Reading through Romans
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory. You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.
A reading from Romans: Romans 13:8-10 (NLT)
Owe nothing to anyone — except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law. For the commandments say, “You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet.” These — and other such commandments — are summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law.
Reflection: Romans 13:8-10 (John Stott, The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World)
The will of God for changed relationships: (Romans 12:1–15:13)
All believers, irrespective of their ethnic origin, are brothers and sisters in the one international family of God, and so all have precisely the same vocation to be the holy, committed, humble, loving and conscientious people of God.
(Romans 13:8-10) Our relationship to the law: neighbor-love as its fulfillment
1. Love is an unpaid debt
There is one debt which will always remain outstanding, because we can never pay it, and that is our duty to love. We can never stop loving somebody and say, ‘I have loved enough.’ … we must love our neighbor, as Scripture commands, even though we will always fall short of the love required of us; ‘that perpetual debt of love’(JBP) will remain.
2. Love is the fulfillment of the law
Law and love are often thought to be incompatible. And there are significant differences between them, law being often negative (‘you shall not’) and love positive, law relating to particular sins and love being a comprehensive principle…. Love cannot manage on its own without an objective moral standard. That is why Paul wrote not that ‘love is the end of law’ but that ‘love is the fulfillment of the law’. For love and law need each other. Love needs law for its direction, while law needs love for its inspiration.
3. Love does no harm to its neighbor
Why does love sum up all the commandments? Because love does no harm to its neighbor (10a). Certainly the last five sins forbidden in the Ten Commandments harm people. Murder robs them of their life, adultery of their home and honor, theft of their property, and false witness of their good name, while covetousness robs society of the ideals of simplicity and contentment. All these do harm to the neighbor, whereas it is the essence of love to seek and to serve our neighbor’s highest good.
If then we truly love our neighbors, we will seek their good, not their harm, and we will thereby fulfill the law, even though we will never completely discharge our debt.
“Love One Another”
Christ, as a light illumine and guide me. Christ, as a shield overshadow me. Christ under me; Christ over me; Christ beside me on my left and my right. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Be in the heart of each to whom I speak; in the mouth of each who speaks unto me. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Christ as a light; Christ as a shield; Christ beside me on my left and my right.
May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen