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Love and Law

There is no contradiction between love and Law.

"If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love."

  - John 15.10

He who does not fear God will not love Him./He who does not love Him will not fulfill His commandments./He who does not fulfill His commandments will not possess eternal life in heaven.

  - Colman mac Beognai, Aipgitir Chrabaid (Irish, 7th century)

Jesus explained that He kept all the commandments of God (Matt. 5.17-19). It was necessary for Jesus to do so in order to fulfill all the righteous requirements of God's Law on our behalf. Theologians refer to this as the active obedience of Christ (as contrasted with His passive obedience, whereby He allowed Himself to be crucified, thus bearing all the weight of the sanctions of God's Law against sinners).

He further told His disciples that He expected them to keep His commandments, just as He had kept the commandments of the Father. This is how we abide in Jesus, by walking in the same path He walked, toward the same outcomes and objectives (1 Jn. 2.1-6).

We have been redeemed, Paul explained, unto good works, which we must take up with zeal and in which we must not grow weary (Eph. 2.10; Tit. 2.13; 3.1; Gal. 6.9). Good works in accord with the Law of love are evidence of the indwelling work of the Spirit of God (Ezek. 36.26, 27).

Thus, Colman could logically assert that without good works of love, in line with the commandments of God, we cannot have assurance of salvation. Indeed, it may well be that, without such works, we have no salvation at all (cf. Heb. 6.1-9).

We cannot obey the Law of love if we are ignorant of it. Each day's In the Gates column deals with some aspect of the Law of God and what it requires of us. But we will not take up the Law of God unless we fear the Lord Who gave it and love Him because He has first loved us. If we fear God, we will love Him; if we love Him, we will learn from Him and obey Him. If we are not found to be obeying Him, then it is likely that we do not know Him at all.

Colman continued: "For in fear, love is found./In love, holy action is found./In holy action is found eternal life in heaven." We cannot show our faith in Jesus Christ by simply declaring it to be so; true faith is demonstrated in good works of love, according to the teaching of God's Law (Jms. 2; Matt. 22.34-40).

So isn't past time for us to be ignoring the Law of God - the very Law by which Jesus lived, and which He commands us to follow if we would be great in His Kingdom?

We are not saved by keeping the Law of God. Only Jesus saves us. But we cannot be sure of our salvation apart from obedience to God's Law, which demonstrates that we are abiding in Jesus, Whom we profess to believe.

There is no contradiction between love and Law. Indeed, no one can have one without also possessing the other.

T. M. Moore, Principal

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T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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