“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellow man has fulfilled the law” Romans 13:8-10.
My husband Bruce has spent his entire life working extremely hard at whatever task laid before him. His focus like many has turned from building a career into ending well in his career. The goal is now retirement and one of the tasks is paying off our home. We have been blessed with our home for almost thirty years, but it has been the largest source of debt in our life. To assure the task of paying it off, we have laid out some intentional ways to avoid this debt remaining outstanding. Our debt cannot be fulfilled without our commitment to the goal, self-discipline in our daily walk, and the sacrifice of other things to accomplish the payoff.
This morning I consider our verse as it aligns to this same principle. God placed His commands in the order of importance, with loving Him above all people at all times. He followed up with loving our neighbor which is the by-product of keeping the first commandment. ‘All the laws…hang on these two commandments’ Matthew 22:40. Our love for others reveals our love for God. Our contempt for others shows secret contempt for Him. If our goal is to keep God’s command then we must be intentional to our commitment to Him. We must be self-disciplined in our daily walk such as paying down this debt with extra currency of love and grace. We cannot window shop in the areas of bitterness and judgmental attitudes. To keep love to ourselves or a small few is to keep our spiritual debt outstanding, never accomplishing God’s goal. To accomplish the fulfillment of our spiritual promissory note for which we are indebted, we must sacrifice our own will and love all of those whom God loves.
Christ paid our debt in blood and we are to pay our debt in love. What He asks for in return is to love Him first and everyone else second. There is no caveat as the law does not give us exclusions or exceptions but rather instructions. Love always works for the benefit of another just as Christ’s love for us gave us eternal salvation.