#DailyDevotion Love Is The Fulfillment Of The Law
Exodus 20 12“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long on the land the LORD your God is giving you. 13“Do not murder. 14“Do not commit adultery. 15“Do not steal. 16“Do not lie concerning your neighbor. 17“Do not covet your neighbor’s house. Do not covet your neighbor’s wife, his male or female servant, his ox, donkey, or anything that is his.”
You might think, “Why does God have to spell out to his people to do and not do these things?” But hey, we have laws on our books that resemble these words here that deal with our neighbor, so, maybe we aren’t so bright either.
After the commandments that deal with our relationship with God we have these commandments on how we are to deal with the people we meet. Of course the first people we meet are our parents. Parents are our first bridge to God. To some extent, how we view our parents is how we will view our God (even if that is wrong). They are indeed God’s representatives even as government is cf. Romans 13. We are to give them honor. It doesn’t matter how bad they are, we are to honor them. If they are particularly bad, pernicious and awful perhaps the best way we can honor them is to obey the rest of the commandments thereby giving honor to their name. This commandment has a promise of living long in the land the LORD gives to the Israelites, and so precious is this promise Paul repeats it to us as it applies to us as well, to live a long life. Makes sense, if we are living a life that honors our parents, we generally will have a less stressful life. But more importantly is God’s promise.
Don’t murder, don’t steal, don’t commit adultery Jesus makes particularly hard because it doesn’t matter if we don’t do it outwardly if we still want to do it in our hearts, if he hate, harbor anger towards others, desire people who are not our spouse, or we try to get things in a way that only appear right. Luther really hits us hard with “Don’t tell lies about your neighbor” as we are to speak well of our neighbor and defend them when others speak badly of them. Coveting pretty much covers Jesus’ explanation of the commandments in the Sermon on the Mount because it all comes down to our hearts and makes our hearts into idolaters. We want something and don’t trust God to give it to us in a proper manner.
In the New Testament Jesus boils it all down to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Paul even calls this the greatest commandment under which all other commandments fall, I would think even the first table concerning God. I say this because your neighbor is created in the image and likeness of God. How you treat your neighbor is how you would treat God. John says as much in his first epistle when he says if you hate your neighbor who you can see you cannot love God whom you cannot see. Said positively, if you love your neighbor your are loving God.
Thanks be to God, Jesus has fulfilled all these commandments given to the Israelites and the curse of breaking them he has nailed to the cross so they cannot accuse us any longer. It is only the Gospel, the good news Jesus has fulfilled these for us and paid the penalty for us because we have not kept them, which compels us to live out God’s will for us spontaneously by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Heavenly Father, without your grace we cannot keep your Law. Give us faith in Jesus and your Holy Spirit so we may cheerfully, joyfully and spontaneously do you will in all our ways. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.