Love Fulfills the Law? The Importance of Obedience
Love fulfills the law is a popular reason to reject the law of YAHUAH. In ministering to Christians about the importance of obedience, there are 2 main rebuttals that are almost sure to come up:
- Law is done away with
- Love fulfills the law
We have dealt with “law done away with” extensively on Just a Word. Today I would like to look at the second typical Christian rebuttal: “love fulfills the law.”
Love Is All We Need
The Christian understanding is that as long as we love, the law is fulfilled. As a result, we need not worry about keeping any law.
They will use one or more of these verses to back their claim:
Rom 13:8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
Rom 13:10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
Gal 5:14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
At first glance it would appear that they are correct. however, my Facebook friend Manuel the Nazarene does not think so. Let me share what he wrote:
“Love is a LAW and you cannot fulfill what is love without obedience to a certain command. Just as a law commands you to do something, love also commands you to something. Love sets rules!”
There is No Love Without a Law
What he is actually saying is that there is no love without a law, obedience to which shows us what love is. Love needs a standard to show love to be love and that standard must be a command or law.
So is it enough to just say you love and therefore have fulfilled the law? Or is Manuel right in saying both love and the law are inseparable? Let’s see what Yahuchanon (John) has to say. The following verse will be the theme throughout this article:
1 John 3:18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
Love Must Be In Deed and Truth
Yahuchanon was saying let us not love only by saying we love, but let our love be manifest in our deeds (our actions/works), which should be led by truth. Now what does the Bible say is truth?
Psa 119:142 Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth.
See that?! Yahuchanon said our love must be in deeds (what we physically do), and also in truth, which is Torah (the law)! Now we must also know that the Messiah is the fulfillment of the law, so he is also the truth:
Joh 14:6 Yahusha said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
So the sum package of obedience to the law and belief in the Messiah makes us saints who will inherit the kingdom:
Rev 14:12 Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of YAHUAH and their faith in Yahusha.
Saints Shall Inherit the Kingdom
So we see the saints are characterized by 2 things:
- Keep the commandments (laws) of YAHUAH (love in deed and in truth)
- Have belief (faith) in the Messiah Yahusha
Now it is interesting to see that it is ONLY the saints who will enter the kingdom! The kingdom is not for anyone else other than those who obey the law (love in deed and in truth) through belief in Yahusha. Proof?
Dan 7:18 But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, forever and ever.’
Dan 7:27 And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.
The so called Jews say they obey the law but do not believe in Yahusha. Christians say they believe in a Messiah called Jesus Christ (false messiah) and do not obey the commandments.
Neither are classified as saints. The saints are the followers of the way…the Natsarim or Nazarenes, just as the Apostles and disciples of the first and second century were. Find out how to follow the one way to the Father (John 14:6).
It is the followers of the way (Natsarim/Nazarenes) who will receive the kingdom and possess it forever.
Dan 7:18 But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, forever and ever.’
So our love must be in obedience to the law and in belief (faith) in the Messiah. Be reminded that belief in the Messiah is not just believing in our minds, but also following his examples:
1 John 2:6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
Love Fulfills All Commandments
Another claim by Christians is when the Messiah spoke about the two greatest commandments. They claim that as long as we so love, our love fulfills the law.
Of course they are correct.
Mat 22:35-40 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”
And he said to him, “You shall love YAHUAH your Elohim with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.
And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
If we love YAHUAH with all our hearts, minds and souls, then we will obey him. If we love our neighbours as ourselves, then we will not sin against them as we would not sin against ourselves.
The question to ask though, is how can we fulfill what is nonexistent? There must be a law in place to be fulfilled, otherwise there is no law for love to fulfill!
To elaborate, let us use a simple example. How can I say I love my neighbour if I see him hungry and being able to help, do nothing?
1 Jn 3:17 But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of YAHUAH in him?
So we see that my love could not fulfill the law as I did not obey the law that says I should love my neighbour as myself!
Likewise, for example, how can I say I love YAHUAH when I cannot obey his command to keep his Sabbath? My love for him is not proven to be love unless I do what he commands me to do.
Those who refuse to keep his Sabbath have opted to obey the Catholic Church above YAHUAH’S 4th commandment. The Catholics were the ones who changed the Sabbath from the 7th day to the 1st day (tradition of man in honour of Sol Invictus: the sun god).
YAHUAH gave us NO COMMAND to change the Sabbath. Therefore, my love cannot be fulfilled unless I obey his Sabbath.
Of course, these are just two examples. There are many, many more we could use.
Love Cannot Thrive in Lawlessness: Man and Wife
To prove that love indeed needs a law to be love, we will look at the fact that love cannot thrive in lawlessness. This is equally true of love between mankind and mankind as well as between mankind and his creator.
If a man continually cheats on his wife (breaking the law that says you shall not commit adultery), his love will eventually be called into question. If his wife finds out and he keeps saying he loves her, she will no doubt ask how can he love her if he keeps cheating (breaking the law of adultery)?
If the cheating continues, it is highly likely that she will look to separate herself from him. Even though she loves him with all her heart, her love cannot thrive in lawlessness (adultery).
Love Cannot Thrive in Lawlessness: YAHUAH and Man
It is no different with YAHUAH Tseva’oth (of Hosts). He loved Israel with a love that is hard to comprehend, yet when Israel’s idolatry went too far, he divorced them!
Jer 3:6-8 YAHUAH said to me in the days of King Josiah: “Have you seen what she did, that faithless one, Israel, how she went up on every high hill and under every green tree, and there played the whore?
And I thought, ‘After she has done all this she will return to me,’ but she did not return, and her treacherous sister Judah saw it.
She saw that for all the adulteries of that faithless one, Israel, I had sent her away with a decree of divorce. Yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but she too went and played the whore.
Just as is the case with mankind and mankind, YAHUAH had to let Israel go because his love cannot thrive in lawlessness. His love is everlasting, but his relationships cannot prosper with the lawless.
This shows that love needs obedience to the law to be love, and Israel just would not obey the law.
It means therefore that they did not truly love YAHUAH. Therefore YAHUAH’S relationship with them is a one-sided affair and so the relationship could not be in harmony.
Likewise it is the same with us. He loves us, but cannot have a relationship with us unless we obey his law.
When we obey his law, it proves we love him in deed and in truth, because his law is the truth and his law will lead us to do righteous deeds. Love is therefore proven in keeping his commandments, which is why the Mashiach said:
John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
Holy Spirit Given To Those Who Obey
By the way, many of us who say we have the Holy Spirit actually only have his presence. Why? A pre-requisite for receiving the Holy Spirit is that we keep his commandments!
Joh 14:15-16 If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
He said if ye love me. IF is a conditional word.
Therefore if we do not love him, the second part of the statement (he shall give you another Comforter) will not be realized. Only those who love him will keep his commandments (love depends on laws to be love) and those who do will be given the Comforter (the Holy Spirit). Confirmation?
Act 5:32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Spirit, whom YAHUAH hath given to them that obey him.
Love As A Commandment for Obedience
So now is a good time to look at love being commanded with the stipulation that we MUST obey. In other words, we have failed to love if we do not keep his commandments, statutes and judgments! I use the words in the brackets below to explain.
Deut 30:16 In that I command thee this day to love YAHUAH thy Elohim (commandment to love), to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments (accompanying requirement to obey his laws), that thou mayest live and multiply: and YAHUAH thy Elohim shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it (blessings for obedience/love).
But what happens if we do not prove our love through our obedience?
Deu 28:15 But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of YAHUAH thy Elohim, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee (curses for disobedience/lack of love):
So we see, there is no love without laws. Obedience to a law or laws proves our love. Disobedience means we do not love.
Indeed, that is why we as descendants of biblical Israelites are here in bondage in the “new world.” Our forefathers said they loved YAHUAH in word, but did not obey his commandments in deed and truth.
They went after idols and profaned his Sabbaths. Therefore, he gave them a prophesied 400 year punishment (Gen 15:13) after which it is prophesied that we will be gathered back to him.
Jer 32:37 Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely:
So after our bondage, we will be transformed into righteous sons who will love him with all our hearts, minds and souls. Then, his love can thrive in our lawfulness and he will be able to love us freely:
Hos 14:4 I will heal their (Israel’s) backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him.
Love is My Religion?
Love is my religion is a popular line from those who are seeking to reject the instructions of YAHUAH. The idea is, as long as I SAY I love and do what I believe is love, then I do not need to obey any directives from anyone.
The problem with that of course, is that we are setting our own standards as to what love is. In effect, we are trying to re-invent the wheel. Why?
Love has already been defined by the Supreme Father YAHUAH, being contained in his law (his law is truth: see Psalms 119:142).
Any new standard that I set is my own tradition, the tradition of man. And what does he say about our own traditions?
Mat 15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
Guess what? There’s more. He will not be judging us according to our standard, but according to his standard laid down in his law.
Rev 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before Elohim; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
Love needs obedience to the law to be love. We must obey the Father’s standard of love as laid out in his Torah (Law/instructions). Otherwise, our love cannot be love (in deed and truth). It will just be lip service.
So in conclusion, we look back at our original question. If love fulfills the law, does this mean we do not have to obey? Yah forbid!
For love to be love (and not just in speech), I must first have obeyed a law. So for me to say I love my neighbour, I would first have to obey this law:
Lev 19:18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am YAHUAH.
By obeying this law, my deeds/actions/works now manifests itself as love.
On the other hand, if I do not obey this law, I would have shown myself to not truly love. I would be shown to be just another selfish person who only cares about himself, yet saying I love. Yet sadly, love is not manifest in my deeds.
Professing to serve YAHUAH, I would just be another person who calls his name in vain.
Likewise, how can I say I love YAHUAH when I profane his laws? How can I say I love him when I cannot even keep his 1st four commandments. Indeed, almost all of Christianity profanes his sabbaths (his 7th day sabbath plus his feasts), yet say they love him!
That is love in tongue and not in deed and truth! That is why the Messiah said:
Mat 15:8-9 “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'”
Love therefore needs laws to show itself as love (not just through lip service). By obeying these laws and being found to truly love in deed and truth (1 John 3:18), that is how love ends up fulfilling all commandments.
So love fulfills the law indeed, because if we truly love, we will obey the law! We will not be like backsliding Israel who were cast away.
So brother Manuel was right:
Love is a LAW and you cannot fulfill what is love without obedience to a certain command. Just as a law commands you to do something, love also commands you to something. Love sets rules!
So the next time a Christian says love fulfills the law, all we need is love so the law done is away with, just let them know that where there is no law, there is no love. Love needs commands (laws) to prove itself to be love.
Obedience to these commands proves love. Disobedience to the laws of YAHUAH proves we only love him in speech, not in deed and truth.
1 John 3:18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue (speech only); but in deed (action) and in truth (obedience to truth, which is the law: Psa 119:142).