LOVE FULFILLS THE LAW
“Do you not know, brothers and sisters – I am speaking to those who know the law – that the law has authority over someone only as long as that person lives? For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law that binds her to him. So then, if she has sexual relations with another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress if she marries another man.” Romans 7:1-3.
Paul was being as thorough as he could in explaining both the theory and practical application of Jesus’ death in the lives of his readers so that they would enter as fully as they could into their new life in Christ Jesus. Those who worshipped Idols would have no interest in being set free from sin. In fact their very adherence to idol worship gave them licence to indulge every fleshly appetite as an excuse for worshipping their god!
It is only in the truth of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ that we find both the reason and the power to break free from self-indulgence and the consequent destruction of everything good in us, to return to the way of life God created us to live. Sin brings alienation from God, cuts us off from the source of life and takes us in the end to where everything belongs that is disconnected from God – the rubbish heap – to be destroyed in the fire.
Because it is the law that defines what sin is, we have to be severed from the law which condemns us, and we must be reconnected to God without the barrier of sin and the penalty of the broken law. The only way out of the clutches of the law would be for someone who had never disobeyed the law to take the rap for disobedience by dying. In that way, that person would be severed from the law, just as a husband and wife are severed by death.
Death breaks the legal bond between husband and wife and allows the living spouse to marry someone else without violating her covenant with her former husband. That covenant was cancelled by his death and she is no longer held to it.
Could Paul make any clearer the situation between the law and a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ? Legally, the bond between us and the law has been severed because someone has paid the penalty for breaking that covenant. Since He did not pay the penalty for His own sin, what He did affects the whole human race. We are now dead to the law; the bond has been severed and we are free to marry another.
By faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, we have been espoused to Him as our bridegroom. We await His return to take us to the Father’s house for the wedding and our eternal union with Him, as He promised.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me where I am. You know the way to the place I am going.” John 14:1-4.
Wedding talk! We are no longer married to the law. Jesus killed it by His death on the cross. We have a new fiancé and are already legally bound to Him by our faith in Him and what He did to break the law’s hold on us. It no longer has authority over us. We are no longer under condemnation because the debt has been paid.
When the law comes knocking and demanding obedience to it, we are free to ignore its demands because we are dead to it and alive to our new master. “But,” you ask, “doesn’t that mean that we can live as we like?” No, it doesn’t because we are not free from all authority. We have changed allegiance and are now under a new master – espoused to a new husband. He also has a law we must obey – but His law is not to make us acceptable but we obey Him because we love Him and are already acceptable to Him.
His law is simple. It is the law of love. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34.
“And so,” Paul concluded, “It is love that fulfils the law.” Look at that! By loving one another the law is satisfied, after all!
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