The Obligation of Love

Jan 6, 2022    Don Willeman

Hello, this is Pastor Don of Christ Redeemer Church. Welcome to The Kingdom Perspective.

The Bible calls us to lean into both our freedom in Christ and our obligation to love.

Now, putting “obligation” and “freedom” together may sound strange, but not if you are thinking in a truly Christian manner.

In Romans 13 St. Paul is explaining our responsibility as Christians to others, particularly to our nonbelieving neighbors and the government. He says, we are to “submit to the governing authorities” and “render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due,…honor to whom honor is due,” etc.

Then, Paul commands:
“Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. 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.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” (Romans 13:8-10)

Now, as a general rule, barring disobedience to God, this means that we should do everything we can to flex ourselves into the perspective and needs of others, even the perspective of our unbelieving neighbors. Not because we are fearful of what they think of us, as if your identity was bound up in their approval! Good heavens, no!!!

Rather, Paul is saying that true freedom is love. And the obligation of love is to put others above oneself, just as Jesus did for us.

Sadly, in the hardness of our hearts we don’t want our comforts to be inconvenienced for the well-being of others. We don’t want to feel the obligation of love. However, this is precisely what the Law demands, and we are slaves of our selfish desires until we enter the liberty of living for the good of others…just as Jesus has done for us.

Something to think about from The Kingdom Perspective.