"Owe no man anything, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law."
“Owe no man anything,”
We need to learn to live according to our means and adopt a pay as you go lifestyle.
“But to love one another…”
As our great-grandfather Adam did, we too have a Genesis 3 tendency to love ourselves. The original language here is clear, it says “to love one another.” That is to love literally “the other one, or the different one…”1 We are to go against our sinful natures and be paying on our debt of love to others. Our love for others is not to be an “unpaid debt,” but it is one that we are paying on always.
“This debt can never be paid off, but we should keep the interest paid up”2 (Robinson).
“Acquit yourselves of all obligations except love, which is a debt that must remain ever due”3 (Hodge).
“Love is a debt which ‘can’ never be discharged. We should feel that we ‘owe’ this to all people, and though by acts of kindness we may be constantly discharging it, yet we should feel that it can ‘never’ be fully met while there is opportunity to do good”4 (Barnes).
Those of us who are paying on this love-debt are obeying Jesus and fulfilling the Law.
“For he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.”
Jesus answered the lawyer’s question about which Law was the greatest.
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like, unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40).
Jesus let the lawyer know in no uncertain terms, that our love is due first to God, and then secondly to others, our neighbors, those with whom we rub shoulders as we go about our business in the world. This Law of love, is the greatest Law, can be fulfilled as we properly love God and others.
This is what Paul was saying to the Romans when he told them, “he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.”
“Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Romans 13:10).
If you are having trouble living within your means and paying as you go, let me encourage you to do a personal study of “money” in the Bible. You might also get help from a believing financial planner. Once your financial debts are paid down, you can concentrate on your time and effort on your love debt to others.
Believers, we have a debt to fulfill, the Law of love to our Lord and the others we meet. No “monthly payments” due here, but only in daily, moment by moment increments, we pay on our debt to love others.
1. Another = “ton heteron.”
2. A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, the electronic version in eSword.
3. Hodge as quoted in Jamison, Fausset, and Brown. Jamison-Fausset-Brown’s Commentary, the electronic version in eSword.
4. Albert Barnes, Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, the electronic version in eSword.