Text: Romans 13:8
“Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.”
What is the fulfillment of the law?
A fulfilled law is exhibited by an inward righteousness that exemplifies God’s character and loves others; this is righteousness that exceeds the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees.
Love vs Rituals
God is Love so he who abides in God, the love of God is in him and so if a person operates in love, he is fulfilling the law.
There are more Greek words for love, variants and possibly subcategories, a general summary considering these Ancient Greek concepts are as follows:
• Agápe (ἀγάπη agápē) means “love: esp. charity; the love of God for man and of man for a good God”. Agape is used in ancient texts to denote feelings for one’s children and the feelings for a spouse, and it was also used to refer to a love feast. Agape is used by Christians to express the unconditional love of God for his children. This type of love was further explained by Thomas Aquinas as “to will the good of another”.
• Éros (ἔρως érōs) means “love, mostly of the sexual passion”. The Modern Greek word “erotas” means “intimate love”. Plato refined his own definition: Although eros is initially felt for a person, with contemplation it becomes an appreciation of the beauty within that person, or even becomes appreciation of beauty itself. Plato does not talk of physical attraction as a necessary part of love, hence the use of the word platonic to mean, “without physical attraction”. In the Symposium, the most famous ancient work on the subject, Plato has Socrates argue that eros helps the soul recall knowledge of beauty, and contributes to an understanding of spiritual truth, the ideal “Form” of youthful beauty that leads us humans to feel erotic desire – thus suggesting that even that sensually based love aspires to the non-corporeal, spiritual plane of existence; that is, finding its truth, just like finding any truth, leads to transcendence. Lovers and philosophers are all inspired to seek truth through the means of eros.
• Philia (φιλία philía) means “affectionate regard, friendship”, usually “between equals”. It is a dispassionate virtuous love, a concept developed by Aristotle. In his best-known work on ethics, Nicomachean Ethics, philia is expressed variously as loyalty to friends (specifically, “brotherly love”), family, and community, and requires virtue, equality, and familiarity. Furthermore, in the same text philos is also the root of philautia denoting self-love and arising from it, a general type of love, used for love between family, between friends, a desire or enjoyment of an activity, as well as between lovers.
• Storge (στοργή storgē) means “love, affection” and “especially of parents and children”. It is the common or natural empathy, like that felt by parents for offspring. Rarely used in ancient works, and then almost exclusively as a descriptor of relationships within the family. It is also known to express mere acceptance or putting up with situations, as in “loving” the tyrant. This is also used when referencing the love for one’s country or a favorite sports team.
• Philautia (Greek: φιλαυτία, romanized: philautía) means “self love” to love yourself or “regard for one’s own happiness or advantage”[full citation needed] has both been conceptualized as a basic human necessity and as a moral flaw, akin to vanity and selfishness, synonymous with amour propre or egotism. The Greeks further divided this love into positive and negative: one, the unhealthy version is the self-obsessed love, and the other is the concept of “self-compassion”.
• Xenia (Greek: ξενία, romanized: xenía, meaning “guest-friendship”) is the ancient Greek concept of hospitality, the generosity and courtesy shown to those who are far from home and/or associates of the person bestowing guest-friendship. The rituals of hospitality created and expressed a reciprocal relationship between guest and host expressed in both material benefits (such as the giving of gifts to each party) as well as non-material ones (such as protection, shelter, favors, or certain normative rights).(wikipedia.org)
Verses to teach us How to love.
1 John 4:8
“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
1 John 2:9-10
“Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble.”
“And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”
I Corinthians 13:4-5
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”
“Let love and faithfulness never leave you; Bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.”
1 Corinthians 16:14
“Do everything in love.”
1 John 4:7
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.”
1 John 4:9-11
“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
1 John 4:18-19
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because He first loved us.”
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”
1 Corinthians 13:13
“So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
Let us learn from Peter this great lesson of love. The disciple who denied Jesus 3 times in a row.
This was the scene before Jesus was arrested. Look at the words of Jesus and Peter.
Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later” (John 13:36, ESV).
“Peter said to him, ‘Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.’ Jesus answered, ‘Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times’” (John 13:37-38, ESV).
Later after Jesus have resurrected in John 21:15-17 Jesus confronted Peter to remove his guilty feeling and heal his heart because he denied Jesus.
“15When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love (agape) me more than these?’ Peter said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love (philia) you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my lambs’ (John 21:15, ESV).
“16He said to him a second time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love (agape) me?’ Peter said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love (philia) you.’ He said to him, ‘Tend my sheep’ (John 21:16, ESV).
“17Jesus said to Peter the third time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love (agape)me?’ Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ and he said to him, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love (agape) you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep’” (John 21:17, ESV).
Peter reaffirmed his love for Jesus 3 times but the last answer was very pleasing to Jesus because He saw the agape love and sincerity of Peter.
When we first confessed Jesus as Lord and Savior, what are your love words and promises to Him?
Do you still remember them?
Go back to your “first love” for the Lord, means rekindle your “first love” for the Lord. (Revelation 2:4-5)
The Lord Jesus wanted you to give your (agape) love to Him.