Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for anyone who loves another (person) has fulfilled the LawFor this, “You shall not commit adultery; you shall not murder; you shall not steal; you shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does not practice what is injurious to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilment of the Law (Rom13:8-10)

If you have been following these posts you will know that this is a passage I refer to a lot. It reflects what the Apostle Paul really thought about God’s Law. This passage like all of Paul’s writings preserved within Holy Scripture is addressed to Christians. But in the context of my particular thesis (divine providence) it has a far wider application, being good news for all those (Matthew 25 sheep) who exercise an underlying common faith by exercising compassion to their fellow man. For, writes Paul, the whole law can be summarized in this statement: “Love your neighbour as yourself”.

 And as the apostle writes elsewhere, there are ultimately three qualities that matter and shall stand the test of time: faith, hope and love – the greatest of these being love (1Cor13:13). As that passage indicates, it is possible to possess faith (in the sense of a firm belief or conviction) yet not possess love (13:2). But I am seeking to demonstrate that it is not possible to possess love (as it is defined in 1Corinthians13) unless one has a form of faith – and one that justifies in the sight of God (Mt25 again).

The Apostle John surely concurs: “Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God, for God is love (1Jn:4:7-8), For as John is indicating, only those who are “of God” are capable of love in the agape (compassionate/caring/love-your-neighbour) sense. And as Jesus is affirming in the definitive New Testament passage on final judgement in Mt25, whether or not one has shown compassion to those in need determines who finally will be accepted or rejected as citizens in in God’s eternal Kingdom. That in turn confirms what Paul is saying, that acting in such a way fulfils the heart and purpose of God’s Law.

Love fulfils the law

 No place then for religious faith? – not in this context: religious practice pertains to attaining what the Bible refers to as “αἰώνιος  ζωὴ” (eternal Life) defined in John17:3 as a personal knowledge of God and His Christ. That is just as well, for as I have been indicating, in relative terms it will be few indeed who shall share a throne with the Savior of mankind: “To him that overcomes I will grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame and am set down with my Father in His throne” (Rev3:21). Such honors are reserved for those “predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom8:29) which Paul has made clear were chosen through elective grace rather than any prior merit on their part. If they remain faithful to their calling they shall one day be married to the Lamb  and reign with Him forever (Rev19:7).

The New Testament, especially the book of Revelation refers to God’s elect ruling and reigning – but over whom? Whilst it is the ultimate destiny of all true humanity to be united to God (theosis), in the age to come at least, Christ with His saints shall rule over the many (MT25 sheep) who have been accepted as citizens of God’s Kingdom (cf. Rev21:24). For the latter it was not a matter of elective grace but the exercise of free will by which, however feebly, they fulfilled the spirit and purpose of God’s Law – “faith” evidenced by love (Gal5:6). {Note here how free will and elective grace are reconciled at last]

Such broader perspectives are often pilloried as detracting from the grace of Christ. On the contrary they gloriously magnify it -for whether a person currently perceives it or not, their eternal wellbeing has been secured by the life, death and resurrection of the Son of Man – mankind’s Representative and Savior. The distinction being made here between common and special grace/faith may become clearer in the following short extract from my book:

“A common faith or faithfulness (same word in Biblical Greek) is shown to be present when love (agape) is exercised, being a genuine concern and care for another person, which is the heart of God’s law. Since love is the efflux of faith (Gal5:6), faith must be present for that love to flow out from it; love and faith being quite inseparable: faith being the agent of love and love being the product of faith. A person is justified within the Universal Covenant** by responding positively to God’s witness to them through creed or conscience regardless of the degree of accomplishment. Providing the person demonstrates agape they are accepted by God, for He knows that agape was derived from Him, being His Own nature[1]. This aligns with Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 25 concerning the sheep and goats. In serving the weakest of humanity through any act of compassion, the “sheep” are regarded as serving Christ Himself even though they have no personal knowledge of Him: “In truth I tell you in so far as you did this (act of kindness) to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to Me”

[Excerpt from “The Little Book of Providence chapter 3] Free PDF of e-book HERE

Post concerning the Universal Covenant (enacted by Cain and Abel) HERE

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