In yesterday’s post, I dropped out a phrase, “border-line legalism”; I don’t use this phrase lightly; as doing such could give someone a false eternal security in their outward works or inward person. So let’s not confuse legalism with someone being “mean” 😳 …that is not legalism. Now that we have addressed the afore, let’s deal with: Love and the Law!
5 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:
6 From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;
7 Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.
8 But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully;
9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,
10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;
11 According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.
Paul was undoubtedly flustered with the twist on focus that these Christians had taken. You see- Paul, who certainly was a HOLY man (A holy man, speaking as he was moved by the Spirit to write the Word of God) understood that the GOSPEL BRINGS RIGHTEOUSNESS!
This is not to say that the law does not apply to Christians, but simply to say that it has already been utilized! We read the law; We saw we were sinners; we got saved! The law is our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ!
During the time at which Paul was speaking, it was common custom to engrave laws and hang them in public places such as courthouses or town squares— a custom that still mingles in our modern day. It was only in recent history that we removed the law (Ten Commandments) from public places in America. In verses 9-10 when we read that the law is MADE for the heathen, the word MADE actually implies in its deeper definition to be engraved or carved for display. Paul’s wording was specific, and inspired to achieve its desired work! The law wasn’t displayed or carved for the righteous; the righteous were already living and following it. (Picture the earlier reference of the publicly displayed Ten Commandments) How awesome!
Next, Paul thoroughly STRESSES the need for the “glorious gospel” to be the solution! This is the very Gospel that had turned a former murderer into a future martyr! (as tradition holds.)
But perhaps the most FASCINATING and APPLICABLE point to we who are saved is given in verse 5 “now the end of the commandment is charity…” The end means the desired outcome or purpose.
Could God be ANY CLEARER to Christians? OUR COMMAND IS TO LOVE! It’s repeated incessantly throughout the New Testament! (John 13:14, Romans 13:8, 1 Corinthians 16:14,Ephesians4:2-3,1 Peter 3:8-9, 1 Peter 4:8, 1 John 3:11, 1 John 3:18, 1 John 4:12-13) The list actually continues beyond these references given! I say again, OUR COMMAND IS TO LOVE!
Last week, I knocked on the door of a woman in her late twenties in Mount Holly, NJ. She would not mind me saying that there was visible evidence of a wild life etched into her body. Her ears were stretched from gauges that at one point probably seemed like a good idea; however, on her sweatshirt was the phrase, “God loves you!” This brightened my expectations. As she began to speak, I was astonished at the poise and dignity that she held. She began to tell us that she attended a Gospel-preaching church in the area, and that she had moved from a Baptist church in Virginia with her husband. As Paul so often did, she could not help but tell me her testimony— one that gives me chills to recollect! She said she did not get saved until she was 19. Prior to salvation, she lived out her life as a lesbian. She said “If you could only see who I WAS before 🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽!” She said that a little Baptist church in her home town began to show her more love than she had ever experienced. “They were unrelenting in their love to me— someone who lived a life contrary to their Book,” she recalled. She said “Of course I accepted Christ; of course I accepted love!” She told of how she turned from her prior lifestyle and began immediately praying for a husband who would accept her past. Well, God provided her with a loving husband, a beautiful home, and a future worth living for!
As I left her home that day, I knew that her statements would forever change my life. They challenged me to apply the commands to love in the New Testament; for you see, TO LOVE IS THE END, THE DESIRED OUTCOME, THE PURPOSE!