“Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another 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. 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. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” Romans 13:8-10,12-14
Debt can be crushing. To owe money on loans, favors to others, time and service to employers, can be burdensome and weigh heavily, sapping our resources and vitality and ability to progress. But Jesus, who came to set us free￼, fulfilled our debt from sin by taking our punishment on the cross. He invites us to cast off our burdens, and carry no more debt- except to love one another. (Psalm 55:22; 1 Peter 5:7)
“‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?’ And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.’” Matthew 22:36-40
The Old Testament commandments were impossible to keep, and Jesus summed them up with two: love the Lord your God, and love others. Like turning from darkness to light, the way to keep the ‘don’ts’ is to ‘do the dos’ in the power of Christ. When we live in light and love and put on Christ, we will treat others well, and rightly. Our affections toward them will be pure. We will be loyal, devoted, upright in our thinking and speaking about them. We will genuinely want what is best for them, will promote them and not jealously undermine their success. We will rejoice in their happiness, and weep when they weep. We will be tenderhearted, compassionate, and forgiving. We will lay down our fiesty arms, willing to agree (even if to disagree) rather than quarrel or be divisive. We will spur them on to love and good deeds, doing for them what we would want for ourselves. (Romans 12:15; Ephesians 4:31-32; Hebrews 10:24)
So how are we doing with this debt? Are we committed to paying it regularly, in generous chunks? If so, what is the evidence?
Are we lugging along other debts of bitterness, anger, disappointment, rights to ‘get even’ or ‘make them pay’ that preclude our freely loving others? Would we readily confess these, throw off these ‘works of darkness,’ and get on with walking in the daylight joy of love?
Lord, thank You for paying my immeasurable debt so I am free to love as You have so generously loved me. May I do it in lavish measure, reflecting Your amazing grace.