Derek Prince - All The Law Is Fulfilled In One Word... LOVE
Now, let’s go on, where we are. Let me just say a few general remarks about this subject, and then I must come to the positive. I’ve said this already but I’ll repeat it, law works from without leaving us to our own ability. Grace works from within supplying supernatural ability. We can only do it by grace. In Leviticus 11:44 and 1 Peter 1:16 we have the commandment: Be holy. This is a commandment from God. But if you read in Leviticus chapter 11, it comes at the end of a very elaborate set of rules about what you may or may not eat. The implication is if you’re going to be holy you’ve got to keep all these rules. But in 1 Peter 1:16 it’s not attached to any set of rules. The message is Be holy. It’s a message from Jesus, Let me live out my holiness in you. Totally different. No longer relying on our own efforts but relying on the grace of God and Jesus to do what we cannot do for ourselves. You have the choice.
Now we’ve just got a little while left to consider the positive side of this. I want to turn to Romans chapter 8 verses 3-4, and just take note of what is said there. Romans 8:3-4: For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh– Notice, there’s nothing wrong with the law, it’s our weakness. What the law could not do, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin, He condemned sin in the flesh. Now, what’s the positive? ...that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the spirit.
Now that raises what the Americans would call a thousand dollar question. What is the righteous requirement of the law? Have you ever given any consideration to that? I can answer you in one word of four letters, and it’s not a dirty word. It’s love. Love is the righteous requirement of the law and I’ll show you that very quickly through a number of Scriptures and then we have to close. In Matthew chapter 22... Matthew 22, Jesus was asked by a lawyer, [you know what the legal mind is like,] in verse 35: Then one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question, testing him and saying, Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law? A specific question and Jesus gave an immediate, specific answer. Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. What’s the key word? Love. Love for God, love for our neighbor. And then Jesus commented, On these two commandments hang the law and the prophets.
Now, if I were getting hot, which I am, and I wanted to take my jacket off and hang it up I’d need a peg to hang it on. And the peg would have to be there before I could hang my jacket on it. These commandments are the peg on which the whole law and the prophets are hung. In other words, when you’ve read all the law and the prophets, what it’s saying is love God, love your neighbor. That is the righteous requirement of the law. And then in Romans 13, verse 8 and following, Paul says: Owe no one anything, except to love one another for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. I believe in being out of debt, but there’s one debt I can never get out of. What’s that? To love my fellow Christians, to love my fellow human beings. I owe that. I’m continually in debt I cannot get out of that debt.
Paul goes on: For the commandments, You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not bear false witness, you shall not covet, and if there’s any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no harm to a neighbor, therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. That’s very clear, isn’t it? And then in Galatians 5:14. It’s marvelous how Romans and Galatians kind of hang together. Galatians 5:14: For all the law is fulfilled in one word... All the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. And then a little further back in Galatians 5:6, it says: For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything but faith working through love.
How does faith work? Tell me. Through love. All right. In James’ epistle it says, Faith without works is dead. And faith works by love so you come to this equation, Faith without love is dead. That’s a shocking statement but it’s true. You can have all the faith that you claim, but if there’s no love in your life, it’s a dead faith. And then we read in 1 Timothy chapter 1, verse 5. 1 Timothy 1:5. I could quote it but I want to read it. Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience and from sincere faith, from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk. The New American Standard Bible says: the goal of our instruction is love. When I read that I said to myself, Is that really the goal of my instruction? Am I really aiming to produce loving people?
I’ve thought about some of the people that have sat under my ministry and I wasn’t so sure, because I am essentially a teacher and a teacher imparts knowledge. Do you know what knowledge does? It puffs up. It makes people proud. I’ve learned to try by all the means in my power to teach without producing proud people. But I have to look back at some of the people I’ve produced, and say: Well, I didn’t do a very good job. The goal of our instruction is love. And then Paul says: if you stray from that goal all you’re doing is idle talk. Now let's just for a moment contemplate the church as we know it. How much idle talk goes on in church? How much preaching and teaching and activity that does not produce love? It’s all wasted effort. It’s all totally ineffective.
Brothers and sisters, if you are in any kind of ministry, I want to challenge you, analyze your motives. What are you aiming to produce? And secondly, if you’re aiming to produce love, are you producing it? And if you’re not aiming to produce love, all your talk is just empty words. That’s a far-reaching statement, isn’t it? You see, law motivates us through fear. But Jesus motivates us through love. He says, If you love me, you will keep my commandments. Fear doesn’t produce the results. There are many religions that motivate people by fear and they produce the most terrible results, including some professing forms of Christianity. Then I want to say, and we’re coming to the end, the obedience of love is progressive. You’re not perfect in love? Okay. Join me. I’m not perfect in love. But that doesn't mean I’m not accounted righteous. Because until we achieve the goal, our faith is accounted to us for righteousness. Can you receive that?
As long as you continue believing, your faith is counted to you for righteousness. This is wonderfully exemplified by the words of Jesus to Peter at the Last Supper. He said, Peter, you’re going to deny me three times. Peter said, Not I, never. And then Jesus said, But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. What’s the really important thing? That our faith will not fail. We may make a lot of mistakes, we may even commit sins. We haven’t arrived, we’re not perfect. But as long as we continue believing, our faith is accounted to us for righteousness until we arrive. And let me close with one Scripture from James, which I love. I don’t have time to comment on it but just let me give it to you.
James chapter 2... chapter 1 verse 25: But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the Word, this one will be blessed in what he does. What is the perfect law of liberty in one word? Love, that’s right. You see, if you really love, really love, you’re the only totally free person because you can always do what you want. You can always love people. They may snub you, they may persecute you, they may even try to kill you. But they cannot stop you loving them. The person whose motivation is love is the only totally free person in the world. Amen? Amen.