A Debt of Love

It sounds romantic, doesn’t it? Yes, I live in a debt of love… It almost sounds like poetry that some French painter thought up and would mindlessly recite to passersby.

Except it is anything but that. Paul tells the Roman church that they shouldn’t have a debt of anything to anyone, except a debt of love.

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Romans 13:8-10

What in the world is he talking about? Paul is saying that as followers of Christ, we should love one another just as God first loved us. In Christ, God came to give himself for us. In Christ, God sacrificed himself so that we could live. In Christ, God purchased us into his kingdom so that we would be his people – forever.

What a payment that has been made for us! It is a payment that can never be repaid. We never deserved that kind of love. We were rebels, actively working against the kingdom of God. In our sin, we protested God. Yet God came in the form of Christ to give himself for us.

So we have a debt that is ongoing, a debt that will continue forever. But it isn’t a debt like other debts. Other debts weigh us down, but this debt of love back to Christ is one that we should love to continue to pay back. Yet our payment for this isn’t just back to Christ, it is a payment that moves forward to others. We pay the debt by giving ourselves to other people so that they too may know the love of Christ. Even if they are not believers – maybe especially if they are not believers, so that they may also believe – we show love to them because even while we were God’s enemies, he came for us. In the same way, we show love for others while they are our enemies, or in reality, while they also are God’s enemies.

If we do this, we not only fulfill the law, but we continue to pay the ongoing debt of love to Christ.

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