Love fulfills the Law - Romans 13
In the first part of chapter thirteen, Paul tells us about our relationship with governments and how we should willingly be under their rule. The reason for this is because God has given them the authority to rule over the people. Paul says that if we do good, we have nothing to fear because the government is there to punish bad behavior. That is why Christians do not support anarchism, because to do so is to fight against God’s authority.
“So then, the one who resists the authority is opposing God’s command, and those who oppose it will bring judgment on themselves.” Romans 13:2 HCSB ( https://www.bible.com/72/rom.13.2.hcsb )
Does this mean that unjust governments should be allowed to continue to rule over the people? Those that misuse the authority given to them by God, will eventually be punished. Rather that is from a revolution or by war with another nation God will eventually bring His wrath upon all unjust nations.
Should Christians be involved in governments? Yes, of course. There is no other person more qualified to properly use the authority given by God than the children of God. Although there can be two problems when Christians are involved in government. The first problem is that even “Christians,” when they don’t maintain a proper relationship with God, can use the God given authority improperly. The second problem is that when Christians are too focused on the government it can cause them to lose focus on God and the mission that we have been entrusted with.
How can we avoid these errors? Paul answers that in verses 8-10.
“Do not owe anyone anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments: Do not commit adultery; do not murder; do not steal; do not covet; and whatever other commandment — all are summed up by this: Love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Love, therefore, is the fulfillment of the law.”
Romans 13:8-10 HCSB ( https://www.bible.com/72/rom.13.8-10.hcsb )
We avoid these errors by focusing on love. In all of the laws that are given, rather from God or Men, love is their fulfillment. If we truly love others, then we will not purposely do anything to bring harm to them. We would not steal from others, and at the same time, we would not allow others to remain in a position where they felt that their only option was to steal. Of course, there will always be the greedy and unjust that would rather steal than work for it. Although, some steal because of economic reasons and an inability to work or find work. These are the ones that by our love can be helped.
Love for others does not come naturally to anyone. Everybody likes to talk about love, but most don’t understand true love that only comes from a relationship with God. The standard of the love of this world is: If you are good to me, I will be good to you. Many may object to that statement, but it stands true. It is our evil human nature to love when we get something back in return. Some that do not have a relationship with Jesus may be able to show moments of true love, but they will not be able to sustain that type of love in every relationship without Jesus. Even many Christians fail at this because they fail to die to themselves and live to God.
Paul ends this chapter by telling us how we can be sure to always be successful in demonstrating proper love toward others. The key is that we have to put on Christ.
“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no plans to satisfy the fleshly desires.”
Romans 13:14 HCSB ( https://www.bible.com/72/rom.13.14.hcsb )
The way that we put on Jesus Christ is both a one-time event and a daily process. We first put on Jesus Christ by repenting of our sins and turning to Him for salvation. Then we daily put on Jesus Christ by maintaining a daily relationship through bible study, prayer, worship, and fellowship with other Christians. When we saturate our lives with the things of God we will be able to live and love like children of God are meant to. May we all daily seek after Jesus Christ and grow into spiritual maturity.