"THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS" Indebted To Love (13:8-10) INTRODUCTION 1. In our duty to government, Paul commanded to pay what is due (taxes and customs, fear and honor - cf. Ro 13:7 2. He then proceeded to discuss our duty to our fellow man (to owe no one anything, except to love one another) - cf. Ro 13:8 3. This does not forbid borrowing where contract obligations are met... a. Otherwise Jesus would not have permitted borrowing - cf. Mt 5:42 b. Certainly debts should be paid - cf. Ps 37:21 4. This appears to be a use of the comparative "not"... a. Where "not" is not used as a literal prohibition b. But to compare one thing to another (not this..but this) c. For example, look at Jn 6:27 1) Did Jesus condemn working for food? 2) No, He was emphasizing what is most important 5. The point is this: we owe a debt to always love one another... a. "Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another" (NIV) b. "Leave no debt unpaid except the standing debt of mutual love" (Weymouth) [Thus Christians should always feel "Indebted To Love". As to reasons why, consider...] I. WHY WE OWE THE DEBT A. IT FULFILLS THE LAW OF MOSES... 1. Jewish Christians were slow to give up the Law
- e.g., Ac 21: 20ff 2. Some tried to bind elements of the Law on Gentiles
- cf. Ac 15:28; Ga 5:1-4; Ro 7:4-6 4. The command to love fulfilled much of the Law - Ro 13:8-10 -- Jewish Christians could take comfort in knowing that keeping the command to love one another fulfilled the Law B. IT FULFILLS THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST... 1. Jesus gave His disciples a new commandment - Jn 13:34,35; 15:12 a. To love one another b. As He loved us 2. The gospel reveals that God is love, and love is of God
- 1Jn 4:7-11 a. Those who love are born of God and know Him b. God loved us, and so we ought to love another -- As disciples of Christ, it is only natural that we emulate the love shown us [For such reasons, we "ought" (indebted) to love one another. How can we pay this "debt"...?] II. HOW WE PAY THE DEBT A. THROUGH IMITATING JESUS... 1. Jesus sets the standard - Jn 13:34; 15:12 a. We are to love as He loved us b. This raises the quality of love (compared to loving one as yourself) 2. Jesus sets a high standard - Jn 15:13; 1Jn 3:16-18 a. By laying down His life for His friends b. We also ought to lay down our life for the brethren -- In principle, the example of Jesus illustrates how we pay the debt we owe B. THROUGH ACTIVE GOOD WILL... 1. Paul defined true love - 1Co 13:4-8 a. Defined by what it does 1) Suffers long and is kind, rejoices in the truth 2) Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things b. Defined by what it does not do 1) Does not envy; does not parade itself, is not puffed up 2) Does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil 3) Does not rejoice in iniquity, and never fails 2. We can pay on the debt by treating one another in this way a. Be patient and kind; rejoicing in what is truth b. Forbearing with one another, believing and hoping for the best in one another c. Free from envy, arrogance, pride, and selfish interests d. Thinking no evil of a brother, and grieved when seeing one transgress e. Never failing to love as Christ loved us -- In practice, Paul's description provides guidance on how we pay the debt we owe CONCLUSION 1. The debt we owe can never be fully paid... a. For we are to love one another as Christ loved us b. Yet His love "passes knowledge" - cf. Ep 3:19 2. Thus we should always feel an indebtedness... a. To increase in love - cf. 1Th 4:9-10 b. To abound in love still more and more - cf. Php 1:9 In this way we can "approve the things that are excellent" and "be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ." (Php 1:10). Is this not sufficient motivation to be "Indebted To Love"...?