Love: Fulfillment of the Law

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Love: Fulfillment of the Law – 13 May 2006

Some Christians are concerned about “legalism,” a word used to describe the following of rules and rituals of a religious nature. They cite the Law of the Hebrew Bible (New Testament) as no longer being relevant, since the arrival of Jesus; but they fail to understand the concept of the Law and its fulfillment. They interpret the Apostle Paul’s statements as proof that Jesus abolished the Law.

We have to realize that the entire Hebrew Law was written as a result of the Fall. If Adam and Eve had, and we today, truly put God first in our lives and unconditionally love Him and the whole of His creation, there is no need for the Law; because perfect love fulfills every aspect that the Law was written to cover.

Indeed, being “legalistic” – performing rituals without spiritual understanding or heart change – does not result in salvation. Salvation is a change of heart that results in permanent positive spiritual transformation and growth. It entails true repentance of past sins and determination, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to “sin no more.” (John 8:10-11)

Concerning the Law, here are some Bible passages –

The Apostle Paul says (1 Corinthians 6:12):

12 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.

Perfect love does fulfill the Law, but because we are not perfect, it does not profit us to eliminate those aspects of the Law that are there to prevent us from sinning.

Unfortunately, the way Christianity is being practiced, it is taking something simple and making it complicated.

Concerning the Law of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), in Matthew 5:17-20, Jesus says:

17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill.

18 “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished.

19 “Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and so teaches others, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

20 “For I say to you, that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

In Matthew 22:34-40, Jesus explains that loving God and your neighbor fulfills the Law:

34 But when the Pharisees heard that He had put the Sadducees to silence, they gathered themselves together.

35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him,

36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”

37 And He said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’

38 “This is the great and foremost commandment.

39 “The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

40 “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

(Note: The scriptures quoted above are from the New American Standard Bible.)
 


"Joyful Curmudgeon"
An oxymoron?
No! I see all the beauty of God's creation and I'm joyful.  At the same time, I see all the suffering and corruption going on in the world, and feel called to help expose and end it so that we may have true peace and compassion.

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