Summary: Love your neighbor
February 6, 2011
We’re studying through the book of Romans and we’ve seen the measure of God’s grace towards us. We deserved nothing but punishment. We didn’t seek Him, we didn’t love Him, we didn’t understand Him, but He loved us and called us to salvation.
The question we’re looking at now (since chapter 12) is how we should be changed because of it. We couldn’t offer a pleasing sacrifice to God with our flesh because all our flesh was corrupt. But now we’re in Christ, and Christ pleases God, so we offer ourselves as living sacrifices, not for atonement but because of it!
Practically this means that we’re not conformed to the world—we’re different than them; we’re transformed by the renewing of our minds: we love our enemies, submit to our government in every way, and now we come to this next part: We,
Owe no man any thing, but to love one another:
The point isn’t to say that we should never have any debt—money isn’t the context of the passage. The point is that love is the only debt that’s never paid off and it’s the debt that’s owed to every man.
As Christians our lives ought to be marked by love. But have you ever wondered why? Look what he says:
for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
In other words, if we love each other, then we’ll be doing what the Law says to do. And then he gives us some of the commands:
9For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery,
Adultery is when you use someone else’s body for your own gratification—that’s not love; it’s selfishness.
Thou shalt not kill,
The meaning is that we shall not murder because murder is hatred; it’s the opposite of love. In fact we read in First John that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him (I Jn. 3:15).
Thou shalt not steal,
If you take something that belongs to someone else then you’re depriving him of something he owns. Love doesn’t take—love gives.
Thou shalt not bear false witness,
What did he tell the Corinthian church? Love rejoices in the truth. It’s significant that Satan is called the father of lies. If you love then you’ll tell the truth, and so fulfill the law.
Thou shalt not covet;
To covet is to want something someone else has. But Scripture tells us to rejoice with those who rejoice. If we really love, then we’ll be happy for each other and not envious. If I see that you’ve got a new car or a nice house or a beautiful wife, I don’t want to take what you’ve got. I’m happy for you, and that’s enough.
Basically the commands come down to say that we love each other in thought, word, and deed. We don’t commit adultery or kill or steal or lie or covet, and therefore we automatically fulfill the law.
But notice that he doesn’t say that we obey the law in order to love—rather we love which automatically obeys the law.
Think of it this way: if I said, “I don’t want to get a ticket, therefore I will not speed,” then what’s my motivation? I’m following the law but only because I don’t want a ticket.
But what if I said, “Because I want to be a law-abiding citizen and because I love the law, I’m going to go the speed limit.”? Do you see the difference? One obeys because of personal benefit but the other obeys because of love.
One might change based on the situation, but the other stays the same because of principle.
We don’t keep the commandments in order to love others—we love, so we automatically keep the commandments. It just makes sense that I won’t lust after my neighbor’s wife or want to steal his money if I love him.
and if there be any other commandment,
In other words, if there’s anything else that tells you how to properly treat your fellow man,
it is briefly comprehended
Now this is an interesting phrase. The Greek word is only used one other time in Scripture (Ephesians 4:10): In the dispensation of the fulness of times he [will] gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him.
There is no separation between us and Christ—we’re all one in Him and we’re one with Him. You might say that everything is rolled up together as one. Paul says, “Here’s some commandments to show how to treat each other, and if there’s any others, they’re summarized (or rolled into one):
in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
How are we supposed to love others?
Is it enough to smile and shake hands? Is it enough to not hope for bad things to happen to them?