Today's Foundations Devotional: The law of love is the law of liberty

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Memory verse

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.

(Matthew 22:37-39)

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Yesterday we saw that the supreme objective of the law is love. Paul expresses the same truth about this one supreme law of love in Romans 13:8-10:

Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he 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 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 neighbour as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbour; therefore love is the fulfilment of the law.

And again, more succinctly, in Galatians 5:14:

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.”

Thus “the righteous requirement of the law,” with all of its complexities and all of its enactments, can be reduced to one word: love.

At this point someone may feel inclined to say: “You tell me that, as a Christian, I am not under the law or the commandments of Moses. Does this mean I am free to break those commandments and do anything I please? Am I free to commit murder or adultery or to steal, if I so desire?”

The answer to this is that, as a Christian, you are free to do anything that you can do with perfect love in your heart toward God and man. But, as a Christian, you are not free to do anything that cannot be done in love.

The man whose heart is filled and controlled by the love of God is free to do whatsoever his heart desires. For this reason, James twice refers to this law of love as the law of liberty.

But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does (James 1:25).

So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty (James 2:12).

James calls this law of love “the perfect law of liberty” because the man whose heart is filled and controlled at all times by the love of God has liberty to do exactly what he desires. Whatsoever such a man desires to do will always be in conformity with the will and nature of God, for God Himself is love. The man who lives by this law of love is the only truly free man on the face of the whole earth – the only man who is free to do at all times what he will. Such a man needs no other law to control him.

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Suggested prayer for today:

Lord Jesus, thank You that, if I truly love You and love people, I thereby fulfil Your entire law. Help me, where I sometimes find it difficult to love You and love people, to do this in Your power, Lord! Thank You for Your abundant love in me and through me. Amen.

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