A Short Study of Romans 13:8-10

“Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if [there be] any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love [is] the fulfilling of the law.”
(Romans 13:8-10)


The law can and does require that you respect and treat your neighbor according to that which is right. The law can demand a penalty for disobedience in this. But the law cannot cause you to love your neighbor. The civil law of our land does not really care if you love your neighbor or not as long as you do not harm him or his property. God’s spiritual law is different. Though I obey the letter of the law outwardly, yet do not love, it is worthless. Even though I go beyond just refraining from offense against any, and sell all I have and give it to the poor, without love, it is worthless (1st Corinthians 13).

This love is the fruit of the Spirit in God’s people and restrains the evil in our heart toward our fellow man, but before God, His spiritual law requires that we keep the letter of the law perfectly, and love perfectly. You see the law of God scrutinizes uncompromisingly not only what we do, but why.

No man has ever kept the letter of the law, nor loved perfectly, but the Lord Jesus Christ. This is why God’s law condemns us and also why Christ is our only righteousness.

“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” (Galatians 4:4-5)

Love is clearly the fulfilling of the law, as revealed here, because if we truly could love perfectly then we would never hurt or defraud the objects of our love, neither God nor man.

Our Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled the law perfectly in that He is love, and having loved us perfectly, He not only could never harm or wrong us, but He gave Himself for us. And because of His perfect, infinite love for His Father and us, He not only fulfilled the law perfectly as our Representative but paid the penalty for our lawlessness, washing us from our sins in His own precious blood. Upon this basis we are exhorted to love, not in word only, but in deed and in truth (1st John 3:18).


C. Cunningham

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