Love Obeys the Law
Romans 13:8-10 Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” [a]“You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
John 13:34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
A new commandment – This command he gave them as he was about to leave them, to be a badge of discipleship, by which they might be known as his friends and followers, and by which they might be distinguished from all others. It is called new, not because there was no command before which required people to love their fellow-man, for one great precept of the law was that they should love their neighbor as themselves
Leviticus 19:18You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.
It was new because it had never before been made that by which any class or body of people had been known and distinguished. The Jew was known by his external rites, by his uniqueness of dress, etc.; the philosopher by some other mark of distinction; the military man by another, etc. In none of these cases had love for each other been the distinguishing and special badge by which they were known. But in the case of Christians we are not to be known by distinctions of wealth, or learning, or fame; we are not to aspire to earthly honors; we are not to adopt any special style of dress or badge, but we are to be distinguished by tender and constant attachment to each other.
Paul says, the only debt that we owe is to love each other. And this debt to love never ends, it is until we die. It is a never ending mortgage payment. This love for our brethren is to surmount all distinction of country, of color, of rank, of office, or of any other thing. Here we are all on the same level, we have common wants, we are redeemed by the same sacred blood, and are headed to the same heaven. We are to befriend each other in trials; be careful of each other’s feelings and reputation; deny ourselves to promote each other’s welfare.
1 John 3:23 And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave [a]us commandment
1 Thessalonians 4:9 But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another
Galatians 6:2Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
In all these places the command of Jesus is repeated or referred to, and it shows that the first disciples considered this indeed as the special law of Christ. This command or law was new in regard to the extent to which this love was to be displayed; for he immediately adds, “As I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” His love for them was strong, continued, unremitting, and he was now about to show his love for them in death.
John 15:13; “greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
So in 1 John 3:16 it is said that “we ought also to lay down our lives for the brethren.”
This was a new expression of love; and it showed the strength of attachment which we ought to have for Christians, even greater than our attachment to our bio family; and how ready we should be to endure hardships, to encounter dangers, and to practice self-denial, to benefit those for whom the Son of God laid down his life
YET, there is an opposing force of this brotherly love.
Matthew 24:12And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.
Rather, of the many, or of “the majority.”
Lawlessness is rampant in the world and the US is slowly creeping into more and more unlawfulness. In Seattle, lawlessness abounds- criminals are praised and the righteous are punished. It feels like the wild Wild West up this way. However, in the above Scripture Jesus is referring to a specific time and a specific lawlessness: a lawlessness within His people. He says there’s a time that persecution will come to the church,
“And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved” Matthew 24:10-13.
This prophecy is being fulfilled before our very eyes: many false prophets have arisen from within the church, claiming to know Him and being called by His name; they are deceiving many within the church, lawlessness does abound; and the love (agape love, again only found within God’s people) of the MAJORITY (of God’s people) has grown cold and is growing colder.
What is lawlessness? Lawlessness is a customary disregard of laws. A lawless person has little respect for law and refuses to be restricted by it. A law-abiding person wants to obey the law, but sometimes falls short. Every driver, for example, exceeds the speed limit at times. A lawless person ignores the speed limit, it does not apply to him. Enter the antinomians.
The word antinomianism comes from two Greek words, anti, meaning “against”; and nomos, meaning “law.” Antinomianism means “against the law.” Theologically, antinomianism is the belief that there are no moral laws God expects Christians to obey. Antinomianism takes a biblical teaching to an unbiblical conclusion. The biblical teaching is that Christians are not required to observe the Old Testament Law as a means of salvation. When Jesus Christ died on the cross, He fulfilled the Old Testament Law. The unbiblical conclusion is that there is no moral law God expects Christians to obey.
Steve Furtick used a bad sermon analogy, saying ‘God broke the Law for love’. No sir. The law is governed by love.
Antinomians reject the very notion of obedience as legalistic. Like Furtick, antinomianism denigrates the Law itself. They trivialize of the Law in the context of the OT, seeing the covenant established under Moses as arbitrary and lifeless. This belief lessens the grace of the cross, foolishly believing that Christ overthrows the entirety of the Old Testament instead of keeping the Law for the sake of justice. The cross becomes a mere demonstration of love not atonement. Pushed to an extreme, this teaching has caused some to teach a modern form of Marcionism (the idea that the OT God is wrathful, but the NT God is grace). I have had multiple conversations with people about this, some even go to the extreme of saying that it was Satan who cause Noah’s flood because it is not in alignment with the love of God
Why does lawlessness cause love to grow cold?
Jesus said: “Because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold”, and indeed the love of many has grown cold. This is inevitable because lawlessness and agape love, the kind of love that only comes from God, are not compatible. Lawlessness is a form of self-indulgence, and true love is not self-indulgent. Love “does not seek its own” (1 Corinthians 13:5). Lawlessness reveals a lack of true love. When Jesus was asked,
“Which is the first commandment of all?” He replied, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” Matthew 22:37-40.
By rejecting God’s law, a lawless person also rejects the love on which God’s law is based.
Lawlessness reveals a lack of love for God.
“The LORD is our Lawgiver” (Isaiah 33:22) How can a lawless person (who scorns law) love the Lawgiver?
Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15) and “He who does not love Me does not keep My words” (v. 24)
John explained: “Whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him” (1 John 2:5). “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3.)
This is New Testament Scripture and standards. God has not done away with His commands and laws. Yes, certain laws relating to Israel and the sacrificial system were fulfilled in Christ. But we still have commands, “laws” if you will, from the Lord. Do not lie. Do not commit sexual immorality. Do not covet. Honor your mother and father. Forsake all for His sake. Obey your spiritual leaders. Need I go in? These laws are governed by love. God loves me so much, He does not want anyone to lie to me and deceive me.
2019 we rolled our mini van. Seat belts dramatically reduce risk of death and serious injury. Among drivers and front-seat passengers, seat belts reduce the risk of death by 45%, and cut the risk of serious injury by 50%. I made my kids wear a seatbelt because I love them, not because I am some mean, restricting tyrant.
God’s commandments are not burdensome for someone who loves God because he wants to please God and not do any harm to his brother. BUT, to a lawless person, God’s commandments are burdensome, because he does not truly love God, has no desire to please Him, and dislikes restrictions that conflict with his own desires.
Proverbs 28:4 Those who forsake the law praise the wicked, But such as keep the law contend with them.
Here we are today- a false definition of love in an apostate church. SO how do we hold true to God’s Word in a time when lawlessness abounds within His people?
John 4:23-24 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
This is not talking about a worship service in church- but those who will follow and worship the Lord must do it according to the Spirit and in truth. Ex: bible school
1 John 3:18 My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.
The love that God says we should have for one another is in deed- what we say and do; and in truth. We are all known by what we say and what we do. A lot of people, including christians have this part of love down- they are doers. If I said, “I love hotdogs”, then you would expect to see me eating hotdogs a majority of the time. But I do not love hotdogs, so you know I am lying. You never see me eating them. Love is not passive. It demands a true response.
But, it must be in accordance with the truth. It must be with a heart that cares and has been changed and it must be in righteousness. It must be pure, holy and true. It is not just what you DO but also what you SAY and how you speak.
Colossians 3:9-10 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him,
God loves you so much He does not want you to be deceived by other’s lies. Why do you lie when someone asks where you have been? Why do you get defensive? Why do you not answer when people call you to ask how are you doing? This is not love. There is no room for selfishness in the Body of Christ.
Ephesians 4:29-30 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary [a]edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
The word rendered “corrupt” (σαπρὸς sapros) is a strong word signifying bad, decayed, rotten, and is applied to putrid vegetable or animal substances. It is used in a moral sense, as our word “corrupt” is, to denote that which is depraved, evil, contaminating, and denotes here anything that is obscene, offensive, or that tends to corrupt others or spread rottenness to others. This same word is applied to those of a useless character:
Matthew 7:17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.
Corrupt communication is speech offensive to the hearers, or calculated to infect them with sin; and is in direct opposition to speech which is seasoned with salt, and is intended to preserve persons from corruption. The apostle does not merely include in this expression obscene discourse of every kind, but also all flattery, damaging remarks about one’s character, complaining, boasting, tale-bearing, backbiting, approval of sin, profane jokes on Christianity its ministers and professors, idle conversation; and, all other corrupt conversation that is not either necessary business, or is not good to the use of edifying — Meaning that our conversation is calculated to instruct, direct, reprove, encourage, excite to duty, comfort, or in some way edify and minister grace to the hearers.
Matthew Henry: “Filthy words proceed from corruption in the speaker, and they corrupt the minds and manners of those who hear them: Christians should beware of all such discourse. It is the duty of Christians to seek, by the blessing of God, to bring persons to think seriously, and to encourage and warn believers by their conversation. Be ye kind one to another. This sets forth the principle of love in the heart, and the outward expression of it, in a humble, courteous behavior. Mark how God’s forgiveness causes us to forgive. God forgives us, though we had no cause to sin against him. We must forgive, as he has forgiven us. All lying, and corrupt communications, that stir up evil desires and lusts, grieve the Spirit of God. Corrupt passions of bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, evil-speaking, and malice, grieve the Holy Spirit. Provoke not the holy, blessed Spirit of God to withdraw his presence and his gracious influences.”
If you continually forsake the gathering, your love may have grown cold. It is selfish. Remember, we sometimes break the law by speeding, but we are lawless when we say the speed limit does not apply to me. Those who continually say, “I can go to church when I want” are forsaking the gathering and have given themselves over to selfishness, their love growing cold
Hebrews 10:25-26 not forsaking the assembling (the gathering) of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,
The Greek word for gathering here is in reference to a public assembly, not your personal gathering with friends, despite what you believe or have been taught. Hanging out with Christian friends is not the gathering. The church is community. It is the fellowship of the brethren. It is IDENTIFIABLE- you can see it gathering. It is a witness of God’s people before a watching world.
Your gifts and talents are for the edification of the church. You need the church and we need you. WE are the church and only as we operate within the “we”. Jesus had the fullness of the Spirit, but we only have it in part. Yet, when we come together, our parts operate as a whole. This is God’s plan. We have to stop making excuses to forsake each other. Half-hearted devotion to the Body is not devotion. And you cannot claim to love God and spurn the brethren at the same time.
True love is shown in community with the brethren where we are forced to forgive and seek reconciliation when we hurt someone’s feelings. Love does no harm to his neighbor. We are to be known to the outside world how we love one another. But if we devour each other, lie to each other, cause problems and division, attack believers on social media for preaching the TRUTH because they are upholding the law of God (love is in our actions, words and in truth); then we have failed to keep the law of Christ and utterly fail at being His disciples.
Hebrews 6:9 But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner.
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