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The Law Fulfilled

Lent 2023

Read Romans 13:8–14

8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

11 Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. 12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

Therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. Romans 13:10

In these two paragraphs, Paul addresses obedience to the Law of God. In these verses, he mentions eighteen different commands from the Old Testament. In the midst of these, in verse 10, he mentions one command which, when obeyed, would fulfill all the commands and the rest of the Law. Paul was following what Jesus taught: “This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 22:38-39). Josephus—though not a friend of the first century church—summarized his view of Christians when he wrote, “Behold how they love one another.”

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote a book titled The Gulag Archipelago. In this book, he described his prison experiences in Siberia. On occasion, he mentioned a fellow prisoner whom he called “the Baptist.” Solzhenitsyn never understood how “The Baptist” could be so happy when he was treated even worse than any other prisoner. While teaching in Donetsk, Ukraine, I attended the church pastored by “The Baptist” several times. We talked about prison and about Solzhenitsyn. “The Baptist” said many things to me. He said. “If you love your enemies, they can never defeat you; only then can you witness to them.” He also said, “I learned that if I have bread, I have everything.”


Gracious God, in our broken world where evil is called good and good is called evil, enable me to honestly love my neighbor as you love me. Amen.

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