Love is the fulfillment of the law.
And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13
He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.
Law & Love
In a world where feelings don’t care about the facts, and facts don’t care about your feelings, it is easy to see why law and love are considered enemies instead of friends. Laws are seen as rigid and restraining, while love has been made equivalent to little more than “whatever makes me feel good.” The unpardonable sin of our day is to hurt someone else’s feelings. Where children were once taught that, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words shall never hurt me,” today they are taught that, “silence is literally violence.” Where Jesus says, “deny thyself,” our world now says, “treat yo’ self.” Where Christ calls us to lose our life in order to find it, the world calls us to self-care, self-love, and therapy, as if we could find ourselves by looking inside ourselves and then define ourselves by what we find there. This inward turn of our therapeutic age reveals a deep sickness in our culture. We know something is wrong with the world, and we know something is wrong with us, but we never stop to think that maybe we are what is wrong with the world.
As Christians we know that sin is the universal illness that plagues us all. We also know that Jesus Christ is the only one who can heal us. But how does the church bring this antidote to the world? How do the leaves of the trees in the New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:2) heal the nations?
For The Healing of The Nations
In Psalm 1, there is a contrast between the blessed man and the ungodly. The blessed man delights in God’s law and meditates on it day and night, and because of this, he is “like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper” (Ps. 1:3). Jesus is the ultimate “blessed man” of Psalm 1. He is the true vine in whom faithful Christians abide (John 15). It is this connection to Jesus that causes us to bear the fruit of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such there is no law” (Gal. 5:22-23). Christians then are the trees of the New Jerusalem. We are how God heals the nations. But remember what causes us to bear fruit in the first place: delight and meditation upon the law of the LORD (Ps. 1:2). This is where law and love come together. As trees we are only as healthy as the soil we are planted in. God’s law is the soil, and love is that soil turned into fruit. Love is law glorified. Love is law made sweeter than the honeycomb (Ps. 19:10).
It is here that many Christians stumble because they think that so long as we are sweet, there’s no need for soil anymore. This form of rootless Christianity has often been called antinomian, that is to be against (anti-) law (nomos). The Apostle John uses similar language when he says, “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness (anomian), and sin is lawlessness (anomia)” (1 Jn. 3:4). Furthermore, John says, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (1 Jn. 5:3). For Christians who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, the law that once condemned and killed us has now been transformed by Jesus Christ. In Christ we “died to the law” (Gal. 2:19), “so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter” (Rom. 7:6). The Spirit then empowers us to keep God’s commands. He is the one who removes the heavy burden we felt when we were merely carnal and sold under sin. Since the law is spiritual (Rom. 7:14), it is only spiritual people who can keep it. This is why there are so many conflicting opinions over the role of God’s law in society. To carnal men, the law is a minister of death. To spiritual men, it is a guide for righteousness. This means that the war between law and love is a false binary, the real battle is between the flesh and the spirit.
The Ten Laws of Love
This book is an extended meditation upon the Ten Commandments. May God use it to make your leaves medicine for the healing of the nations. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Amen.
January 26, 2022 A.D.