Sermon: Loving One Another Fulfills The Law: Romans 13:8-10 -- By: Thomas R. Schreiner

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 11:3 (Fall 2007)
Article: Sermon: Loving One Another Fulfills The Law: Romans 13:8-10
Author: Thomas R. Schreiner

Sermon: Loving One Another Fulfills The Law: Romans 13:8-10

Thomas R. Schreiner

Thomas R. Schreiner is James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament and Associate Dean for Scripture and Interpretation at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has written Romans (Baker, 1998) in the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament and 1 and 2 Peter and Jude (Broadman & Holman, 2003) in the New American Commentary Series. He is also the author of Paul, Apostle of God’s Glory in Christ: A Pauline Theology (InterVarsity, 2001). Dr. Schreiner serves as the preaching pastor of Clifton Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky.

Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 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 (Rom. 13:8–10, ESV).

The Beatles wrote a popular song titled, “All you need is love.” On first glance Paul appears to be saying the same thing in Rom 13:8–10, for he says that the only thing we owe one another is love and that love fulfills the law. What we need to do in each situation of life, then, is to ask ourselves, what is the most loving thing to do in this circumstance? How can I show love to my neighbors? These questions are certainly the right ones to ask, but we could be misled into thinking that the most loving thing for neighbors is obvious and apparent to all. Most secular people would agree with the Beatles that all we need is love, and they would salute Paul for the same opinion. But neither the Beatles nor secular people really agree with Paul on what love is. Paul would say that the most loving thing you could do for neighbors is persuade them to repent of their sins and believe in Jesus Christ. The Beatles certainly did not believe that, nor do most people in this world. Even though all people would agree that we should love our neighbors, they would not agree on what love for neighbors looks like (even Christians disagree because often we do not know the scriptures well). And for those of us who are believers, the authoritative and inerrant scriptures define for us the nature of love. I think these verses in Rom 13:8–10 suggest that there are two mistakes that we may fall into when defining love.

What is the first blunder in judgment? The first mistake is to say that since love fulfills the law we no longer have any need for commandme...

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