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Read: Romans 13:8-10

8 Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 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, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.”

In the early church, which was deeply divided between Jewish Christians who were largely traditionalists, and gentile Christians who had never followed the law of Moses (that phrase occurs 22 times in the Bible, in both the Old and New Testaments) Paul had some convincing to do.

Imagine, Paul, once a Pharisee and a strict adherent to the law of Moses, now advocates for a simpler rule of faith.  Even circumcision, once regarded as the everlasting sign of the covenant (Genesis 17:13), is no longer required, says the Apostle Paul.  That position landed Paul in a heap of trouble, and he had to explain and defend his position many times over the years.  Here it is in Philippians 3:4-9:

“If anyone else has reason to be confident in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. 7 Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. 8 More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ  9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith.”

The old way of seeking righteousness, the 613 Laws of Moses, is lacking in contrast to the Gospel message of Jesus Christ.  We are saved by grace through faith in Him, and not by adherence to the law.  As we have faith in Christ His righteousness is imparted to us.  So, how do we now live?  Not by the Law of Moses, but by the Way, the Truth, and the Life – Jesus Christ, and following His commandment, to simply love God completely, and to love others well.

Shalom, Pastor Rob