Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Obeying God’s Commands and Showing Love

Romans 13:10

Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

20140530-104833-38913743.jpgJohn Wesley – the founder of the United Methodist Church – is reported to have had three simple rules for life. These three simple rules were – 1) Do no harm – 2) Do Good – and 3) Stay in love with God. It would seem – on the surface – like three easy rules to follow – but – are they?

Throughout the Bible we are given guidance about being holy – about following Christ – about showing mercy and grace. These three simple rules seem to go hand-in-hand with these teachings and Wesley’s three simple rules. Are we following them today? Are they hard to follow?

Here is today’s passage in partial context. Romans 13:8-10 – 8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” y and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

This passage follows the portion of the chapter that instructs us to listen to the laws of the land. Romans 13:1–7 – 1Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

In other words – listen to the laws of the land – do no harm to others – and express yourself with love. Romans 13:8 – Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.

Paul and Wesley would have agreed on this – IMHO. How about you – dear readers? Are we following the teachings of Jesus and loving one another? Are we striving to obey the laws and teachings of God – while showing love to others? Are we striving after righteousness – which includes showing love to all? At times we can get too heavy on obeying the rules and not showing enough love. At times we can be too driven by love and not obey the rules of God calling for us to be holy and righteous. We need both.

Do no harm – Do Good – and Stay in love with God. Jesus said – John 14:15 – If you love me, keep my commands. Staying in love with God is obeying the laws/rules/commands of God. Can we do this while also showing love to all?

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

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June 30, 2014 - Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , ,

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