Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law. 9 For the commandments say, “You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet.” These—and other such commandments—are summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law.
— Romans 13:8-10 NLT

We’ve all heard it before, “love conquers all.” Paul reminds us here that we should owe nothing to anyone. We should be free from debt. This goes back to the previous verses stating that we should pay what we owe, whether it be taxes, salaries, honor, or respect. The only debt we should have left is to love one another. Because of God’s love for us, He sent Jesus to rescue humanity from the power of darkness and bring us into relationship with Him. In the same way, as believers, we should love one another. In 1 John, 4:7-8, John says “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love” We didn’t deserve His Grace or His mercy, but because He loved us we received both. 

What I think is so cool here is that Paul says that this kind of love we extend to one another literally fulfills the rest of the law. Love fulfills the intent of the law because all things can be summarized and fulfilled by love. Love will never harm another, therefore it meets all the requirements the law sets. If we love, we will not murder. If we love, we will not steal. If we love, we will not covet. The love Paul is talking about here equips and enables us to love one another in a genuine way. God loves us in a genuine way. He is love. He can give us this love for one another. 

a practical step

Examine the areas in your life (read: people in your life) where you aren’t loving as yourself. Who came to mind? Ask God to give you His love for them. The song below is one that I heard yesterday and immediately thought of this passage (thanks God). Listen to it and meditate on the words. 

 

pray

God, thank you for loving me even when I’m at my most unlovable. Thank you for loving me before I loved you. Help me to love others in this way. Let Your love flow through me and touch those around me. Amen. 

- Clare