To fulfill the law

563 fulfill the law In the Letter to the Romans Paul writes: "Love does no harm to one's neighbor; so now is the love of the law fulfillment » (Romans 13,10 EG). We naturally tend to turn the statement "love fulfills the law" and say: "the law fulfills love". We especially want to know where we are in relationships. We want to see clearly or set a yardstick for how we should stand with the others and love them. The law sets the standard for how I fulfill love and it is much easier to measure than if love is the way to fulfill the law.

The problem with this argument is that a person can keep 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.

That's 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-governed person needs it. We fear that without strong guiding principles, such as the law that compels us to behave properly, we probably will not behave accordingly. But true love is not conditional, for 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 subject to conditions and are often confused with love.

That is why our so-called "love" is so easily overtaxed when the people we love fall short of our expectations and demands. Unfortunately, this kind of love is merely recognition that we give or withhold depending on our behavior. Many of us have been treated by our neighbors, our parents, teachers and superiors in this way, and often we also mentally treat our children and fellow human beings like that.

Perhaps that is why we feel so uncomfortable with the thought, the faith of Christ in us, have supplanted the law. We want to measure others with something. But we are saved by grace through faith and no longer need a scale. If God loves us in spite of our sins, how can we so little value our fellow human beings and deny their love if they do not act according to our ideas?

The apostle Paul explains this to the Ephesians in the following way: «It is indeed 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).

The good news is that you are saved only by grace through faith. You can be very grateful for that because no one except Jesus has reached the measure of salvation. Thank God for His unconditional love, through which He redeems you and transforms you into the being of Christ!

by Joseph Tkach