Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8). This is why many people say, “love conquers all”. I find it interesting how just having God’s love in our hearts can help us conquer a lot of situations. I have also heard people say “love is blind” – this is obviously not strictly true, because God’s love is not blind. As a matter of fact, God’s love sees all needs. A blind love cannot and will not see any need. I am also intrigued by Paul’s teaching that says as Christians we should not owe any debt except the debt of love (Romans 13:8). It is interesting to view love as a debt we will always have and that we must always strive to pay. And in that same Romans 13:8, Apostle Paul again says, anyone who loves others has fulfilled the law. So, in essence love is at the center of all our relationships with God and it does indeed conquer all things.
The law that is referenced here are the ten commandments that was given to the people of Israel in Exodus 20. If there is love in our hearts then we will not murder, we will not steal, and we will not covet our neighbor’s things. Love in our hearts fulfills the intent of the law because all obedience to the law can be summarized and fulfilled by expressions of love. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13: 3, if I have not love, I am nothing. Love will never do harm to one another; therefore, it meets all the requirements of the law. Our Lord Jesus Christ takes time to remind us at every opportunity that love is the greatest of all the attributes God placed in us. In Matthew 22:39, He said that the greatest commandment was to “love God and love your neighbor” and said that these summed up all the Law and Prophets. Apostle Paul is saying essentially the same thing, that when we love our neighbor, we are truly hitting the mark, doing exactly what God wants us to do. And in Matthew 5:17, our Lord Jesus alluded to this idea when He said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” And, indeed no one has fulfilled the law the way Jesus Christ did. “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” He came to express the greatest love of all and fulfilled the law in the way no one else has.
We can look at this and see that our Lord Jesus Christ came to simplify the law for us. If only we can always remember that our lives should be lived in love. That we should always deal with our neighbors in Love and that loving God can cover a multitude of sins, we will not need to remember the individual laws that were itemized in Exodus 20. Apostle Paul says love does no wrong, so anyone that loves has overcome all the “shall not” that are in Exodus 20. Many laws of life are about what we should not or cannot do. With love, we overcome all of those things because the reason to avoid them becomes clear to us. We see clearly when we love with the love of God. Love is key in our lives, brothers and sisters. All our actions are propelled by love or the lack of it. In fact, we can better understand all of God’s revelation, through the Law and the Prophets, by loving God and loving our neighbor.
One thing we must understand as Christians is that the laws were given so that when we obey them, they may lead us to Christ. Now we also know that love fulfills law, so love will lead us to Christ. Our Lord Jesus Christ came to fulfill the law by giving the greatest sacrifice of all. When He fulfilled the law by dying on the cross, showing us the greatest love of all, we also died to the law through His body and now we belong to Him. He said in John 10:27, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” If indeed we belong to Him, we must listen to His voice and follow Him. His word for us is to love each other as He has loved us. He then added that we are only His friends if we do what He commands. Our Christian journey amounts to nothing when we do not obey His command and the command of the Father. Let us love with all of our hearts because the love of God in our hearts does fulfill the laws.
April 18, 2021 – Pastor Simbo Odunaiya