27 April 2016

Romans 13:8-10

"The one who loves another has fulfilled the law." (v. 8)

Psalm: Psalm 80



On the face of it the way of Christianity is extremely simple.

Just love.

So why the need for the millions of words written over the centuries to try and explain the way? Why the anguish, sweat and suffering of people trying to follow Jesus, failing again and again to love as they should?

Paul (the writer of the letter to the Romans) says "the one who loves another has fulfilled the law". On the face of it most of us would say we love another when we love family, lovers, friends, colleagues…

But what Paul is talking about is something more radical.

There is a foundation to our lives upon which we act and love. This foundation is a constant love, care and attention directed to ourselves, even though we are not always conscious of it. After all 'I' am the centre of my own life.

The aim of the Christian life is to completely change the direction of this 'background' love: to live wholly with a love that has been cleansed of all self-interest; to live with a love focused entirely on the 'other' in God and neighbour, sacrificing the self.

It is then that love is freed from subject and object, from 'me' loving 'you'. Lover and loved become one, each love eternally affirming the other in unity.

We have to turn to God and let go of our 'selves'; to let God's love and forgiveness wash over us, wearing away at our inner obstacles, eroding the deep blocks to a love that wants to flow freely from us and through us.

To do this we need to trust God's promise that if we renounce our 'selves' we will find God.


To Ponder

  • What makes it hard to love unreservedly?
  • Are there times when you and your needs and interests come first? Why?


Bible notes author

Dave Webster

Dave Webster works for the Connexional Team as internet communications coordinator. He is responsible for this website and other internet-based projects for the Methodist Church.