To fulfill the law

363 meet the law «It is actually pure grace that you are saved. You yourself can do nothing but accept with confidence what God gives you. You have not earned it by doing anything; because God does not want anyone to be able to rely on his own accomplishments » (Ephesians 2,8-9 GN).

Paul wrote: "Love does no harm to one's neighbor; so now is the love of the law fulfillment » (Romans 13,10 Zurich Bible). It is interesting that by nature we tend to turn this statement around. We especially want to know where we are in relationships. We want to be able to see clearly how we stand with the others. The idea that the law is the way to fulfill love is much easier to measure, easier to handle than the idea that love is the way to fulfill the law.

In this way of thinking, there is the problem that a person can fulfill the law without loving. But one can not love without thereby fulfilling the law. The law gives instructions on how a person who loves will behave. The difference between law and love is that love works from within, a person is changed from the inside; the law, on the other hand, only affects the external, the external behavior.

This is because love and law have very different ideas. A person who is guided by love does not need instructions on how to behave lovingly, but a law-led person needs it. We fear that without strong guiding principles, such as the law that forces us to act properly, we probably will not behave accordingly. True love, however, is not conditional, it can not be coerced or forced. It is given freely and freely received, otherwise it is not love. It may be friendly acceptance or recognition, but not love, because love is not a condition. Adoption and recognition are usually conditional and often confused with love.

This is the reason why our so-called love is so easily overwhelmed when the people we love do not meet our expectations and demands. This kind of love is really just recognition that we give or withhold depending on behavior. Many of us have been treated in this way by our parents, teachers, and superiors, and we often treat our children with lost thoughts.

Perhaps that is why we feel so uncomfortable about the idea that faith in Christ has outdone the law. We want to measure others with something. But if they are saved by grace by faith, what they really are, then we no longer need a scale. If God loves them in spite of their sins, how can we so little estimate them and withhold love from them, if they do not act according to our ideas?

Well, the good news is that we are all saved by grace only by faith. We can be very thankful for that because no one except Jesus has reached the measure of salvation. Thank God for his unconditional love through which he redeems us and transforms us into the nature of Christ!

by Joseph Tkack

pdfTo fulfill the law