Typically, when Christians think of the law, we think of the ten commandments. The ten commandments were given to Moses on Sinai, the law which every Jew was to keep to be considered righteous before God. The consequences of breaking these laws often resulted in physical punishment for the lawbreaker. In many ways, the law was harsh, but as Paul would remind us how the things written in past times (the law) were written for our learning (Romans 15:4). However, the law served a purpose for the people it was written to. In other passages, Paul would tell us that without the law, he would have never known what sin was (Romans 7:7ff.).
In Romans 13, Paul continues his pursuit of unity by reminding all the Christians in Rome to obey the government. As he corrects their thought rebellion, he starts to speak about the law of Christ in an unprecedented way.
“Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.” — Romans 13:8
During Jesus’ last meal with the disciples, he gave them a new commandment.
“A new commandment I give to you that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. “By this, all men will know that you are My disciples if you have love for one another.” — John 13:34–35
Jesus’ command to the disciples that they love one another is what Paul would call the fulfillment of the law. Love. To love one another means putting each other before yourself. Jesus’ said that if we love one another, all men will know that we are His disciples.
The whole law can be summed up in one phrase. Love your neighbor. If we learn to love people, then and only then can we truly, fulfill what God has asked of those who follow Him?
This might look like checking in on those who are not able to be with us regularly. Befriending those who disagree with our political and religious convictions. Providing a meal or funds for someone who is struggling. We can all show love to our neighbors by giving of ourselves. Being kind to our fellow humans and seeking to make the church and the world a better place by putting others first.