Useful Bible Studies > Romans Commentary > chapter 13

Love and God's commands

Romans 13:9-10

The list of commands that God gave to Israelís people appears twice in the Bible: Exodus 20:1-17 and Deuteronomy 5:6-21. Those commands are not, of course, the whole of Godís law. Rather, they are a series of lessons to teach people how God wants them to live.

The commands are in two parts. The first few commands are lessons about a personís relationship with God. The other commands are about a personís relationships with other people. That is how Christ could explain the lessons even more simply in Mark 12:28-31. People should love God, and they should love other people. Those are the most important lessons that Godís law teaches.

In that passage, Christ was not in fact teaching a new lesson. He was simply repeating words that already appeared in the Bible: Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18. Paul repeats only the last of these passages in Romans 13:9, because his subject is relationships between people. He is teaching us how Christians should deal with other people.

Christians should act in love, and therefore they should offer kindness and help to other people. That is how Godís law teaches people to behave; therefore, that is how God wants his people to behave.

In 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, you can read Paulís description of the nature of true love. That kind of love is entirely good, because it comes from God himself (1 John 4:16; see also James 1:17). People who offend against Godís commands are not showing true love. Rather, the reason for most of these wrong acts is peopleís selfish and evil desires (James 1:14-15). When people behave in a selfish manner, that is the opposite of true love. Love is when we care about other people; we are selfish when we care too much about ourselves.

Next part: Our salvation is nearer that when we first believed (Romans 13:11)


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© 2018, Keith Simons.