We are finally back in the book of Romans. Our last two messages on Romans addressed God’s plan for law and order in a civil society. The Scripture makes it known that we should obey just rulers who reward good and punish evil for they are God’s ministers. God is the one who has established authority structures in life for the well-being of all.
In the next passage that we will be examining today the Ten Commandments are brought up and their relationship to the Lord’s admonition to love one another. In Romans 13:10, it is written, “Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law.” This is a key passage to explain how the Ten Commandments relate to a just society and the Christian. It was not just a legal
code given to Old Testament Israel. They are commands for Christians today!
There is a lot of confusion in our day as to the place of the Ten Commandments in the Christian life.
- Some say that because Romans 6:14 states, “you are not under law, but under grace,’ that the Ten Commandments are not for Christians today. It is argued that Moses received the Ten Commandments at Sinai for the nation of Israel, but a greater than Moses has come, Jesus Christ, and He has come with a different law, the law of Christ, which is love. The only problem with this is that our text in Romans cites the Ten Commandments and says that the Ten Commandments shows us (that is Christians) what it means to love other people.
How does one explain “not under law but under grace?” It is simple. We are saved not by keeping the Ten Commandments, because we have all failed in keeping them. Salvation is by God’s grace. We cannot save ourselves. We need God to rescue us from sin and sin’s penalty. God the Father sent His Son into the world. Becoming the man Jesus, He kept God’s law by living a sinless life and dying upon the cross to pay for our sins. Forgiveness is granted to all who look to Jesus alone to save them, and who embrace Him by faith as their Savior.
- Others say that for a Christian to live under the Ten Commandments will result in a legalistic mindset that will lead to bondage, and that we have been freed from a do-this, don’t-do-that mindset, that we might be free to love other people.
Our text today corrects this erroneous thinking. It makes it known that the “thou shalt nots” of the Ten Commandments are given to show us what not to do, in order that we might genuinely love others. The “thou shalt nots” are there because “love does no harm to its neighbor,” (Romans 13:10).
Today, we are going to see the link between the Ten Commandments and love, and how they are for the Christian a way of showing what love is.