Romans 13:8-­10

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, November 2, 2015 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery,' 'You shall not murder,' 'You shall not steal,' 'You shall not covet,' and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” (Romans 13:8-10)

When you were growing up, did you have a list of rules you had to follow? Make your bed. Don’t talk back. Eat your vegetables. Don’t run with scissors. While all those rules would have been established for your own good, you probably found them difficult to follow at some point. Wouldn’t it have been easier if there were only one rule you had to follow?

Here, the apostle Paul goes back to the subject of love that he had previously discussed in Romans 12:9-21. He brings up some of the laws that the people of Israel were given way back in Exodus 20. That passage contains what we call the Ten Commandments, but the Israelites actually had more than 600 laws that God required them to follow! Can you imagine having to follow all of those? Fortunately, all of the rules that we’re required to follow can be summed up in just one rule: Love your neighbor as yourself. As Paul tells us in verse 10, “Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”

This passage helps those in the church in Rome who were Jews to link what they had grown up with to what was now going on. They would have know all those 600+ Old Testament laws, and lived by them for their entire lives if they were devout Jews. Now, however, Jesus has fulfilled the law through His love, so they only need to focus on loving their neighbors now! Sounds easy, right?

Not necessarily. Jesus Himself had shared this teaching, which you can read about in Matthew 22:34-40. We must love the Lord our God with everything that is in us and in every aspect of our lives, and we must love our neighbors as ourselves.

Love is not something you can just do once and you’re done. As Paul says in verse 8, it’s a debt that will never be fully repaid. We need to constantly live lives that show God’s love to ourselves and to one another. If we always show love to our neighbor and do no harm to then, we’ll automatically be following all of the other commandments that have been given.

We don’t need to memorize a list of rules, but only this one: love! Love God and love your neighbor; that’s all that really matters. How are you doing at that in your own life?

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