3. THE LAW OF LOVE This brings us to the place where we can answer the questions I asked at the beginning. Can we say, “love your neighbor as yourself” means you must…and then we fill in the blank with whatever we want. The answer is no, we can’t. Since “love your neighbor as yourself” is a summary of the law of God then God has already defined what loving a neighbor means. It is not a fill-in-the-blank. God already filled the blanks. We just have to obey. Try and think of it this way. The title at the top of the page is “Love your neighbor as yourself”. Below we find the chapter headings, “You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not bear false witness, you shall not covet.” All the other commands listed in Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy that deal with human relationships fall under those chapter headings. All the other laws are about loving God. If we go back to Leviticus 19 we see this in action. Verse 17 says, “You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him.” Here is a practical application of the greater principle of the law. My neighbor is thinking wrongly about something. God’s law says that I must reason frankly or rebuke him or I will incur sin because of him. The two chapter headings this falls under are “You shall not lie” and “You shall not murder.” If I’m not reasoning frankly then I have hatred in my heart. As Jesus clarified it’s not just those that physically murder their brother that is liable but also those that are angry with their brother. (Matthew 5:21-22). Therefore, unrighteous anger toward a brother breaks the law to not murder which breaks loving your neighbor as yourself. We see Paul do this quite often in his letters. Turn back to Galatians 5. In this chapter, he is fighting against false teachers that are trying to get Gentile Christians to give up salvation by grace through and to turn to try to be justified by works of the law. Paul says, no, they were called to freedom from being under the law. But with that freedom, they are to keep the law through love. The law does not condemn you if you are keeping it out of love of God and neighbor but if you are seeking to do the law to be justified then you are acting in the flesh and not in the Spirit. In verse 19, Paul gives a list of things that are specifically condemned in the law. To do these actions like sexual immorality, jealousy, is to break the law and would put you under the condemnation of the law. But the fruit of the Spirit is love. Love of God and love of neighbor. What does that look like? Patience, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, etc. All things that are never prohibited by the law of God. So even here, Paul gives us how God defines loving our neighbor according to the law of God.