Remembering the Saints (20)
Thus unity of minds and peace and charity then can be assured, spread abroad in the bowels of believers by the Holy Ghost, when all alike long to fulfill the divine commands...
- Columbanus, Letter to Certain Bishops, Irish, 7th century
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
- John 13.34, 35
Many people today have a hard time putting the Law of God together with the love of Christ. They profess to be led by the love of Jesus while, at the same time, they ignore – and in some cases, vilify – the Law of God. The saints of old – such as Columbanus – can help us to understand then fulfill all the Lord’s commands.
To many, “Law” seems so formal, rigid, obligatory, and binding, while “love” is so spontaneous, warm, personal, and liberating.
That cold and demanding view of Law does not reflect the teaching of Jesus (Matt. 22.34-40). Both He and Paul (Rom. 13.8-10) summarized all the Law as loving God and neighbors. We’re not on the same page as the Lord and His apostles – not to mention the long train of Church history – if we think of the Law as anything other than a pathway for love (1 Jn. 2.1-6).
The sentimental view of love that many hold reminds me of the 1960s flower children, who cast off all restraints and indulged themselves in whatever pleasures they thought might make them feel good, all in the name of peace and love. Today’s culture of sexploitation is the result of that view of love.
Real love is not anything like that.
Real love is the first fruit of the Spirit of God (Gal. 5.22, 23). He is at work within every believer to make us willing and able to do what is pleasing to God (Phil. 2.12, 13). He enables us to understand and empowers us to obey the commandments and statutes of the Lord (Ezek. 36.26, 27). We won’t have the mind or power of the Spirit if we refuse to embrace and obey the Law of God (Rom. 8.5-8).
The work of the Spirit, Who engenders love within us, issues in the fruit of obedience to God’s Law, for God’s Law is the supreme code to guide us in loving God, one another, and our neighbors. The Law is not intended to bind us for slavish obedience, but to liberate us from self-love into true love for God and others.
There is so much mush and nonsense in the Church today about Law and love, and in many instances, the people espousing the latter and denouncing the former have no idea what they’re talking about.
Jesus said the proof of our discipleship is love, in obedience to His commands. John said He meant by that the commandments of God (1 Jn. 2.1-6; 5.2, 3). We love like Jesus did when we live the commandments like He did.
Do you want to be known as someone who loves well? Take up the study of God’s Law. Do you want to be great in the Kingdom of God? Meditate in God’s Law day and night (Ps. 1; Matt. 5.17-19).
If you are studying God’s Law, internalizing it well, and walking faithfully in it, you can expect to grow in love for God and your neighbor.
You cannot love well without the Law, and you cannot fulfill the Law without loving well.
Look at Jesus: He’s the proof.
1. How might you begin to give the Law of God more of a guiding presence in your love for God and your neighbors?
2. What goals will you set for increasing in love for God and others?
Psalm 119.1-4 (Ode to Joy: Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee)
Blessed are they whose way is blameless,
all who walk within God’s Law,
who, His testimonies keeping,
seek Him, filled with joy and awe.
These are they who, no wrong doing,
ever walk within God’s ways.
Lord, Your precepts You command us;
we would keep them all our days.
Here’s an easy and helpful read concerning the Law
If you still have questions about the Law of God – what it is, what it’s for, and how to begin learning and living by it – I encourage you to order your free copy of our book, The Ground for Christian Ethics (click here).
Listen to the excerpt, check out the table of contents, then order your copy right away.
We pray that, if Crosfigell ministers to you, you’ll consider sharing with us in the financial support of our ministry. If the Lord moves you to give, you can use the Contribute button at the website to give with a credit card or through PayPal, or you can send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.
T. M. Moore
All Psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 Walker, p. 23.