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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Debt of Love

"The debt of love never diminishes when we pay it."
~ Henry Jacobson

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law... Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
~ Romans 13:8,10 (NIV)

"But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles."
~ Matthew 5:39-41 (NIV)

But brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers! Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another. Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated?
~ 1 Corinthians 6:6-7 (NKJV)

God's Word is a fascinating study in contrasts.

The Christian life is a balance between Christian liberty which allows us freedom to live free of law, surrender to the lordship of Jesus Christ, and a life best blessed when lived as taught by Jesus, the Word of God made flesh, manifest in principles of the Bible.

Submission to authority is one principle. So is the concept of being willing to suffer for the sake of righteousness. Yet we are not to compel suffering of others, because God expects us to defend the weak from their oppressors—oppressors who are often those in authority.

How do we reconcile all the Bible's contrasts without conflict? What trumps rock-paper-scissors in a three-way contest which comes up tied?

The law of love trumps all.

God has poured out upon us such abundant love that we are forever in love's debt. The commandment "love thy neighbor" doesn't have exemption. We are to love the weak and defend them when it's inconvenient and without payoff, even at the cost of personal sacrifice. We are to love the authority, and not only give in to unreasonable demands (if they do not violate morals), but even "go the second mile." We are to prefer being wronged for the sake of love and unity, rather than raise conflict among Christians.

Christ set the ultimate example of suffering for the sake of righteousness to give us liberty. Among His last prayers was for unity among His followers. He said we'd be known as His by our love.

Liberty and unity and love will never be reconciled with living for Self.

Consider yet another contrast: Salvation was purchased at the highest possible cost and is given as a free gift—but carries an eternal debt of love.

Lord Jesus, Your grace commands our love. We cannot love You too much or follow Your example of love too extremely. Please lead us in Your footsteps.

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.


  1. Amen, I want to follow His precious footsteps.

  2. I love when you make the point about the contrasts in God's Word. You do it well.
    ~ Wendy

  3. I agree with what you say. Love, God's definition of love, not our own, holds our salvation together.

    So, why do we, the Body of Christ, publicly attack, character assassinate, those still in bondage?

    You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Matthew 5:43-44

    Unfortunately, today, we see Christians standing up to authority in the name of defending the weak, when in fact, it is a convenient excuse to push forward, or protect, self interests.

    History books are littered with examples of people who confused righteousness with self-interest. That plays out today as well.

    In the end all we have is Jesus. What is impossible with men is possible with God (Lk 18:27). Let's trust Him.

    Blessings to you Anne... Thank you for not kicking me off your discussion board... I learn a lot here. :-)

  4. Love it! Don't always like it though.
    "The law of love trumps all... Salvation was purchased at the highest possible cost and is given as a free gift—but carries an eternal debt of love."

    I'm gonna link and copy that on fb for my family to see.

    Anne, you keep it up and you're gonna get my familt saved.

    Thanks, I hope all ya'll are having a great time at the convention. Tell everybody blog world says hi.

  5. That phrase came to me as I read your post, "If Jesus is not Lord of all, He is not Lord at all". As we give our all, God's grace will match it and much much more!

  6. Denise, it looks to me like you follow in His footsteps pretty closely.

    Wendy, some of my favorite thoughts to capture are the harmony of contrasts which others call conflicts.

    Russell, I welcome the contrasts here. They make for the good discussion which sharpens our thinking. While I agree with what you're saying, I think we more powerfully effect change by our example than by our words.

    Doug, you nailed that one: love-it-don't-always-like-it. And if the Father draws others to Jesus through me, I'll praise Him for His work and for letting me in on the fun.

    Bible Lover, GREAT quote. Thanks for sharing it.


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