Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Love is the fulfillment of the law

I don't claim to be the world's greatest lover of people and of God, but I do know that as I look back on my life I've grown a lot in love and grace and I have no reason to doubt that I'll continue to grow. I could tell of many experiences from my lifetime that have contributed to the growth process, but I want to focus on one thing in particular that I believe is the core, the root, the foundation of growth in love and grace. This core is the very reason why I know that I'll continue to grow. See, this core is not based upon my own performance or self-effort to get my act together and start loving God and loving people. This core is based upon Life that I can't produce on my own, so I simply sit back and rest in the Life that I've been given as a gift.

The only real way to love people and to love God is to have Jesus living in you. The love of God permeates our very being because God Himself, who is love, dwells in us. He is in us, we are in Him. But to back up just a bit, the only way to have Jesus Christ in you is to get the Law off your back! You have to die to the Law in order to become joined with Christ. There is no such thing as being married to Christ and the Law at the same time. It's impossible! The Apostle Paul makes a great case for this in Romans 7, and perhaps a great summary of Romans 7 would be Paul's words to the Galatians: "Through the law I died to the law that I might live to God."

In order to "live to God," one must die to the law. However, it seems that many Christians live as if they've still got a relationship going on with the Law. In reality, if they've truly received the life of Christ, they truly are dead to the Law... but perhaps they just don't know it and they don't reckon it to be true in their daily living. They don't count the fact as a real fact, and they continue living their Christian life with an adulterous affair with the Law going on, and perhaps they don't realize that all their problems in living the Christian life are flowing out of this affair! Because of today's preaching and teaching in the church that mixes law and grace, I think many people don't even realize that their relationship with the law is wrong.

But in order to truly love God and people, and to truly bear godly fruit, we must reckon ourselves as dead to the Law (count it as fact as live as if it's real - because it is real) and alive to God through our one and only marriage partner, Jesus.

The Law doesn't help us to love. You would think that if we followed after all the commandments, great love would result. But think about it, we could do everything the law says to do and still have no love!

But wait a minute, Joel. Paul said, "love is the fulfillment of the law." (Romans 13:10). Well, let's make sure we read that carefully. He didn't say "fulfill the law and love will result." Love is the prerequisite to fulfilling the law - not the other way around. Jesus, who is perfect love, fulfilled the law and He dwells in us. As we focus not on Law, but on Love (Jesus Himself), the righteous deeds of the law are fulfilled. Again, this is not done by following law, but through an abiding relationship with Jesus.

We have died to the law. We have no relationship with the law whatsoever! Love - the fulfillment of the Law, is not accomplished through a relationship with the Law. It's only accomplished through the Person, Jesus Christ, who is love, and who lives in us.


  1. I totally agree with this post Joel,I have found it so hard to give or receive love while living under law and grace,and so incredibaly frustrating.Freedom is the cry of my heart.

  2. Hi Joel;
    Interesting blogs you have. It seems you like me have a large and active interest in grace, I loved your article, and there are not enough messages such as this on the web. I have bookmarked your blog for future visits.

  3. Anne,

    As far as I know this is the first time you've commented here, so welcome to this blog and thanks for stopping by!

    "Frustrating" is a good word to describe a life of law mixed with grace. It looks so promising at first, perhaps like the tree of the knowledge of good and evil looked to Adam and Eve, but the payoff can never be the fruit that a life of pure grace bears. In fact, it's just the opposite. Like you, freedom is the cry of my heart. Thanks for sharing.


    I also welcome you to this blog! Thanks for taking the time to stop by and comment. I've also gone over and browsed your blog and I've also bookmarked it, as it looks very interesting.