Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandments there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
We’ve looked at what this love is and identified to whom we owe this debt of love. Today’s message answers the question: “How do we pay it?” The answer, in a word, is SACRIFICALLY!
Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.
(1 John 3:18)
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. (1 John 4:9)
These passages clearly state that to simply tell someone we love them is not the biblical understanding of love. How easy it is to say those three words—“I love you”—without ever backing it up with actions and in truth.
But this is not for you! You see, God did not only send a book that told us that He loved us . . . as amazing as that is. He sent His one and only Son to die on a cross to show us his love. The apostle Paul exulted, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). The love of God in Christ is a sacrificial, agape love that revealed itself through the ultimate sacrifice the world has ever seen. The perfect, sinless Son of God went willingly, lovingly to our cross; He took our nails in His hands and feet; He wore our crown of thorns; and He died the death we should have died and paid the penalty for our sins.
John echoed Paul when he wrote, “This is how God showed his love among us . . .”—by giving His Son as the atoning sacrifice for sin, “that we might live through him.” It’s truly incomprehensible to imagine that the unblemished Lamb of God was given over to the most horrific, agonizing death for the blemished sinners of this world—sinners just like you and me.
Let me remind you what we are doing as we pay off our Divine Debt: we are fulfilling the law! Jesus said,
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)
Disciples of Jesus fulfill the law by loving vertically (by loving God) and horizontally (by loving all others). The great reformer, John Calvin, wrote that our Lord’s command is “reducing all the precepts of the law of God found in sacred Scripture to love!”
So . . . let me ask one final as we close out this series: How are you doing in paying down this divine debt? Let me leave you with these words from the great evangelist, D. L. Moody:
A man may be a good doctor without loving his patients: a good lawyer without loving his clients; a good geologist without loving science; but he cannot be a good Christian without love.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!