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Love and Law

Let us hear the Shemah declare the commandment that embodies all commandments, the law of laws or as James the brother of Jesus referred to it – the Royal Law.

Mark 12:28-31 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating...  He asked him, 'Of all the commandments, which is the most important?  29 'The most important one,' answered Jesus, 'is this:
Hear, O Israel
the Lord our God,
the Lord is one.

Love the Lord your God
with all your heart
and with all your soul
and with all your mind
and with all your strength.

31 The second is this: Love your neighbour as yourself There is no commandment greater than these...  Matthew 22:40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two.'

The apostle Paul, a Jewish Rabbi of the legalistic orthodox Pharisee sect, in his letters to the churches, teaches that love fulfils the whole law, offering as proof:

Romans 13:8-10 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.  9 The commandments, 'Do not commit adultery, 'Do not murder, 'Do not steal, 'Do not covet, and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: 'Love your neighbour as yourself.  10 Love does no harm to its neighbour.  Therefore love is the fulfilment of the law.

Galatians 5:13-16 You, my brothers, were called to be free.  But don't use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.  14 The entire law is summed up in a single command: 'Love your neighbour as yourself.  15 If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.  16 So I say, live by the spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.

John, the son of thunder, passionately pleads the case of love, commending to us the divine agapay, distinct from common generic human love.  This is the new wine, the fruit of the holy spirit operating in us, the sign of our brotherhood, the seal of God the father on us.  John links the living law of love with sacrifice.

1 John 4:7-13 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.  Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.  8  Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.  10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.  13 We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his spirit.

Jesus, the living word, continually asserts the royal law, raising the stakes to new messianic, selfless and sacrificial heights.  In the mouth of Jesus, love becomes an act of worship, an intimate sacrificial offering of obedience to the Father.

John 13:34-35 A new command I give you:
Love one another As I have loved you, so you must love one another
35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another...   John 14:21 Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.   He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him...  John 14:31 The world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me...   John 15:9-13 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.  Now remain in my love.  10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love.  11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.  12 My command is this:
Love each other, as I have loved you.  13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
His word is done, law, written in blood.

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