Love Fulfills The Law

4 February 2011

While preaching through the book of 1st Timothy, we came to this dynamic statement of the apostle Paul to Timothy: "Now the end of the commandment is charity…". Charity is the highest form of love and Paul‘s statement means that charity is the most important thing in our personal lives, as well as the Christian Church. It also means that genuine charity will fulfill every commandment and that is why it is so important. This is a magnificent statement. But what does it mean and how does it apply to our lives?

Apparently, there were those at Ephesus who were imposing some of the Jewish laws upon the church. Paul is telling Timothy to remind the church that charity is superior, far above the law.

PDF image

Love Fulfills the Law

Uploaded: Feb. 04 2011

>>Download

We should not be surprised at this because the church of the Lord Jesus Christ was founded on love. God loves His people with an everlasting love (Jer. 31:3). We can not go back far enough in time that we can find the beginning of God’s love for His people. Nowhere will you read where God started loving the elect. The Holy Father chose His people in love before the world began (Ephesians 1:4). It was love that brought Christ to the cross. As He said, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”(John 15:13). The ancient Christians were noted for their love for one another. Their enemies were heard to say, "My how those Christians love one another.” Love has been called the badge of genuine discipleship because Jesus said, "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” Do you see the emphasis of love in the New Testament Church? Far more emphases, I might add, than there is on the law.

Jesus always placed love far above the law. Why? Because He knew that those who loved would fulfill the law and be happy in the doing of it. Let’s examine this thought.

My first thought is, "How can this be?" Doesn‘t this place too much trust in man? If we place love above law, then we have no rules to go by; no barriers; no guidelines by which we may measure our steps. And we have nothing by which we may judge ourselves, and others. Yet, in this dynamic, we find our Lord soaring far above us, in regions which only pure spirits may ascend. I will give you some examples.

I have been blessed with a wonderful wife. We have been married over 30 years. On the wall in our bedroom, hangs a marriage certificate, a legal document stating the date, location, and officer of our ceremony. By law, it binds us together. If we love one another, we do not need this certificate, nor the law that stands behind it. Now, I am not suggesting that people just live together outside the bounds of marriage for this is sin. But I am illustrating how that love is greater than law. For if I love my wife, I will treat her better than the law demands. I will be faithful to her; I will provide for her; I will speak nice things to her; I will encourage her; I will, I will, I will ad infinitum. As a matter of fact, after I have done all that I can, I will still feel that I have fallen short of what she deserves.

In like manner, if I love my children, I do not need a law to warn me of the legal consequences of abusing them. I will nurture them, feed them, instruct them, love them, and provide for them. If I love my neighbor, and fellow man as I should, I do not need laws to warn me not to steal from them, murder them or harm them.

Consider how great this statement about love fulfilling the law really is. If everyone loved as they should, there would be no need for locks on our doors, vaults for our banks, security systems, policemen, or military. The courts would be empty! Do you see how that love is greater than law? It always gives more, gains more, and produces more. It is an invisible, yet powerful force, that brings joy to the heart by doing what is right because it pleases us to do so. In love, we always do more than any law will require because it is what we wanted to do in the first place. Charity is a maxim in the church by which we may measure our love for Jesus Christ. If we love Jesus Christ as we should, we will long to be in His house with His people. We do not need a law to tell us to "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all they work: But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God…” We know this to be true because we have seen it displayed in the hearts and lives of God’s people long before they discovered the Decalogue. We do not need a law to exact a tithe upon us. Have you ever wondered why the word "tithe” is not mentioned in the New Testament? It is because the Lord wants us to give out of love, not by a commandment of the law. If we love our Lord, and His church as we should, we do not need a law to command us to give. If we see what the law required, and if our hearts are right, we see a measure we should at least try to meet, if not more. As I have already mentioned, if we love our neighbors, and fellow man as we should, we do not need Exodus 20:13,14,15,16, 17. If we love our parents as we should, we do not need Exodus 20:12. If we love our God as we should, we do not need Exodus 20:3,4,7,8. But charity goes beyond even this. Shepherds do not need a law to tell them to love and feed their sheep, they do it because they love the Chief Shepherd, the Great Shepherd, and the flock. Churches do not need laws to instruct them on how to care for their shepherds because they love the Chief Shepherd as well, and the under shepherds. Love fulfills all of these and much, much more. It even reaches the forgiveness of others because our loving savior has forgiven us.

Finally, let us remember that Jesus looks upon the heart. He knows if we love Him, and how much we love Him. Yet, our hearts are on public display as well. For our lives are a public testimony of how much we really love God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. Love is always displayed by actions.

I close with a parallel text that sums up all that I have said. Paul wrote it to the church at Rome, teaching them the very same thing: "Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. 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. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” (Romans 13:8-10).

-NMP