Journal – September 27, 2020
Then Ahimelech answered the king, and said, And who is so faithful among all thy servants as David, which is the king’s son in law, and goeth at thy bidding, and is honourable in thine house?
LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR
Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law.
Vs. 8 Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. In verses 1-7 Paul instructed Christians regarding the manner of their relations to the state (governmental authority) over them. Now, in verses 8-10 the apostle addresses our relationship with everyone else. Owe no one anything except to love one another, After telling us to pay our taxes and make sure the magistrate is paid for his service in maintaining law and order, Paul says have no unpaid debts. This does not mean that we are never to be subject to indebtedness, but according to the contract or agreement we made or signed, we are to pay that amount when it becomes due on a certain day, until we have discharged the whole debt. In the Gospel of Mathew 5:42, Our Lord instructs us, give, to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away. The lender has a restriction put upon him, Exodus 22:25 . . . you shall not charge him interest. In Psalms 37:21 we find: The wicked borrows and does not repay. It is very clear that Paul is not dealing with love to God; but he is dealing with our fellow man as we will see in verse 9. The thing to remember is that love is a perpetual obligation for the Christian; for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. The Greek pleroo translated: fulfilled the law’ means the law has received the full measure of that which it requires. So, Paul does not say that the law is love but that love fulfilled the law and law has not in the least degree been depreciated or deprived of its sanction. Since love is the fulfillment of the law then no law is fulfilled without love, this must be applied to the law that governs our conduct in the state. “To introduce anarchy is to violate love” (John Calvin).
Vs. 9 9For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Paul is expanding on what he set forth in verse 8, now he is telling us what the law is. He is setting forth the second table of the Ten Commandments, the order they are given is the order in which they are entered in the Septuagint. That the precepts set forth do not comprise the whole law is expressed by if there is any other commandment. (This appeal to the Decalogue sets forth the following propositions: (1) The Decalogue is of permanent and abiding relevance. (2) It exemplifies the law that love fulfils and is therefore agreeable with love. (3) The commandments and their binding obligation do not interfere with the exercise of love; there is no incompatibility. (4) The commandments are the norms in accordance with which love operates—John Murray’s commentary on Romans.) Now, we consider the commandments—notice they are all negative in form:
A. You shall not commit adultery Although we are only observing the second table of the law it is well to remember that the Prologue in Exodus 20:1-2 presupposes all the commandments: “God spoke all these words saying: I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.” Behind this command is the very Word of God declaring You shall not commit adultery declaring His absolute ownership and delivering power. This Command as are the other four, is framed in the singular, it is intensely personal. In addition, this is the language of perpetual prohibition. Finally, this Divine Mandate both prohibits each and every thought, motivation, inclination, word and action which would lead to sexual immorality, and positively commands all thoughts, motivations and inclinations toward sexual purity. God made man a sexual being. He has provided human sexuality—meant for the fulfillment of the Creation Mandate (Be fruitful and multiply, Genesis 1:28) and the mutual love and fulfillment of man and woman—with the institution of marriage. This highest form of human love is to be a reflection of the Divine love which exists within the Ontological Trinity. The very existence of sexuality therefore is to be spiritual and holy.
B, You shall not murder the Hebrew word ratzach, means not killing in general, but specifically to murder—the killing of another human being. The primary sense is that of unlawfully taking another human life. There are two elementary thoughts: first, God commanded capital punishment because man was created in His image, thus human life possesses a derived value—and God absolutely demands it (Numbers 35:31). There is a lawful taking of human life in capital punishment, in lawful warfare, and in self-defense. Second, the Scriptures expand the meaning of murder to include voluntary and involuntary manslaughter and death by neglect. In the New Testament the true spiritual and inclusive nature of this Commandment is revealed: Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him (1 John3:15). The commandment not only forbids the actual act, but every tendency, inclination or action which leads to such.
- You shall not steal. When God spoke these words from Mount Sinai, He had just
delivered Israel out of slavery in Egypt. Although they had plundered the Egyptians before they left Egypt they did not know about personal property of their own, but they should understand the necessity and importance of having private property as God’s freemen. This Commandment forbids anything that does or may hinder or detract from our own or another person’s wealth, or inward or outward estate. With these negative Commandments, there is both a negative perpetual prohibition and a positive implication: as this command is applied throughout the Divine revelation, it maybe summarized in the truth that every man is to be industrious as to his own property and rights, and to be practically concerned about the person and property rights of others. Man was created to work and to exercise godly, responsible dominion under God, and so find meaning, fulfillment, enjoyment and blessing in the fruits of his labor. Man is the trustee of the earth of the earth under God. This Commandment summarizes the Second Table of the law, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.
D. You shall not bear false witness, to understand the great importance of this Commandment in its essence, we must understand the courts in ancient Israel. Israeli courts were both civil and religious institutions. The court was comprised of ten elders from among the people, and sat daily at the city gate, hearing and administering justice (Deuteronomy 21:18-21; 22:13-21;25:1-3). Priests (some later termed as lawyers because of their position) explained the exact meaning of the Law, if necessary (Deuteronomy 17:8-12; 19:16-21). Judges, if present made rulings. There were no detectives, no defense or prosecuting attorneys, no lengthy trials or investigations, and no advanced technology or forensic science, everything was based upon the account of two or three witnesses—from minor issues to matters of life and death (Numbers 35:30). Justice was administered immediately after deliberation on a daily basis. The witnesses literally held the power of life and death in their testimony (Proverbs 18:21; 1 Kings 21:8-14), thus the utmost necessity for absolute truthfulness under oath and for a plurality of witnesses concerning a capital offense (Deuteronomy 17:6; 19:15). If perjury were discovered, the offender was to receive the same punishment due to the defendant.
- You shall not covet, few of us are content with what Divine Providence has provided
for us. It is an inherent part of our fallen, sinful natures to desire above and beyond what we are or have. The right way to improve our lot in life is to work, achieve and progress by the grace and providence of God. He gives the power to get wealth (Deuteronomy8:18). A godly biblical work ethic provides a great and blessed motivation. Contentment under Divine Providence is a great blessing (Hebrews 13:5). But covetousness resides in the heart, in the imagination and the emotions. This subtle sin breaks all the other Commandments, sets one person against another and is the root cause of such sins as idolatry, taking God’s name in vain, dishonoring parents, breaking the God-ordained rest, dissatisfaction, jealousy, envy, lust, anger and the overt sins of murder, adultery and falsehood. All sin begins in the heart, thus we are to keep the heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23).
- If there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely “You
shall love your neighbor as yourself.” This implies that we do love our own selves. Love of one’s self is not to be equated with selfishness or egotism—we do eat don’t we, if we hated ourselves, we would not fuel our body. We are selfish when we do not love our neighbors as ourselves, when we are so absorbed with our own selves that we have no regard for others. We are never asked to love God as we love ourselves or our neighbor as we love God. To God our whole being in all relationships must be captive in love, devotion and service.
Vs. 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law. Notice that Paul uses the term fulfillment rather than fulfilling. Fulfilling suggests process, but this is not the force here. This clause could properly be rendered “he that loveth the other hath fulfilled the law.” The law looked upon as something to be filled is filled to the brim by love. From beginning to endit is love that fills and so in this sense it is with or by love that the law is filled.
Catechism Question 39
Q: What are the benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification?
A: The benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification, are, assurance of God’s love, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Spirit, increase of grace, and perseverance therein to the end.