“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.”
Let’s look at the context. Read Romans 13:6-10. Paul is discussing debt, love and law in this “one another.”
A. He starts by telling us to “let no debt remain outstanding.” He is telling us in all things, whether financial or otherwise, to meet our obligations. His main concern is love, but let’s talk about finances first. Why? Because they affect love.
1. “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” (1 Tim 6:10 NIV).
2. Money can drive a person to the wrong kind of love.
3. Money can drive a person to hate their fellow person. Many have been killed, even for a few dollars.
4. We live in a society that is overextended financially. I want it now, so I’m going to borrow, and if I can’t pay it back, I’ll take out another credit card or file for bankruptcy.
a. This attitude, prevalent even among Christians, has the wrong focus: ME.
b. We are stewards of our money, for it is really God’s money. He wants us to enjoy it, but to also use it for the sake of his kingdom (Luke 16:1-9 *[what does verse 9 mean?]) and the good of others (Luke 10:33-36).
c. Look at the warning in 1 Tim 6:9.
5. Paul brings up an interesting point in Romans 13:6-7 supported also by Jesus in Luke 20:22-25. Part of letting no debt remain outstanding is to pay our taxes and show respect to our government leaders. This may seem hard at times, I’ll agree. However, both Jesus and Paul were speaking during the reign of a totalitarian government that was perhaps more adept at wasting the people’s tax revenue than is ours.
B. The only debt to go on unpaid is the debt of love. This doesn’t mean we neglect to make payments to this important debt. What it means is the more we pay the more we owe, but that is okay in this one case. The more love we owe the better, as long as we are diligently minded to continually make payments to family, neighbor, fellow Christian, unbeliever, friend and foe alike. Remember that love is not selfish. We don’t do good to others with the hope of expecting something in return. We give expecting nothing in return. Perhaps this is why Jesus wants us to actively love our enemies, because we wouldn’t expect anything in return from them (Luke 6:32-36).
C. Let’s take a look at law.
1. How is love the fulfillment of the law? Discuss.
2. Is the Law of Moses no longer valid in any way for the Christian?
a. We are under grace.
1. The person who truly loves another will do the other no harm.
2. Laws do little good if one is not motivated by love to fulfill what is good for others. So, law needs love in order to be fulfilled.
b. However, love needs the law for guidance and direction, so we understand God’s righteous requirements. We are not under law, but neither are we above it.
1. Sometimes sin clouds love, so we need law present to convict us of sin.
2. Sometimes love is misdirected. We need law to remind us that we don’t lie to person “A” in our attempt to show love to person “B.” Hopefully you follow my logic.
*Jesus is not commending the manager’s cheating and conniving. What he is commending is the fact that he is using his master’s money to make friends of his master’s creditors. We are to use our Master’s money to make friends of our Master’s creditors, using temporal money to make eternal relationships. I’ll let you sort through the details of what all this means.