Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
It’s All About Love
There would be no crime. No war. No hatred. No ethnic cleansing. No family squabbles or feuds. No identity theft. No gossip. No pornography. No anger. No jealousy. If only everyone followed one simple rule: love your neighbor as yourself.
But we don’t live in a world like that. We don’t live in homes like that. We don’t follow that one simple rule: love your neighbor as yourself. How can we? To love others perfectly in thought, word, and deed, and do them no harm, but protect, defend, and help them, we would first have to love God. Love God, the loving Father who made us and provides for us. If we fail at loving our neighbor, we fail even more at loving God.
That is one way to define sin: the failure to love God and to love our neighbor. And sin carries a penalty—an eternal penalty.
God alone shows perfect love. His love for us is full and complete and flawless. His love for us does not show favoritism. His love for us does not come and go, wax and wane, go hot and cold. His love for us does not depend on how much we love him—God simply loves us unconditionally.
In love, God sent his Son to heal the sin-torn relationship between us and him. In love, Jesus came to this world and lived the life of perfect love we couldn’t. In love, Jesus credits his perfect love for God and for neighbor to our eternal account. In love, Jesus offered himself for his fellowman—every single one of us in the entire world—on the cross. In love, God declares us forgiven of sin and free from penalty.
God’s perfect, saving love in Christ is free. But we can treat it like a debt in a sense: we can spend the rest of our lives trying to repay the debt of love to Christ by showing love to one another. Christ’s love alone saves us. Our love is our lifelong thank-you.
Dear Savior, I struggle to love like you do. Forgive me by your death on the cross. Work in me by your Spirit to love you and love others, treasuring the love you show me. Amen.