Law and Love

Love God? Love His Law.

“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

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[1]

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.

“Law” is so formal, rigid, obligatory, and binding, while “love” is so spontaneous, warm, personal, and liberating.


That view of love 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).

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 of love for God and men (Matt. 22.34-40). The Law is not intended to bind us for slavish obedience, but to liberate us from self-love into true love for God and our neighbors.

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 (Matt. 5.17-19).

Are you studying God’s Law and internalizing it well? 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.

Psalm 19.1-8 (Ode to Joy: “God All Nations Sing Thy Glory”)
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.

Thinking about the Law
Solomon taught that God despises the prayers of those who neglect His Law (Prov. 28.9). Jesus said that obeying and teaching the Law of God is the way to Kingdom greatness (Matt. 5.17-19). It’s past time, friends, that we should be giving more attention to the Law of God.

Our present In the Gates series of daily commentaries on the Law of God provides day and evening meditations on the Law. Make a point of reading these daily, and you will discover more of God’s wisdom and love than at present. If you’re still unsure about the status of the Law with respect to our discipleship, order a copy of the book, The Ground for Christian Ethics, from our online store. This brief, spunky dialog will help you understand why we cannot love as we should apart from the Law.

Prayer for Revival
God calls us to seek Him for “great and mighty things” which we’ve never seen before (Jer. 33.3). That would include revival. Are you praying daily for revival? You can, and you should. And you should encourage your friends to join you in this effort. Our book, Restore Us!, provides everything you need to understand why praying for revival is important, how you can do so, and how you can get others together to pray with you. It also provides helpful prayer guides to keep you focused on revival in your times of prayer together. Order your copy – or several copies – from our online store today.

Psalms to Pray for Today and Thursday
Morning: Psalm 119.73-80; Psalm 1
Evening: Psalm 76

Morning: Psalm 119.81-88; Psalm 2
Evening: Psalm 77

T. M. Moore, Principal
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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.

[1]Walker, p. 23.

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 Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore