Love is the Fruit of the Spirit
Love is the Fruit of the
Galatians 5:22. But the fruit of the Spirit is love,
against such there is no law.
- Romans 13:8-10
Owe no one anything except to love one another,
who loves another has fulfilled the law.
For the commandments,
- “You shall not commit adultery,”
“You shall not steal,”
shall not bear false witness,”
“You shall not covet,”
- and if there is any other commandment,
summed up in this commandment:
- “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
- 10 Love
does no harm to a neighbor; if you want to love your
neighbor, fulfill God's Law to him.
Pop Psychology teaches us that Love is an elusive, enigmatic,
uncontrollable passion that can neither be developed nor
tempered. "Love" either is or it isn't, and if I feel
"love" when it is inconvenient, or don't feel
"love" in a context where I have pledged to render
certain responsibilities, there is nothing I can do about it. And
to say God commands me to love someone when I don't
"feel" like it, is a blasphemous obscenity to modern
man, and will not be tolerated by the televised prophets of the
modern age. "Law" kills "love," in this
But God's Law indisputably commands love, and so for
the Christian, love must be born, nursed, controlled, or
killed by the power of the Spirit, conforming to the
Blueprints of God's Law.
Jesus said that the greatest of all commandments
is the Old Testament commandment to "love
the LORD thy God with all thine heart. . . ."
The Second Greatest commandment is also from
the Old Testament, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor
We are commanded to "hate" the
enemies of God but
Leviticus 19:17 warns, "Thou shalt not hate thy brother
in thine heart." God's Law commands us to feel God's
Only the one who has never read the Old Testament could
conclude that it does not command us to love. As John
writes in his first epistle, "For this is the love of
God, that we keep His Commandments: and His Commandments are not
Shouldn't the Christian be obeying
The True Christian
The word "Christian" is often used by those who
have seldom, if ever, read a single book of the Bible. The
wearing of a cross says more about one's tastes in jewelry than
in one's commitments to Scripture. But the term
"Christian" should mean "one who follows
Christ." A true Christian, one who
claims Jesus Christ as his Lord and therefore as Savior, is
united with Him in obedient faith. In obedience, we grow in
likeness to Christ, "to the measure of the stature which
belongs to the fulness of Christ,"
and no one will deny that Christ's life was
characterized by perfect obedience to the Law of God.
Consequently, the life
of a Christian is not characterized by flight from the Law of
God, or renunciation of its obligations, but rather by
progressive conformity to the character of the Savior, Who
delighted in obeying His Father's Law. In the same way that
Christ submitted perfectly to the will of His Father,
showing us that there is no conflict between the Law of God the
Father and the Law of God the Son, the true
member of the Kingdom of Christ is a willing subject of the
King, not a lobbyist or legislator in a theological
Union with Christ, which underlies the Christian's salvation,
entails the requirement of sharing His righteous character; of
identifying with His delight in obedience.
Have this attitude in yourselves, which was also in Christ
Jesus, Who . . . humbled Himself by becoming obedient.
Christ, Who was completely submissive to the Law, has
left us an example that we should follow His steps, by following
the Law. Those
who have been saved by Christ's obedience must strive to imitate
the same obedient Spirit.
Hereby we know that we are in Him; he that saith he abideth
in Him ought to walk even as He walked.
I John 2:5ff.
Love and Law
Some in our day suggest that in the Old Covenant people were
bound by a code of law, whereas in the New Covenant commandments
are replaced by love. But we are taught throughout Scripture, no
less in the New Testament, that love is identical with
obedience to the Law. Christian Love, as Biblically defined, is
so far from being opposed to God's Law that this Law is actually
the pattern and content of Love. The Christian's duty to God is
not "to love Him" if "love" is defined as
something less than obedience to His Word.
God's Law is the pattern of life which heals us and makes us truly
human, which is God's great wish for us, an expression of
love to us. Obedience to God's Law is the test of genuine Love
for Christ. Our Lord clearly states that if
we love Him we are to keep His commandments; obedience to His
commandments evidences our love for Him.
The wise man and the brother of Christ is the
one who does His Word.
Abiding in Christ's Love is dependent upon
keeping His commandments.
The one who does not do whatsoever Christ
commands is not the friend of Christ, and if he claims to know
Christ he is a liar.
Owe no man anything, but to love one another; for he that
loveth another hath fulfilled the Law. For this, Thou shalt
not commit adultery. Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not
steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not
covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly
comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy
neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbor,
therefore love is the fulfilling of the Law.
Here is one of the strongest affirmations of the abiding
relevance and validity of God's Law. It is summarized in
Love, and Love is the Christian's perpetual duty. Certainly a
summary does not nullify the content of that which it
summarizes! The Law of God is the standard of Christian Love, so
that one who does not follow the Law really does not love.
What is true of our Love for Christ is true of our Love for
the brethren; Love is the observance of God's commandments:
By this we know that we love the children of God, when we
love God and keep His commandments. For this is the Love of
God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are
I John 5:2-3)
In Romans 13:8, Paul teaches that Love does not replace,
dispense with, or disparage the Law; on the contrary, love
allows the Law complete sway; Paul sees no incompatibility
between Love and Law. In fact, the commandments of both
the Old and New Covenants are the norm for Love's activity; the
Law shows one how to love one's neighbor. Love is the
summation or recapitulation of the Law. This is parallel to what
Christ taught in Matthew 22:37-40; on the commands of radical
love to God and neighbor hang all the Law and the
Prophets. Love enforces the full details of God's Law.
The Law is the perfect expression of true Love. Love does not
provide direction for life when taken by itself. Men live
by altogether different standards when allegedly under the sole
guidance of "love." "Love" without Law is
situation ethics. The Word of God tells us that genuine Love
is the keeping of God's Law:
This is Love, that we should walk according to His
2 John 6
Thus, those who teach that the only commandment men need to
obey is "to believe" are on very thin ice. Those who
teach that the Law is replaced by Love are also in error. Christ
commanded us to "love one another as I have Loved
and Christ's Love was manifested in perfectly obeying God's Law.
Shouldn't the Christian be obeying God's Law?
(1) In so many ways we are taught by
the secular humanist culture around us that there is a conflict
between Love and Law. Certainly there is a conflict between
man's law and Love. It is against "the law" for a
policeman to love his enemy and cover a multitude of sins. Man's
"law" commands him to engage in violent vengeance.
Knowing more about man's law than God's Law, we tend to impute
the qualities of man's law to God's. This is always dangerous.
Since God is love, every act of Law-making by God is an act
of love. His Law is in our best interest. Since God's Law is
comprehensive, there is no need for man to make any laws. When
man makes laws, it is out of a desire to destroy God's loving
Law. Thus, every act of law-making by man is an act of violence
and hatred - hatred of God and hatred of Man, His Image-Bearer.
The relationship between Law and Love is so important we have
covered it in more detail in a
separate section below.
6:5; Matthew 22:37.
19:18; Matthew 22:39.
139:21-22; cf. Luke 14:26.
sounds of the overthrow of the Old World Order are not the
sounds of clashing swords and exploding bombs, but rather the
sounds of love, in every relationship, in every household, in
every area of life.
(136) Ephesians 4:13,15; cf. Galatians
(137) Hebrews 10:4-10;
Hebrews 4:15; John 8:46; 15:10.
(138) John 4:34;
5:30-31; 6:38; 7:16; 8:28; 12:48-50; 14:10-24.
(139) Luke 17:10.
(140) 1 Peter 2:21.
(142) Matthew 7:21ff.;
(143) John 15:9f.
(144) John 15:14; 1
(145) John 13:34.