?" Paul was asked this question often, if Today's Scripture is any indication. This entire epistle has concerned the relationship that believers have to the law and to God. In this section, Paul uses that backdrop to speak of our new obligations in Christ.
God gave the law and the commandments through Moses. No one would say, least of all Paul, that the law was too lenient. But, the law was prohibitive. "Thou shalt not…" The gospel of grace goes beyond the law. "Thou shalt…" Christ calls us to a more stringent life than the Ten Commandments. One could illustrate this point by saying that if the law states that we should not fail to walk less than a mile a day, the way of Christ asks us to allow Jesus to carry us as far as He can walk. The way of grace goes far beyond the law and the commandments.
The way of grace says, "Love your neighbor as yourself." Least anyone seek a loophole, let us remember who Jesus taught was our neighbor. Our neighbor is the foreigner and the enemy in need as well as those in our immediate circle. The neighbor is anyone who God places within our path.
Nor does the word "love" limit our responsibility. To love as Christ has taught us requires a complete giving of oneself. Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for another. How much should we love? Completely, totally, selflessly! There is no "enough" on God's measure of love. There is no place at which we may marginally satisfy the requirement.
When Paul declares that Christ is the end of the law, he does not mean that those in Christ can ignore the law or sweep it aside as irrelevant. But, if a child of God is gauging their service to God by how well they are keeping the Ten Commandments, they are absolutely using the wrong standard. Paul has already written in chapter 8 verse 4 that the ordinances of the law are already fully met in those that are in Christ. Our standard now is, "Do you love your neighbor as much as you love yourself or as much as you love anything else in your life?"
If Christ is living in us, our hearts will be full of concern for other people. Christ expended Himself at great cost for other people. He healed the sick and wept for those that mourned and eventually gave His own life in order to redeem others. That same Christ is in you, if indeed you are a child of God. Is His love for people any less today?
No, Christ calls us to be His hands and His heart and to reach out and touch people. We are to go beyond ourselves. We are to exceed what we are capable of achieving in our own strength. Christ asks us to use His power to affect change in ways that we are not capable of on our own. We are to love with His heart. We are to feel with His compassion. We are to exercise His mercy.
Are you ready to go beyond the law and Thou shalt not? Are you ready to go beyond your own limitations into the limitless strength and glory of God? Are you ready for Christ to live through you?
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