Today's Foundations Devotional: The Royal law

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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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We have seen how James spoke of the law of freedom in relation to love. In the same letter he gives this law of love another title. He calls it the “royal law.”

If you really fulfil the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself,” you do well (James 2:8).

Why is this the “royal” law? Because the man who lives according to this law lives indeed as a king. He is subject to no other law. He is free at all times to do whatever his heart dictates. In fulfilling this law, he fulfils all law. In all circumstances, and in every relationship toward God and man, he reigns in life as a king.

This analysis of what is meant by “the righteous requirement of the law” leads us to the following conclusion: There is no conflict or inconsistency between the standard of true righteousness put forward in the Old Testament under the law of Moses and that put forward in the New Testament in the gospel of Jesus Christ. In each case the standard of true righteousness is one and the same. It is summed up in one word: love – love for God and love for man.

The difference between the two dispensations – the dispensation of law under Moses and the dispensation of grace through Jesus Christ – lies not in the end to be achieved, but in the means used to achieve that end.

In each case alike, both under law and under grace, the end to be achieved is love. But under the law the means used to that end is an external system of commandments and ordinances imposed upon man from without; under grace the means used is a miraculous and continuing operation of the Holy Spirit within the believer’s heart.

The law of Moses failed to achieve its end, not because of anything wrong with the law itself, but because of the inherent weakness and sinfulness of man’s fleshly nature.

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Suggested prayer for today:

O Lord, thank You that I am not at the mercy of my own sinful, carnal nature, but that I have risen in a new reality and with a renewed heart, to love You and all the people in the world around me wholeheartedly. Thank You for continuing Your redeeming gospel and communicating Your love throughout my life. Amen.

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