As we continue through Paul’s letter to the Romans, he now talks about the debt we owe to one another.
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Paul makes it clear that we shouldn’t be in debt. However, there is a debt that will always remain in our lives. That’s the love debt that we owe to each other.
He goes as far as to say that this love actually fulfills the requirements of God’s law. This goes right along with what Jesus taught in His ministry. At one point the Lord was asked which of the commandments was the most important. Listen to His answer.
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
These are the two debts that we will always be living under. Our debt to love God and our debt to love others.
In both verses, we’re told to love others as we love ourselves. That’s an important concept. There are many people who haven’t learned to love themselves, so they find it hard to love others.
This principle of love is hard for many people to grasp. They don’t realize that this love has nothing to do with our emotions. It’s a choice we make to participate positively in someone’s life.
That includes myself. If I’m not making choices to make my life and relationships better, then I don’t really love myself. Many of us live very self-destructive lifestyles. This lack of self-love spills over into our treatment of others.
Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
I would even say that those who treat others badly, are showing that they actually hate themselves. That’s why we need to understand how God sees us, and take up that same attitude. Even with all of my frailties and imperfections, I’m exactly who God says I am.
Having that attitude helps me to treat others with love and respect. This last verse tells us that love does no evil to his /her neighbor. You can’t say “I love them,” and then treat them badly.
That’s why love fulfills the law. Love for God, self, and others gives me the ability to fulfill God’s will for my life.
But there’s a deeper reason why we must love. The Lord told this to His disciples just before He went to the cross.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Jesus makes it clear that our love is a part of our witness to the world. When we walk in the love of Christ, those around us see something they don’t understand. It opens the door to hearing our testimony.
Walk in God’s love, and fulfill your destiny in Christ.
Question: How have you showed the love of God recently?
© 2021 Nick Zaccardi