“Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 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.’ Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”
                       -Romans 13:8-10
Certainly, loving your neighbor as yourself is a difficult thing to do; and without a doubt this commandment is not referring only to our physical neighbors, but to people in general.

The Apostle Paul is quoting Jesus’ second greatest commandment, to Love people.

It is in this commandment the first will be demonstrated. This is why Jesus, after stating the “great and first commandment”, said,  “And a second is like it…” because when we as God’s people love others we are showing that we truly Love God.

Interestingly enough Paul uses financial terms to develop his thoughts on loving others. He says, “Owe no one anything, except to love each other…” Paul is saying we owe it to each other to love one another and there is no exception to this! This begs the question, what does it mean to love one another?

Certainly it is nothing short of showing people kindness and compassion, but is it more than this? Could there be a deeper sense of love for our neighbor? Paul seems to think so, in fact he lumps several commandments in with loving others. He relates obedience to God as showing love to another.

What does my obedience to God have to do with another? Well, a few things.

1.     When others see my obedience to God, it shows others that I fear God.

Fearing God isn’t what most people think it is. When many think about fearing God they think about a tyrannical vicious God that wants none other than to torment people. But this is not who God is. Rather God is feared because He is righteous.

Have you ever been around someone you really respected, and because of the values they possess, were afraid to do something offensive in front of them?

Well that is kind of what it means to fear God, He is truly good, and sets the standard for perfection, therefore it is right for one to fear Him and keep His commandments (Ecc. 12:13).

2.     When others see my obedience to God, the Gospel is proclaimed

When we are obedient to God, we are living out the gospel, it is then on display for all to see. The message that men are in need of a Savior, and that Jesus paid the price for our sins, enduring the wrath of God on our behalves on the cross.

When we live for Jesus, we obey Him and when we obey Him, we are living for Him. We are not only telling others that He is our Savior, but He is our Lord (Eph 2:10).

3.     When others see my obedience to God, God is glorified.

There is only one who gets the glory. God created us that we might live for Him, honoring Him with our lives. We owe it all to Him, and if it wasn’t for Him we would have no hope.

 God is not dependent on anything from us, and that includes our worship, rather worship is what He deserves from us. His Character, values, attributes, everything about Him commands worship, and praise, and honor. It is all because of who He is, and when we live holy lives we are glorifying His Holy name (Titus 2:11-14).

Why do we love our Neighbor as ourselves? Simply because, God is at the center of it. When we Love people, we Love God. 


 


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