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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Law and Grace # 25

Objections, Questions and Problems (continued)

Love for one's neighbor was nothing new, for it was the second great commandment of the law of Moses. What was absolutely new was this obligation of loving others as Christ has loved us. This, then, is the "law of Christ"; not the Decalogue, not even the Sermon on the Mount, but the law of love according to a new and divine measure, namely, that we should love one another as Christ loved us.

We should also notice that the New Testament treats this law of love as the fulfillment of all other divine law dealing with human relationships. We are exhorted to "Owe no man any thing, but to love one another; for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. Love is the fulfilling of the law" (Romans 13:8, 10). Again the apostle exhorts us to "use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even is this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" (Galatians 5:13-14). That this is no reversion to a former legalism is clear from the context.For this life of love is to be realized as we "walk in the Spirit" (Galatians 5:16); and "if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law" (Galatians 5:18).

Nothing could be clearer than Paul's word on the good life in his first letter to Timothy: The Christian life is to be a life of "love"; and this love rises in its ultimate source out of "unfeigned faith." It is not something worked up in any mechanical fashion. Furthermore, the apostle writes, this "love" is actually "the end of the commandment." It comprehends everything of value in the realm of Christian ethics, and beyond it there is nothing.

We close the discussion of this point by calling attention to a rather curious and striking thing: While we are commanded to love one another, and this love is the fulfillment of the law, nowhere are we commanded to "fulfill the law"! The proper Christian formula is set forth in Romans 8:1-4:

a. We are told that there can be no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.

b. The reason for this exemption is found in our freedom from the law, which in fallen man could only stimulate sin and finally bring death.

~Alva J. McClain~

(continued with # 26 - continuing above listings)

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