November 27, 2020

Love Is The Fulfilling of All The Laws of God

A letter to his daughter:
"You have been instructed from your childhood in the knowledge of your lost state by nature - the absolute necessity of a change of heart and an entire renovation of soul to the image of Jesus Christ - of salvation through His meritorious righteousness only - and the indispensable necessity of personal holiness without which no man shall see the LORD [Hebrews 12:14]. You are well acquainted that the most perfect and consummate doctrinal knowledge is of no avail without it operates on and sincerely affects the heart, changes the practice, and totally influences the will - and that without the almighty power of the Spirit of God enlightening your mind, subduing your will, and continually drawing you to Himself, you can do nothing. . . . And may the God of your parents (for many generations past) seal instruction to your soul and lead you to Himself through the blood of His too greatly despised Son, Who notwithstanding, is still reclaiming the world to God through that blood, not imputing to them their sins. To Him be glory forever!"[1]
Daily Reading : ROMANS 11 - 12
TEXT : Romans  13:7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.  13:8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.  13:9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  13:10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
Romans 11 
God has not universally nor finally rejected Israel; nor are they all at present rejecters of the Gospel, for there is a remnant of true believers now, as there was in the days of the Prophet Elijah, Rom_11:1-5. These have embraced the Gospel, and are saved by grace, and not by the works of the law, Rom_11:6. The body of the Israelites, having rejected this, are blinded, according to the prophetic declaration of David, Rom_11:7-10. But they have not stumbled, so as to be finally rejected; but through their fall, salvation is come to the Gentiles, Rom_11:11-14. There is hope of their restoration, and that the nation shall yet become a holy people, Rom_11:15, Rom_11:16. The converted Gentiles must not exult over the fallen Jews; the latter having fallen by unbelief, the former stand by faith, Rom_11:17-20. The Jews, the natural branches, were broken off from the true olive, and the Gentiles having been grafted in, in their place, must walk uprightly, else they also shall be cut off, Rom_11:21, Rom_11:22. The Jews, if they abide not in unbelief, shall be again grafted in; and when the fullness of the Gentiles is come in, the great Deliverer shall turn away unGodliness from Jacob, according to the covenant of God, Rom_11:23-27. For the sake of their forefathers God loves them, and will again call them, and communicate His gifts to them, Rom_11:28, Rom_11:29. The Gospel shall he again sent to them, as it has now been sent to the Gentiles, Rom_11:30-32. This procedure is according to the immensity of the wisdom, knowledge, and unsearchable judgments of God, who is the Creator, Preserver, and Governor of all things, and to whom all adoration is due, Rom_11:33-36.
This chapter is of the prophetic kind. It was by the spirit of prophecy that the apostle foresaw the rejection of the Jews, which he supposes in the two preceding chapters; for when he wrote the epistle they were not in fact, rejected, seeing their polity and Church were then standing. But the event has proved that he was a true prophet; for we know that in about ten or eleven years after the writing of this letter the temple was destroyed, the Jewish polity overthrown, and the Jews expelled out of the promised land, which they have never been able to recover to the present day.
1. confirms the arguments which the apostle had advanced to establish the calling of the Gentiles. For the Jews are, in fact, rejected; consequently, our calling is, in fact, not invalidated by any thing they suggested, relative to the perpetuity of the Mosaic dispensation. But that dispensation being wholly subverted, our title to the privileges of God's Church and people stands clear and strong; the Jewish constitution only could furnish objections against our claim; and the event has silenced every objection from that quarter.
2. The actual rejection of the Jews proves Paul to be a true apostle of Jesus Christ, and that he spoke by the Spirit of God; otherwise, he could not have argued so fully upon a case which was yet to come, and of which there was no appearance in the state of things when he wrote this epistle. And this very circumstance should induce us to pay great attention to this chapter, in which he discourses concerning the extent and duration of the rejection of his countrymen, to prevent their being insulted and despised by the Gentile Christians.
(1) As to the extent of this rejection, it is not absolutely universal; some of the Jews have embraced the Gospel, and are incorporated into the Christian Church with the believing Gentiles. Upon the case of these believing Jews he comments, Rom_11:1-7.
(2) As to the duration of it, it is not final and perpetual, for all Israel, or the nation of the Jews, which is now blinded, shall one day be saved or brought again into the kingdom or covenant of God. Upon the state of these blinded Jews he comments, Rom_11:7 to the end of the chapter. His design, in discoursing upon this subject, was not only to make the thing itself known, but partly to engage the attention of the unbelieving Jew; to conciliate his favor, and, if possible, to induce him to come into the Gospel scheme; and partly to dispose the Gentile Christians not to treat the Jews with contempt; (considering that they derived all their present blessings from the patriarchs, the ancestors of the Jewish nation, and were engrafted into the good olive tree, whence the Jews had been broken); and to admonish them to take warning by the fall of the Jews; to make a good improvement of their religious privileges, lest, through unbelief, any of them should relapse into heathenism, or perish finally at the last day.
The thread of his discourse leads him into a general survey and comparison of the several dispensations of God towards the Gentiles and Jews; and he concludes this survey with adoration of the depths of the Divine knowledge and wisdom exercised in the various constitutions erected in the world, Rom_11:30-36.  (Adam Clarke)[2]
Romans 12 
Such displays of God's mercy as Jews and Gentiles have received should induce them to consecrate themselves to Him; and not be conformed to the world, Rom_12:1, Rom_12:2. Christians are exhorted to think meanly of themselves, Rom_12:3. And each to behave himself properly in the office which he has received from God, Rom_12:4-8; Various important moral duties recommended, Rom_12:9-18. We must not avenge ourselves, but overcome evil with good, Rom_12:19-21.
The apostle having now finished the doctrinal part of this epistle, proceeds to the practical; and here it may be necessary to take a view of his arguments in the preceding chapters.
The election, calling, and justification of the believing Gentiles, and their being admitted into the kingdom and covenant of God, and having an interest in all the privileges and honors of his children.
(1.) That they have a clear and substantial title to all these he has proved in Romans 1, 2, and 3.
(2.) That this right is set on the same footing with Abraham's title to the blessings of the covenant he proves Romans 6.
(3.) That it gives us a title to privileges and blessings, as great as any the Jews could glory in, by virtue of that covenant, Rom_5:1-12.
(4.) He goes still higher, and shows that our being interested in the gift and grace of God in Christ Jesus is perfectly agreeable to the grace which he has bestowed upon all mankind, in delivering them from that death of the body brought on them by Adams' transgression, Rom_5:12-21.
(5.) He fully explains, both with regard to the Gentiles and Jews, the nature of the Gospel constitution in relation to its obligations to holiness, and the advantages it gives for encouragement, obedience, and support, under the severest trials and persecutions, Romans 6, 7, 8.
(6.) As to the pretences of the Jews, that "God was bound by express promise to continue them as his only people for ever, and that this was directly inconsistent with the election and calling of the Gentiles, on the condition of faith alone;" he demonstrates that the rejection of the Jews is consistent with the truth of God's word, and with his righteousness: he shows the true cause and reason of their rejection, and concludes with an admirable discourse upon the extent and duration of it; which he closes with adoration of the Divine wisdom in its various dispensations, Romans 9, 10, 11. Thus, having cleared this important subject with surprising judgment, and the nicest art and skill in writing, he now proceeds, after his usual manner in his epistles and the apostolic method of preaching, to inculcate various Christian duties, and to exhort to that temper of mind and conduct of life which are suitable to the profession of the Gospel, and the enjoyment of its privileges. - Dr. Taylor.  (Adam Clarke)[3]
Romans 13 
INTRODUCTION TO ROMANS 13 The principal things contained in this chapter, enjoined the saints, are the duties of subjection to magistrates, love to one another, and to all men, and temperance and chastity in themselves: it begins with duties relating to the civil magistrates, requiring obedience of everyone unto them, Rom_13:1, and that for these reasons, because the civil magistracy, or government, is by divine appointment; wherefore to obey them in things of a civil nature, is to obey God; and to resist them is to resist God; and also because of the pernicious consequence of such resistance, damnation to themselves, Rom_13:2, for the magistrate not only causes terror by penal laws, but he inflicts punishment on delinquents, and is the executioner of God's wrath and vengeance on such, Rom_13:3, and likewise because of the profit and advantage to obedient subjects; such not only have the good will and esteem of their rulers, and are commended by them, but are defended and protected in their persons and properties, Rom_13:3, moreover, the apostle enforces the necessity of subjection to them, not only in order to avoid punishment, but to answer a good conscience; this duty being according to the light of nature, and the dictates of a natural conscience; which if awake, must be uneasy with a contrary behaviour, Rom_13:5, and for the same reason he urges the payment of tribute to them, as well as on account of the reasonableness of it, taken from magistrates spending their time, and using their talents, in an attendance on the service of the public, Rom_13:6, and which is further confirmed by the general rule of justice and equity, or of doing that which is just and right to everyone, of which particulars are given, Rom_13:7, and then after a general exhortation to pay all sorts of debts owing to superiors, inferiors, or equals, the apostle passes to the debt of love owing to one another, and to all mankind; which is exhorted to on this consideration, that the performance of it is a fulfilling the law, Rom_13:8, which is proved, by showing that the several precepts of the law, of which an enumeration is given, are reducible to, and are included in love to our neighbours as ourselves, Rom_13:9, and since it is the nature of love not to work ill, but to do good to the neighbour, the conclusion follows, that it must be as asserted, that love is the fulfilment of the law, and ought by all means to be attended to, as a principal duty of religion, Rom_13:10, next the apostle proceeds to exhort the saints to a watchful, chaste, sober, and temperate course of life; as being perfectly agreeable to the privileges they enjoyed, to the present condition they were in, and to that future state of happiness they were in expectation of: he exhorts to be watchful and sober, and not indulge sleep and slothfulness, in consideration of the time in which they were, and with which they were acquainted, it being not night, but day; at least the one was wearing off, and the other coming on; the time of life being short, and the day of salvation approaching nearer and nearer, Rom_13:11, wherefore such actions should be done, as are agreeable to the day, and not the night, to light, and not darkness; and particularly such works of darkness are dissuaded from, which are contrary to temperance and sobriety, as rioting, and drunkenness; and to chastity, as chambering: and wantonness; and to peace and concord, as strife and envying, which frequently follow upon the former: and the chapter is concluded with an exhortation to faith in Christ, and an imitation of him, expressed in a figurative way by a metaphor, taken from the putting on of garments; and with a dehortation from an immoderate provision for the flesh, so as to promote, excite, and cherish, the lusts of it, Rom_13:13.  (John Gill)[4]
It might escape the attention of some students of the Bible that the Bible is actually a simple Book.  Not everything is easy to understand, but most of it is straightforward and uncomplicated when it comes to principles, commands, or instructions.  This is particularly true in the case of our text above from Romans chapter 13.  In Romans chapter 13:8 - 10, the entire essence of the Bible is encapsulated in one verse.  That verse is Romans 13:10 - "love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law." In this one statement, God through the Apostle Paul, sums up the purpose, objective, and principle of this life and the next.
You know, in 1st Corinthians chapter 13, the entire chapter is dedicated to the subject of love (charity).  In that chapter, you are told that prophecies, tongues, and other aspects of the Holy Scriptures will one day disappear.  However, love endures forever.  Therefore, love is not only the fulfilling of all the laws of God as you see in Romans 13:10, but it also exists for eternity.  The reason is, the nature of God who himself is eternal, is love.
For this reason, all that the Bible commands and prophesies is found in one word "love." When you read Romans 10:9 you read a list of the 10 commandments.  In the book of Exodus chapter 20, the complete list is found.
Exo 20:1  And God spake all these words, saying, Exo 20:2  I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Exo 20:3  Thou shalt have no other Gods before me. Exo 20:4  Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Exo 20:5  Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; Exo 20:6  And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. Exo 20:7  Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. Exo 20:8  Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Exo 20:9  Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: Exo 20:10  But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: Exo 20:11  For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. Exo 20:12  Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. Exo 20:13  Thou shalt not kill. Exo 20:14  Thou shalt not commit adultery. Exo 20:15  Thou shalt not steal. Exo 20:16  Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. Exo 20:17  Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.
Keep in mind the penalty for breaking any one of these commands was death.  For some, when they read the Bible, they find this punishment issued by God to be too severe.  Some even reject the inspiration of the Bible because of the severity of the punishment for breaking God's laws. That is, they object to God's punishment of sin [the opposite if love] which is death.
However, if you reflect on Romans 13:10 as well as 1st Corinthians 13 and other relatives Scriptures, you will understand that to break God's commands is to violate the purpose of life.  Hence, when a person violates life itself, particularly as found in other people (notice that the first four commands of the 10 commandments are toward God, and the next six are toward man), they not only steal life from another individual (as in the case of murder), but they also go against why they were created in the first place.  In essence, a human being who does not live in love will, by nature, violate the primary purpose of life, and therefore, lose the function for which they were created.  Furthermore, once a created being loses its purpose, there is no other alternative for that creation, but to be disposed of as you see in the case of the law.  In other words, death - that is, final and eternal death, is the only logical alternative because the purpose of the created being is [forever] lost.
For this reason, both Old and New Testaments in the Bible, speak of the death of man.  In particular, the New Testament addresses the truth or fact of a "final death," that is called in the Book of the Revelation - "the second death." Once again, the reason for this type of extermination is that the created being - in this case Man, no longer has any function in accord with God's design.  At first, this may seem harsh to the indiscriminate, unreflective mind. However, for the reflective mind it is a reasonable, though obviously not an entirely desirable thought. It is not something you want to think about without repentance and remorse before God in the hope and certainty of his great mercy.
Yet, since God is the author of the Holy Scriptures, and obviously, of the entire universe and all that is in it, he has the sovereign prerogative and right to do as he sees fit.  However, as mentioned, when you understand the purpose of life is to love, you can see God's motive cannot be hatred, vindictiveness, or any other emotion or feeling that in itself is contradictory to the nature of God.  In other words, God always does everything in accord with his own nature.  Therefore, the eternal death of an individual who is not in line with God's nature or created purpose is due, not only because they no longer serve that Divine purpose in the universe and the coming kingdom of Christ, but is in actuality in opposition to it, an enemy. For this, they deserve death.  This is New Testament theology.  "The wages of sin is death."
Sin, by definition, is the transgression [violation] of God's law.  This means, therefore, love is the fulfilling of God's law.  This is what we read in Romans 13:10 - "therefore love is the fulfilling of the law." This means, that love is the fulfilling of the purpose for which God created Man. Jesus said, that the two great commandments of the Bible are -to love God with all the heart, soul, and strength, and to love your neighbor the way you love yourself.  This is the design and desire of the Creator.  In short, it is to love.  When you love, you take on the nature of God.  That is, love is the perfection of a human life.  It is the perfection of the one who claims they are a follower of Christ, or, simply - a Christian.
In Romans, 13:8 you are instructed not to owe anyone anything.  However, as a Christian who has been forgiven of every sin you ever committed or ever will commit, it is a moral debt to love as well.  Put another way, love is an obligation due to what you owe the LORD for saving you.  Therefore, when you put the two truths together you have love as both a debt, and also the fulfilling of God's purpose for creating you.  To love sums up everything the Bible speaks of and everything God has in mind for the future. 
From the beginning of Jesus' ministry, you see the love of God into action.  It does not need explanation that Jesus loves people - he is concerned about their problems, their sicknesses, their burdens, etc. and so forth.  His nature - love, is evident as you read of his works and his words.  You can sum up Jesus' life from the cradle to the cross in one word - love.  Jesus is the Son of God.  He tells you when you see him you have seen the Father, or God.  Further, when you see Jesus, you see empathy, compassion, sympathy, and every other action and thought equal to love.
Therefore, you must love.  You must love God with all the heart, soul, and strength.  Then, you must love the brethren.  If you do this, you have fulfilled the law of God, and the purpose for which God created you.

  • [1] Elias Boudinot, The Age of Revelation (Philadelphia: Asbury Dickins, 1801), pp. xii-xiv, from the prefatory remarks to his daughter, Susan, on October 30, 1782; see also Letters of the Delegates to Congress: 1774-1789, Paul H. Smith, editor (Washington, D. C.: Library of Congress, 1992), Vol. XIX, p. 325, from a letter of Elias Boudinot to his daughter, Susan Boudinot, on October 30, 1782; see also, Elias Boudinot, The Life Public Services, Addresses, and Letters of Elias Boudinot (Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin, and Company, 1896), Vol. I, p. 260-262.
  • [2] Adam Clarke LL.D., F.S.A. Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible. Public Domain, 1715 - 1832.
  • [3] Ibid
  • [4] Gill, Dr. John. John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible. Public Domain, 1690 - 1771.
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