What Does Romans 13:10 Mean?

Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Romans 13:10(NASB)

Verse of the Day

Christian conduct touches on every area of life. It should affect all we say and do at home, at work, in the community, or when we are completely alone. In Roman 13, Paul gives some important instruction on Christian conduct in two areas - the way we behave towards the government and how we should conduct ourselves towards our neighbour.

Paul makes it crystal clear that, "love does no wrong to a neighbour; therefore love is the fulfilment of the law."  We are commanded to do no evil towards the people we meet in everyday life and to love them in practical ways. Loving the people that cross our path experientially, day by day, living a life of integrity and showing consideration towards others is the mark of a true believer who is walking in spirit, in truth, and in love.

Both secular souls and those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ will often quote, "The Golden Rule" which is, "love your neighbour as yourself." It was first written in Leviticus by Moses and was quoted and expounded by the Lord Jesus, and this command is further referenced in the letter to the Romans. While the Mosaic Law was given to Israel, and Christ's ministry was to the Jew first, Paul calls on Christians to follow this Golden Rule as well, for in so doing we will live a life that is well-pleasing to the Lord, honours our Father in heaven, "and is the fulfilment of God's Law."

"Do no wrong to one's neighbour", may sound a very simple principle to perform, but on deeper reflection we realise it is an enormous undertaking that would prove to be impossible without God's sufficient strength. To do no wrong to one's neighbour covers every word we say, every action we undertake, every attitude we express, and every motive in the secret depths of our heart, that God alone can see. 

Knowing that the Church, which began at Pentecost, is NOT under the Law but under grace, begs the question - WHY did Paul appeal to the Mosaic Law when promoting the Golden Rule and saying, "Love does no wrong to a neighbour; therefore love is the fulfilment of the law."  Well, we need look no further than Christ's closing command to the Church - "LOVE, as I have loved. By THIS shall all men know that you are My disciples."

When the Mosaic Law commanded Israel to, "love your neighbour as yourself",  the Law laid out a very specific instruction for the people to follow, to DEMONSTRATE that they loved their neighbour. The people of Israel were legally bound to fulfil each and every Law of love found in the Mosaic Law, and if they broke one of the commands they broke them all. As James teaches, "whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it."

An Israelite who stole from his neighbour would have broken the 8th commandment, which breaks the law to love your neighbour. The Jew, who lied about his fellow Jew, would have broken the Mosaic Law, as it shows a lack of love towards his neighbour, and a farmer, who refused to leave stalks of wheat in his field for the poor to gather, would have broken the Law of gleaning - which similarly would break the Mosaic Law on LOVING their neighbour. 

Israel were to practice love by obeying all the laws of Moses. The Church, however, are not under the Law but under grace. The Church is not given a list of things to DO, in order to fulfil the law of love towards our neighbour. We are given the broad principle to LOVE, and love does no wrong to a neighbour. At the end of His ministry, the Lord Jesus gave a new commandment to the Church, which condenses this important law of love, into one simple command, "LOVE one another as I have loved you - by THIS shall all men know that you are My disciples."

Paul reminds us that when we love others in the same way that Jesus loved us we fulfil the whole of God's law, "for love is the fulfillment of the law." And James calls this the ROYAL Law, and it should govern every aspect of our lives. BUT we can only love as Jesus loves when we are walking in spirit and truth and allowing HIM to lead and guide every word we say, every action we undertake, every attitude we express and every motive of our heart. 

And Paul, in his book of Galatians, expresses it this way, "bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfil the law of Christ."  In a world where the love of many has grown cold, may we fulfil Christ's command to love our neighbour as He loves, and do him no wrong, as we submit to the leading of the Spirit and carry out God's will for our lives.

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the source of life and the fountain-spring of love. Help me to carry out Your will for my life, and may I love as Christ loves. I pray that I would do no wrong, in thought, word, or deed, to my family, friends, or neighbours. And help me to show the love of Christ to all with whom I come in contact today. This I ask in Jesus' precious name and for His greater glory. AMEN.

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