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February 15th 2017

Love Fulfills the Law

Filed Under: Luther's Devotions

He that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

Rom. 13:8.

Innumerable are the books and doctrines produced for the
direction of man's conduct. There is still no limit to the making
of books and laws. These laws and doctrines would be
tolerated and received with more favor, if they were founded
upon and administered according to the great law of love. Of
love's higher authority we find many illustrations in the Scriptures.
Christ makes particular mention of this matter when
he refers to David and his companions eating the holy showbread.
Though a certain law prohibited all but the priests
from partaking of this holy food, Love was empress here, and
free. Love was over the Law, subjecting it to herself. The
Law had to yield for the time being, had to become invalid,
when David suffered hunger.

Had the priest been disposed to refuse David the holy bread,
had he blindly insisted on honoring the prohibition of the Law
and failed to perceive the authority of Love, had he denied this
food to him who hungered, what would have been the result?
So far as the priest's assistance went, David would have had
to perish with hunger, and the priest would have been guilty
of murder for the sake of the Law. Here, indeed, the most
strenuous right would have been the most strenuous wrong.

Moreover, on examining the heart of the priest, you would find
the abomination of making sin where there is no sin, and a matter
of conscience where there is no occasion for it. In connection
with this same incident, Christ teaches that we are to do
good to our neighbor on the Sabbath, to administer as necessity
demands, whatever the Sabbath restrictions of the Law. For
when a brother's need calls, Love is authority and the Law of
the Sabbath is void.

Were laws conceived and administered in love, the number
of laws would matter little. Though one might not know all
of them, he would learn from the one or two, of which he had
knowledge, the principle of love taught in all; and though he
were to know all laws, he might not discover the principle of
love any more readily than he would in one. No greater wrong,
calamity and wretchedness is possible on earth than the teaching
and enforcing of laws without love. "Love is the fulfilling of
the Law."

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