The Essence of the Law. The principle here stated is beautifully worked out in 1Corinthians 13:4-7. Love, then, fulfills the covenant obligations that God has given his children, or as Paul and Jesus said it, “the Law.”. . And then he focuses specifically on our walking, that is, our living, as the way the fulfillment will happen: “that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who walk . Romans 8:4 does not say that the entire fulfillment of the law happens in us now. . [1] For a really good discussion of this, see Sandra Richter, The Epic of Eden (Downers Grove, IL: 2008). And the reason I don’t is that it won’t fit the wording of the text. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. There's nothing tricky in here. For this, ‘you shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not covet,’ and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”, Galatians 5:13–18: “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. Likewise, if the suzerain fulfilled his responsibilities outlined in the covenant, then he was showing hesed, or loving, the vassal. Christ does not cast off the Law … All of our resources exist to guide you toward everlasting joy in Jesus Christ. Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary 13:7-8). The question today is very practical and tremendously important. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law" (Romans 13:8-10) Love is an incredible thing. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. One last thing I draw your attention to, and you’ll see it in verse 10. This was to demonstrate his righteousness, because in the forbearance of God he passed over the sins previously committed.”, Romans 5:19: “For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.”. Love Is the Fulfillment of the Law - Towards an Understanding of Pauls Use of Torah for His Paraklesis: A Study on Romans 13:8-10. He is saying that love fulfills the law. We look to the Spirit of Christ for transformation so that love flows by power from within, not pressure from without. You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.”, 2 Corinthians 3:17–18: “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. We’re on a mission to change that. So my question is: How do we fulfill the requirement of the law? PDF. My imperfect love now and my perfect love later will always be the fruit of faith that looks to Jesus, my only perfection. Romans 10:4: “The goal of the law is Christ for righteousness to everyone who believes” (my translation). Most people in the world have no experience of lasting joy in their lives. In other words, the only law-keeping I depend on as the ground of my justification is Jesus’s law-keeping. Love Fulfills the Law … 9 The commandments “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and any other commandments, are summed up in this one decree: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to its neighbor. Love Is the Fulfillment of the Law (What’s that mean, anyway?) Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. Both Jesus and Paul are drawing on a common Old Testament way of understanding the concept of love that is rooted in the idea of covenants. Verse 8b: “For the one who loves another has fulfilled (peplëröken) the law.” First, in the narrow sense one may think of the law as commanding perfect obedience which, if we could perform it by faith, would be our righteousness and our justification. 8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The God who keeps watch over the nations, this God still speaks today. Galatians 5:1: “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore, keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. Today we will examine what it means that love is the fulfillment of the law. 1 Corinthians 9:21: “To those who are without law, [I became] as without law, though not being without the law of God but [in, not under] the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law.”, Galatians 6:2: “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.”. In both cases people who are not related to each other by blood become related to each other by law, and it is as if the people in the covenant together are related by blood. As we talk about the Law and how Jesus fulfills it’s crucial to understand how it relates to us as Christians today. Love Is the Fulfillment of the Law (What’s that mean, anyway? For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Gal. Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." There are two primary ways of being in a covenant with another person: through adoption and through marriage. And it is foundational for everything. Because Christ fulfilled the requirements of the law (Romans 5:5-8; 8:1-4), we are no longer under the external law of Moses. He is author of. Galatians 5:13-18 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. Galations 5:14: For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” In both places, the idea is the opposite of “getting rid of the law”—it really means to accomplish God’s goal, to obey his will in the best possible way. Galatians 3:21–25: “If a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law. Love, then, is not about an emotional disposition; it is about acting in a certain way toward others—a way that is consistent with the commandments laid out in the Law. The Bible teaches that the two commandments just mentioned, the two greatest, are the fulfillment of the law … . What Does It Mean to Fulfill the Law in Romans 8:3-4, John Piper is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. Second, in the broader sense of the whole Pentateuch or the whole Old Testament, we may think of the law not merely as making demands, but as also providing a way for sinners to be justified by faith apart from works, and to please him by walking in love (Genesis 15:6; Romans 4:3; Galatians 3:6). The question we have to answer if we want to understand and apply what Paul and Jesus are saying is, “What does it mean to love?” Paul gives a hint when he supplies examples of love: love is not doing harmful things to another person. The Law is valid under the New Covenant when used “lawfully” according to Paul in 1 Timothy 1:8, but it cannot be followed apart from Christ. Love is what initiated God's redemption plan for us. In the Old Testament book of Exodus, God established a covenant relationship with Israel. Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. The acceptability of my life to all eternity will always depend on the perfection of Jesus offered in my place. It is translated variously as “lovingkindness,” “mercy,” and “covenant faithfulness.” If the vassal obeyed the commands outlined in the covenant, then that vassal was showing hesed, or loving, the suzerain. Verse 4 says the aim is “that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us.” It does not say that the law is to be fulfilled for us. And you will magnify Christ in your life until he comes to complete the work he has begun. Firstly, there is the most fundamental of all laws, the Ten Commandments. But, because of our sin, the law does not impart life in this way (Galatians 3:21), but shuts us up to look away from law-keeping to Christ so that we might be justified by faith in him. Paul the apostle tells his readers in Romans that love is the fulfillment of the law. is a question that one cannot avoid if one reads the entire Bible thoroughly, because in the Bible we find not only different forms and degrees of the law, but also many differences in how the law is applied and understood. Lots of strange names, foreign rulers, and two books (originally one!) Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you. . . For love is the great healer, and you can be great healers when you have great love. ), Matthew 7:12: “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”, Matthew 22:37–40: “And he said to him, ‘you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. ), “In the Image of God He Made Them”: How Genesis 1:27 Challenges Sexual Abuse and Misogyny in the Church. Download. When Jesus was baptized, he went under the water for us — so that he might represent us, and so that we might be with him forever. James 1:25: “But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.”. But this standard of love is the life and power of a person who indwells us by his Spirit. What does Paul mean in verse 4 when he says that the aim of Christ’s death is “that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit”? Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. According to "the love chapter," agape "beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. We realize that the law is part of God’s word meant for our good. Fulfilling the law as per Matthew 5:17 does not mean to abolish. Romans 13:10, ESV: 'Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.' That is true, I would say, from Romans 5:19. Be on a treasure hunt to satisfy your soul more and more in him. What I would like to do is answer this question with a far-reaching summary of the relationship of the Christian to the Law in twelve theses so that we can clarify our overall position and then move ahead into Romans 8 without having to rebuild these things over and over. They express His way of life, which is a way of love. Where there is love, especially and really only God’s love, there will be, can be and is joy. But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe.”, Romans 5:19: “For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the one the many will be made righteous.”. Love Is the Fulfillment of the Law - Towards an Understanding of Pauls Use of Torah for His Paraklesis: A Study on Romans 13:8-10. .’ But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.”, Galatians 3:5: “So then, does he who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?”, Galatians 5:6: “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love.”, 1 Timothy 1:5: “But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”, Romans 7:15: “I do not understand my own actions. First, my imperfect love is, nevertheless, real God-dependent, Spirit-enabled, Christ-exalting love that is based on my justification and not a means to it. 5&6 these commandments are either obeyed out of the motivations of our hearts or they are not obeyed at all. Make it your aim in all your use of the Scriptures to see and savor more of Christ. Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13:8–10: “Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. The law of Christ is not a new list of behaviors without but a new Treasure and Master within. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. They have no healing properties. The law of liberty is the leading of the Spirit, and “where the Spirit is there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:17). Third, my imperfect love is the fruit of my faith in Jesus who is my justifying perfection before God. Since when does God’s holy law and divine standard say, “Pretty good will do”? Denying the image of God in all humans reduces people to things and creates a straight line to abuse, because at the root of abuse is the de-personing of a person. The Bible instructs believers to examine themselves, but does it tell us to what extent or how often we should question our salvation? Russ is an author, editor, teacher, lecturer in Old Testament and Hebrew at Ohio Theological Institute. And my imperfection is a pointer to his perfection, and that pointing is the aim of the law. If we don’t do everything we do with love, our actions have no meaning. Other early Christians got the message. James 2:10–12: “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. In him, we are perfect with his perfection and in him we are pardoned by his blood. The aim of the law will be fulfilled more and more in your life. The law gives instruction in the ways that one who loves will live. I review the book here. Galatians 5:13-18 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. He did give us a “new commandment” (“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another,” John 13:34). “To fulfill” is not to dissolve the authority and application of the old covenant revelation; rather, “to fulfill” means to fill up the Law’s intent and show the goal to which it leads. So if love is our motivation, we will be obeying and fulfilling God’s law. Love Is The Fulfillment of the Law November 5, 2016 John (HFJ Director) Leave a comment Many Christians understand the foundational principle that we are to love one another. Love, then, is not about an emotional disposition; it is about acting in a certain way toward others—a way that is consistent with the commandments laid out in the Law. In a word, hesed. Answer: Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. Love, then, is not about an emotional disposition; it is about acting in a certain way toward others—a way that is consistent with the commandments laid out in the Law. But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. In such a covenant, or treaty, a greater party (God, in this case) created a relationship with a lesser party (the people of Israel) that made them related to each other as if by blood, even though they had no relationship to each other before then. Instead, we pursue it by the “law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:2). . That’s the key term that described the relationship between the suzerain and the vassal. —The form of the Greek word implies not only that love helps a man to fulfil the law, but that in the fact of the presence of love in his heart the law is actually fulfilled. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.”. And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself. Question: "What does it mean that Jesus fulfilled the law, but did not abolish it?" But to the one who does not work, but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness.”, Romans 8:4: “So that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”, Galatians 5:22: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”, Galatians 5:13–16: “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. We don’t look alike and we share no DNA, but he will be forever my son and I his father. They have no joy. But the difference between the law and love is that love works from the inside and the law works from the outside. Benjamin Marx. This is the great and foremost commandment. Instead,  love is acting or not acting a certain way toward another person. (10) Fulfilling of the law. Romans 13:10, NIV: 'Love does no harm to a neighbor. Mine is imperfect. A Call to Fulfill the Law Through Love. that are not always in chronological order? First, when the fulfilling of the Law it is called the “law of liberty” it means that as Christians we pursue love in liberty from law-keeping as the ground of our justification or the power of our sanctification. The second is like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. But I don’t think that is the point of verse 4. Pastor Andy Stanley recently published an article in Christianity Today called “ Jesus Ended the Old Covenant Once and for All ” which is based on the idea that to “fulfill the Law” means “to bring it to an end.” 1 An honest reader can’t avoid noticing that this interpretation seems strained. . 17“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. In the end, the law is fulfilled in me imperfectly because it was fulfilled in him perfectly. How does all of this talk of suzerains and adoptions and covenants help us understand what Paul and Jesus mean when they talk about love fulfilling the law (whether love for God or love for others)? It is self-sacrificing, deliberate, active love. But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.”, Philippians 3:12: “Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.”. 2 Corinthians 5:21: “He made him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.”, Romans 3:20–22: “By the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in his sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin. Second, when the fulfilling of the Law is called “the law of Christ,” it means that our pursuit of love is guided and enabled by the life, word, and Spirit of Jesus Christ. These covenants include things like a statement of who the suzerain was, the responsibilities of the vassal (i.e., commandments), and blessings and curses for obedience or disobedience.[1]. 5:14) If Paul is using first idiomatic sense of “fulfill the Torah” (discussed in part 1), he is saying that love is the supreme interpretation of the Torah–the ultimate summation of everything that God has taught in the Scriptures. . and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect.”. The Day Is Near 11 And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. Romans 13:10, KJV: 'Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.' For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction.”, Romans 3:28: “We maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.”, Romans 4:4–5: “Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”. If you have your Bibles I'd invite you to turn with me to Romans chapter 13. And so I will never have a whole life of perfection to offer God — not to all eternity. We are working our way through a marvelous section of the book of Romans in which Paul spells out the Christian way of life. His was perfect. God’s laws show us how to love Him and how to love others. If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.” (Compare Romans 7:4, 6. And specifically, how can any of my “walking” by the Spirit — which is always imperfect in this life — be said to fulfill God’s law which is holy and just and good. "What is the law?" . (Romans 13:8-10) According to Matt. Romans 8:3: “For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh. They have no promise. In this way the Spirit of Christ will be at work to transform you into his image. So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. Therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.” Love is indeed the fulfilling of the law. This love is not based on emotions, but an act of the will. For example, when my foster son becomes my adopted son, he will have the exact same inheritance rights as his brothers, and I will be fully responsible for him in the exact same way as I am responsible for my biological sons. Charity never faileth" (1 Cor. Let every passage tell you something of his Father and his Spirit and thus himself. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matt 40:37–40 NIV). Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.' Romans 8:30: “These whom he predestined, he also called; and these whom he called, he also justified; and these whom he justified, he also glorified. (Scholars call this fictive kinship.) But that’s not the point here. Second, my imperfect love is the first fruits of a final perfection that Christ will complete in me at his appearing. And therefore it is the new direction that the law was aiming at and what the new covenant promised. Very simple, really. First, when the fulfilling of the Law it is called the “law of liberty” it means that as Christians we pursue love in liberty from law-keeping as the ground of our justification or the power of our sanctification. This timeline may help sort through the Persian rulers, Jewish leaders, and events in…. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. In the modern West we are accustomed to contracts, not covenants. Love, which is in a believer’s heart, by faith, fulfills God’s law. Love in this context has nothing to do with an emotional response toward another person, such as being love or simply really liking someone. Three times in this text Paul says, more or less, that loving your neighbor as you love yourself fulfills the law. Philippians 3:8–9: “More than that, I count all things to be loss . 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