October 16, 2018

Owing Love When Jesus Is the Standard of Love

Romans 13:8

11 Comments | Listen | Print | Full Chapter

Fulfilling the Law Through Love

Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.

In Context:

3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. 8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. 11 Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. 12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy.

Owing Love When Jesus Is the Standard of Love

Bio | Nicole Sims

My name is Nicole Sims. I am thankful to be married to Chris Sims. Together, we parent a crazy crew of four gifts from God—our children (ages 12 to 2), whom we love more than we ever thought possible. If you see me in the grocery store with all four, you might laugh at the antics of my kids or pity me if any of us are misbehaving. Just be sure to show me love in either situation by not commenting, "Whoa, that is a lot of kids!" And you might even return my cart for me!

Central Truth

Because Jesus loved us enough to completely pay the debt for our sin by His death on the cross, we should live our lives paying others this debt of love with a kind of love that only comes from God.

Devotional | Romans 13:8

I love listening to Brant Hansen, a Christian radio personality. He often poses hilarious questions such as, "Would you rather get a $10,000 gift card to Cracker Barrel or grow an inch?" While God...

I love listening to Brant Hansen, a Christian radio personality. He often poses hilarious questions such as, "Would you rather get a $10,000 gift card to Cracker Barrel or grow an inch?" While God doesn't ask us if we would rather owe $10,000 or love, I sometimes wish He would.

The truth is that owing love can be more difficult than owing money. We know what love is because Jesus showed it to us on the cross (1 John 3:16). It means laying down your life for another. It means those things in 1 Corinthians 13 that we read at weddings (being patient, kind, etc.), but struggle to do for the person we choose to love most in this world. It can also mean sharing truth that someone doesn't want to hear. Loving like Jesus can get you hated, mistreated, and misunderstood. But God still calls us to love. That is the way Jesus lived, and He fulfilled all of the law and prophets.

God gives His followers the power to love others. The world notices when people forgive murderers; forgive adulterers; overcome evil with good; care for widows, orphans, and the poor; and choose to love those the Lord puts in their paths daily. Romans 13:8 echoes Jesus' message that our love for others sets us apart as His followers (John 13:34-35).

I was once in a dispute in which feelings were deeply hurt on all sides. I desired to honor God, but my own pain and baggage made it difficult to know how to do that. One friend asked me how I would treat someone who hadn't hurt me and challenged me to love the person who had hurt me the same way. That clarified how to love as this verse directs. The love I gave was not easy to give, and it was not received well. But I trusted the Lord with the consequences and believed that His way of love was the best way. Because Jesus loves us enough to show us how to love, I can live owing love to others; and you can, too.

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Discussion Questions

1. When considering those who have hurt us deeply, paying $10,000 might seem like an easy alternative to loving the offending person. Can you think of someone whom you would rather owe a monetary debt than owe love as God requires? What would it look like if you chose to love that person through forgiveness as Jesus has forgiven you? (Love does not mean that there is no consequence for hurtful behavior or that your relationship will be reconciled. Check out this Real Truth Real Quick for more guidance: http://realtruthrealquick.com/forgiveness.)

2. Do you fear loving others because it might not be well received or returned? What does the Bible say will happen to followers of Jesus? (Read John 16:33, John 15:20, and Matthew 5:10-11.)

3. Jesus loved you enough to die for you while you were still a sinner so that you can be a part of His family forever (Romans 5:8). Does this change your view of what love is and to whom you should show it?

11 Comments available

Jennifer Kling 5 minutes ago

Gosh this hit home. My father-in-law is extremely hard to love. He intentionally did a lot of things to destroy and hurt his family, hasn’t expressed remorse, continues to stir up drama into the family, and still feels entitled to exceptional treatment. But I am still called to love him nonetheless. Going to try your advice to love him as if he’d never hurt me.

Nicole Sims 5 minutes ago
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Thank you, Hugh, for your comment. So thankful you know that deep love that He has for you through Jesus.

Nicole Sims 5 minutes ago
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Lindsey! I miss our sweet Starting Blocks days together, and I am so thankful for your dedication to my kids and others at WM. You love well, friend!

Nicole Sims 5 minutes ago
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Thanks, Sue. I loved that book as well. I hope you will enjoy listening and getting more of his humor/truth mix. I enjoyed being in Women’s Bible Study with you a few years ago exactly because you mix truth and joy so well!

Michael Scaman 5 minutes ago

In the end love and forgiveness is a response and fruit of a soul that experienced love and forgiveness

We may be put in situations that stress us out but even under and especially under stress what’s really there is on display.

“Greater love has no man than this that he gives his life for his friends” was the root and the fruit is on display.

Rita Satagaj 5 minutes ago

What a super clear explanation you gave for this verse. Loved it! Yes, as you said, God gives us the power to love others. I love this! We can tuck this under our belts/hearts and use it in those more difficult situations. God’s power is always with us.

Scott Self 5 minutes ago

Great devo, Nicole.

God used it to speak directly to me regarding how I should approach a broken relationship in our family.

greg jones 5 minutes ago

The bio made me laugh. When my kids were younger I always hated it when they cart jacked me in the grocery store. I feel your pain.

If forgiveness fixed people instantly we would forgive in a heartbeat. Who wouldn’t want that kind of control over people? If forgiveness shifted pain to the guilty it would be easier to forgive. It doesn’t. John 16:2-3 Things like love and forgiveness fix us, that’s how it works out, ward. Today peace in the grocery store tomorrow peace in the world.

Great devotional.

Lindsey Driscoll about 7 hours ago

Nicole, my sweet starting blocks friend, thank you so much for your devo today. The metaphor of $10,000 puts the idea of debt and love into a perspective to really see what God calls us to. Q2- Good question to think on. Do we not love others out of fear? Scripture tells us that we will be blessed and have peace when we follow this command to love.

Sue Bohlin about 8 hours ago

Thanks so much, Nicole! I didn’t know Brant Hansen has a podcast, but I just subscribed–bless you! Our community group is reading his book “Unoffendable” and we LOVE his humor combined with truth zingers.

Today’s verse connecting love to the law makes even more sense after listening to Watermark’s marvelous new Equipping Podcast with the guys from Pillar Seminary. Their big thing is providing context for reading and studying the Bible–Mind. Blowing. I understand better than ever now how the individual laws aren’t about the laws, they are signposts pointing to the big picture: Love God, love people.

Hugh Stephenson about 10 hours ago

How would the Jews of Paul’s time respond to this verse? A Pharisee telling them that all they had to do was to “agapaō” one another. It seems simplistic until I recall Jesus and Peter in John 21:15-19. Jesus knows that there is no way Peter can agapaō him so the third time He asks Peter “Do you ‘phileō’ me?”

Peter knew he could never have agapaō on his own; but with Jesus he could.

Boice notes that “owing” love to others is the one debt that can never fully be repaid.

Amy and I marvel at our new life in Christ. We see the gift of salvation and full atonement for all our sins, including our abortion in 1982. We know, at least in part, how Peter must have felt. There is no way we can repay the debt that has been paid for us.

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